[Callers] Re Improper

Bill Baritompa staf186 at ext.canterbury.ac.nz
Mon Oct 10 03:52:59 PDT 2011


  The following extract supports proper and improper as referring
to the 'correct' side of the longways formation (Dave: if everyone is improper,
there is still no mixing of the sexes :-) ).

Cheers, Bill

The country Dance Book Cecil J. Sharp Part VI.

In Playford's time, the top of the room was called the
Presence, alluding to the dais upon which the spectators
-were seated. The expression "facing the Presence" means,
therefore, facing up, i.e., toward the top of the room ; while
back to the Presence means facing down, toward the bottom
of the room.

A Longways dance is one in which the performers take
partners and stand in two parallel lines, the men on one side
opposite and facing their partners on the other, those on
the men's side facing the right wall (i.e. the wall on the right
  when facing  the Presence), those on the women's -
side the left wall.

The disposition of the dancers in a longways dance is said
to be proper when the men and women are on their own
sides; and improper when the men are on the women's side-
or the women on the men's.

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