Penington’s Rant was published in London by John Johnson around 1748 and by Samuel and Charles Thompson in their Two Hundred Country Dances Vol. 1, published in 1758 (or, according to the Tune Archive, published in 1757). It was likely published in Thompson’s Twenty Four Country Dances for 1751 or 1752, We have not found any written record of this dance in the colonies, but it is likely that it was enjoyed on both sides of the Atlantic!
Here’s how the Waysiders have been dancing Penington’s Rant:
- A1 First couple heys with the second lady (second lady travels up between the first couple to begin the hey, starting by crossing left shoulders with the first gent, then turns and continues weaving figure with left to first lady, right with the first gent, and then back to her original place)
- A2 First couple hey with the second gent (second gent moves up between the first couple to begin the hey, beginning with right shoulder with first lady, turn, right with first gent, left with first lady, then back to his original place)
- B1 First couple cross over and go below one (leaving them in improper places)
- First couple half figure eight through the twos above them, so they are proper (first lady, beginning in second gent’s original place, moves up through the second couple and casts around second lady while the first gent moves up and around the second gent)
- B2 Those two couples do Rights and Lefts
As this dance has no specific instructions for the third couple, the Waysiders do not usually dance it as a triple minor dance, but as a duple minor dance, despite the fact that it was almost surely done as a triple minor dance in the 18th century.
Given that this is from the middle of the eigteenth century, we have been using the pas de bourree step, which seems to fit the music well.
Here are the Thompson directions:
The first Cu. heys with the 2d. Wo. then/with the 2d Man Cross over half Figure/and Right Hands and Left
Here is the sheet music:
Here is the tune for you to listen to: