Stony Point

The dance “Stony Point” has been published in at least two modern collections: Social Dances from the American Revolution, (The Hendrickson Group, 1992) and George Washington: A Biography in Social Dance, (The Hendrickson Group, 1998).  Both of these books were written by Charles Cyril Hendrickson and Kate Van Winkle Keller, and both have versions of the dance that come from unpublished personal dance collections.

The version in Social Dances from the American Revolution (SDAR) comes from the notebook of George Bush, who served in the Continental Army from 1776-1783 (and who is not an ancestor of the presidents).  He described his version of the dance as:

1st Cu.: take hands & set to 2d Lady & Allemand, set to 2d Gent & allemand: lead down the middle up again cast off 1 Cup.. half right & Left set, whole right & Left. set

The interpretation of the dance in SDAR has it taking 40 bars with the music being played AABBB.  I’m skeptical about this interpretation.  At the Wayside Inn we have danced a 32 bar version of the dance (AABB).  The dancers enjoyed the coyness of setting to someone, then ignoring that person completely while they do an allemande with their partner.  Both half right-and-lefts were done quickly, with one pas de bourree for the two changes.  They could also be done with two skip change steps, or four walking steps.   When doing the ‘down the center and back’ we have either done it with a chassee down, beaten step, and chassee back, OR a sedate pas de bourree down, turn toward partner, and pas de bourree back up the set and cast off, depending on the energy level of the couple going down the center at the moment.

Stony Point (Bush version)

A1: Ones double set to second lady, ones allemande right
A2: Ones double set to second gent, ones allemande right
B1: Ones down the center, return and cast off
B2: Ones and twos half right-and-left, set to partner, half right-and-left, set to partner


The version of the dance in George Washington: A biography in Social Dance (GW) was based on the version found in the 1799 notebook of Henry Moore Ridgely. That version reads:

First couple take hands with second Lady, three hands round, and allemande; same to Gentleman, down the middle, up again, cast off one couple, right and left.

At the Wayside Inn we have danced this version as follows:

Stony Point (Ridgely version)

A1: 1st couple circle left with 2nd lady, 1st couple allemande right
A2: 1st couple circle left with 2nd gent, 1st couple allemande right*
B1: 1st couple lead down the middle, back and cast off
B2: 1st and 2nd couples rights and lefts

*Note that the allemande after circling with the gent can be done either as an allemande right or an allemande left.






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