On Apr 13, 2017, at 3:09 PM, John Sweeney wrote:
Ladies' Chain to Allemande Left is actually the
original version of
the Ladies' Chain! I believe that the Courtesy Turn was added sometime late
in the 19th century, or maybe in the first half of the 20th century.
At a workshop I attended a number of years ago, Colin Hume pointed
out that the dance "Parson's Farewell", published in the first
edition of Playford's _The English Dancing Master_ (1651) includes
an action that is plausibly an early version of the Ladies' Chain.
You can see it about 0:49-0:58 in this videa
and you can read the description (which has been variously interpreted,
as you can see if you look for other videos of the dance) here:
I'd be interested in knowing of the earliest sources anyone can find
with a description or illustration of the modern "courtesy turn".
That would include any reference in which a dancing master admonished
men against putting their hands on the ladies' backs during a "Ladies'
Chain" or a "Right and Left". I figure that a dancing master wouldn't
publish an admonishment against such a thing unless he has reason to
think some people were doing it.