- Era: 1850s-1890s, America (New England)
Here’s an easy American contra dance of the Civil War era found in three Boston sources. Two are manuals by Elias Howe: Howe's Complete Ballroom Handbook (Boston, 1858), and American Dancing Master and Ball-Room Prompter (Boston, 1862); the third is Professor L.H. Elmwell’s Prompter’s Pocket Instruction Book (Boston, 1892).
The figures for the dance, as given by Elmwell:
First couple cross over inside below second couple (4); Up on the outside and turn partners to places (4); First couple down the centre, back and cast off (8); First lady swing second gent (4); First gent swing second lady (4); Right and left (8).
The earlier instructions from the two manuals by Howe are virtually identical except that he describes the second move as “up on the outside swing partner to place”, a distinction I will address below, and the swings of the first lady/second gentleman and first gentleman/second lady as “quite round”.