None so Pretty

We found “None so Pretty” in a collection of country dances from Walpole, New Hampshire  entitled A Collection of Contra Dances of Late, Approved, and Fashionable Figures, Walpole: Museum Press, 1799.  We copied it off of microfiche at the Golfarb Library at Brandeis University.  Thank you again to Brandeis for their help in our research!  The Walpole publication looks to be the second time it was published in America  – it was included in the New Ladies Memorandum Book for the Year MDCCXCIV, which was published both in London and in Boston  in 1793.

Here’s how the Waysiders dance None So Pretty:

None So Pretty  (Triple Minor Longways)

  • A1   First and second couples right hand star
  •         Return
  • A2  First couple chassee down the middle
  •         Return and cast off
  • B1  First couple swing corners
  • B2  First couple lead outsides

Footwork: We usually use a skip change step for A1 and B1, although sometimes we use contretemps for the stars in A1.  (We see reasons to believe that step was commonly used for stars in the 1790s, but we’ll explain why some other time.)

Here are the instructions from the Walpole collection:

Hands four across; the same back again; lead/ down two couple; lead up and cast off; turn/ corners; lead outsides.

As you can see, the Walpole collection says “turn corners”, but we are dancing the figure Swing Corners.  The distinction we make between the two figures is based on Thomas Wilson’s 1808 book, since he clearly describes and diagrams what he means by the two terms.  However, It seems like not everyone used those terms in the same way as Wilson: In 1752 Nicholas Dukes describes the figure “Turn Corners right hands and your Partner round with the left hand”, with diagrams which clearly show the hands being joined.  Since doing the figure which Wilson calls “Swing Corners” puts the dancers in position to dance Lead Outsides, we have taken the liberty of presuming that is the figure meant by “turn corners”.

Here is the sheet music:

Here is the tune for you to listen to:

None So Pretty 1×16

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