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Mr. Beveridge's Maggot

Playford 1695

AAB version

This version is based on seeing several variants and working with Ottawa and Phoenix dancers to find a smooth version. Note that the couple 2 back to back at the start of the B section of music requires dancers to be very much on the mark. If in doubt, leave this out and make the lead up and turn away “big” so it fits the music.

The video gives a nice version, well-executed.

A1 1st couple cross, acknowledge each other falling back and face neighbours;
   back to back with 2s on the sides (a variant has C1 go outside C2 for this)
A2 1st couple turn single (MR, WL), handy-hand turn with 2s on the sides,
   1s going down center, then C1 cross (M1 can lead W1 with RH) to home
B 1st couple cross (C1 don't have to let go hands) and cast down around the 2s
  then back to back to end in the center of a line of four facing up
  WHILE 2s quick back to back (optional!) and lead up and turn away from each other
  to finish on the ends of the line of four facing up.
  Lead up 3 steps, then fall back;
  1s cross leading up then down around 2s to cast into progressed places 

Menuett Akademien (from Sweden) performs Mr. Beveridge's Maggot at Helsinki City Hall, 15 may 2011.


Many English Country Dances, like American contra dances, are danced to a pair of phrases of music played AABB – i.e. the first phrase is played twice, and then the second twice. In contrast, the generally accepted version of Beveridge's Maggot–a version usually attributed to Pat Shaw–has the structure AAB. This is the version given here.

When Cecil Sharp interpreted this dance for modern consumption, he decided he could not get all the instructions to fit into so little music, so he published a dance to fit AABB. Cecil Sharp's version is also widely known, and is given in Palmer's Pocket Playford. (Thanks to Hugh Stewart of the Round, in Cambridge, for this information.)

See an animation of this dance .

AABB Version


These three versions could be consolidated. Anyone?

Version from "The Playford Ball" Duple minor longways

   A1 1-2 1st man and 1st woman change places, 
          falling back on last three steps.
      3-4 1st couple face down and back-to-back right 
          shoulder with 2nd couple.
   A2 1-2 1st couple turn single to right, then 1st man 
          turn 2nd woman right-hand once around 
          while 1st woman the same with 2nd man.
      3-4 1st couple turn left-hand half-way to place.
   B1 1-2 1st couple cross and move down outside one place 
          while 2nd couple meet and lead up to top.
      3-4 Partners back-to-back; then 1st couple move in 
          between 2nd couple to form line of four facing up.
      5-8 Taking hands, line lead up {five steps and close}, 
          fall back, 1st couple ending in first place improper, 
          2nd couple ending in 2nd place proper. The ending is 
          done thus: 1st couple drop partners hand, then 2nd 
          couple, still holding hands with 1st couple, hand 
          them to first place, 1st man turning right, 1st woman 
          turning left.
   B2 1-6 1st couple figure-eight down through 2nd couple with 
          skip or skip-change step, being careful to phrase so 
          as to cross through the second time on measure 5.
      7-8 1st couple cross and move down outside one place, 
          2nd couple leading up to top.

Mr. Beveridge's Maggot Longways for as many as will

   A1    6  First couple cross, turning to face, and falling back.
         6  Back-to-back with neighbor
   A2    3  First couple turn single.
         6  Turn neighbor by right.
         3  First couple cross back with left hand.
   B1    6  First couple cross right and cast down as second couple lead up.
         6  Partners back-to-back, anding with first couple in middle improper.
         6  All lead up in line 6 steps.
         6  All fall back, then second couple place firsts above (improper).
            original places
   B2   12  First couple broadly skip half figure-eight down through second.
        12  First couple complete figure-eight more tightly, then cross with
            partner and cast below to progressed place.

Mr Beveridge's Maggot Longways, Triple time

   Note: there are two versions of this dance in circulation. 
   This is the version Cecil Sharp published, and needs music played AABB
   1st couple cross, then back to back with 2nd couple.
   1st couple turn single, turn R hands on sides then 1st couple turn L hands to places.
   1st couple cross again and cast down, while 2nd couple move up; 
   all back to back and fall into line facing up, 1st couple inside.
   Up 6, back 6, 1st couple falling into 1st place improper.
   1st couple full figure-8 (sk.s.) through 2nd couple; 
   1st couple cross over and cast down, while 2nd couple move up.
   This is the version Pat Shaw published, and needs music played 
   AAB (i.e shorter than Cecil Sharp decreed).
   There is a comment in the original text to say 
   "Note that the second strain is played but once" so
   this is more probably correct. The interpretation of the 
   A section is the same in both cases 
   1st couple cross, then back to back with 2nd couple.
   1st couple turn single, turn R hands on sides then 1st couple turn L hands to places.
   1st couple cross again and cast down to end in the middle of a line of four facing up, 
   while 2nd couple back to back and fall back onto the ends of the line.
   Lead up 3, back 3, 1st couple move up crossing and cast round the 2s 
   into progressed places as the twos move in behind the ones and lead up.

From John Garden:

A duple minor longways dance first published by John Playford's son, Henry Playford, in his 1695 Dancing Master.

   A1 The 1. Man cross over and go back to back with the 2. Wo. 
      Then the 1 wo. Cross over and go back to back with the 2. 
      Man at the same time (in short, 1s cross to other side- 
      possibly giving r.hs momentarily, then after a bow to 2s below, 
      do-si-do-ing with 2s below)
   A2 Then meet and turn S. over with 6 steps (2 bars) then 
      1 man turn the 2. Wo. with his right hand, and 1. Wo. turn 
      the 2. Man with her right hand at the same time in 12 steps 
      (4 bars), then 1. Cu. take left hands and turn into their own 
      places with 6 steps (2 bars)
   B  The 1 cu cross over into the 2 cu. place by pulling on l.h., 
      passing and casting down on opposite side while 2s meet 
      partner and lead up, and go back to back with their Partner 
      while 2s cast out with 6 steps onto outside end, then all four 
      lead up hands abrest with 2 steps and a rise, then back with 2 
      steps and a rise, then 1M and W cross (W in front) as they lead 
      up and go the partial Figure through; and cast off into the 2 cu. 
      place while 2s meet partner again and lead up.

Although this dance is Playford and thereby warranting inclusion in the previous section of this web-page, I've included it here as it has widely become known as the 'big dance' from the 1995 Pride & Prejudice production.

ins_mr_beveridges_maggot.txt · Last modified: 2019/05/23 16:04 by nashjc