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December 24, 2015


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Why it should be triple minor? In mid-19century there are lots of duple minor dances, e.g. Spanish Dances and Circassion Cirle.

The mid-century Spanish Dance and Circassian Circle were both danced in "couple facing couple" formation. With standard-formation contras, dance writers often suggest waiting for to start until the active couple has gone down three couples. That makes them triple minor in practice even if there are no figures for the third couple in each minor set. Howe, for example, suggests that in simultaneous starts every fourth couple start, which means three-couple minor sets:

It is usual for those at the foot of the set to wait until the first couple has passed down, and they have arrived at the head of the set; but there is no good reason why they should so wait, as every fourth couple commence at the same time as the first couple.

But he also gives some reasoning for when one might want to dance a dance with no figures for the third couple as a duple minor, which is why I feel it's reasonable to do so:

Country dances most always require two couples to go through the figure; where all are perfectly acquainted with the dance, they can continue the figure without leaving a neutral couple, otherwise it would be more convenient for the couples who follow, to let the head couple pass down three couples before commencing.

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