The Wheatsheaf

This triple minor dance was included in Thompson’s Twenty Four Country Dances for the Year 1777, published in London.  All three couples are moving for most of the dance, which is unusual!

Here’s how we have reconstructed the dance:

The Wheatsheaf (Triple Minor Longways)

  • A1: Couple 1 lead down the center, followed by couples 2 and 3.  (Couples 2 and 3 start by coming up the outside to the top of their minor set of six in order to follow couple 1 down the center of the set.)  Couple 1 casts up the outside of the set followed by couples 2 and 3, bringing everyone back to their original place.
  • A2: All Allemand with partner, All Allemand Reverse with partner.  (Allemand right and left)
  • B1: All circle six hands round to the left.
  • B2: Couple 1 chassee down the center, beaten step, return and cast off one place.

In 1777, this dance might have been danced with either a skip-change step, or with pas de bourrees.  We prefer pas de bourrees (except for the chassees in B2.)

Here’s the original description of the dance from Thompson:

Lead down two Cu. & cast up again the 2d & 3d Cu follows – the 1st 2d & 3d Gentn Allemd to the right & left with their Partners – hands 6 round – lead down, up again and cast off –

The sheet music is available at this link.

This dance is unusual in specifying that all three couples do the allemandes.  Everyone in the set is moving for three quarters of this dance.  (Since the second and third couples would move up the set when the first couple chassees down the set, and vice versa, they are actually moving for the entire dance.)

The original description of the dance says that couple one should lead down.  However, if couple one were to lead down in B2 in the same way that they lead down in A1, it would be easy for the second and third couple to get confused, think that the dance was starting over, and start leading up the outside.  To avoid this confusion, we have couple one chassee down and do a beaten step in B2.

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