Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3uWRbXFBM4&feature=plcp (lively!)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSn_-vw8x0g (more traditional)
A square dance for 2 couples. This reconstruction is by Adina Hamilton.
Start holding hands with partner and facing the other couple. Verse 1 1-2 SLf To meet the other couple, end holding corner by both hands 3-4 2 slips With corner, away from the other couple 5-6 2 slips Back towards partners 7-8 2 steps Change place with corner, passing right shoulders 9-16 6 steps Take partner’s right hand and turn each other 1 1/2 turns, ending in partner’s position. 17-32 Repeat Repeat above, ending in original positions. Chorus 1 1-4 Men DL To exchange places 5-8 Women DL To exchange places 9-16 All STL Set and turn 17-24 Women DL To exchange places 21-24 Men DL To exchange places 25-32 All STR Set and turn Verse 2 1-4 DLf With corner, away from partner 5-8 DRb Back towards partner 9-16 DL DR Turn partner 17-20 DLb Away from corner, not holding hands with partner 21-24 DRf Back towards corner. 25-32 STL Set and turn Chorus 2 1-4 Men SDR Double sideways to exchange places, women passing on the inside. Women SDL 5-8 Men SDL Return to place, women on the inside Women SDR 9-16 DL DR Turn corner, holding right hands 17-20 Women DLf To meet 21-24 Women DRb Back to place 25-32 Men’s hey Men change places with a double, passing right shoulders, turn at the end and return to place with another double, again passing right shoulders. End facing contrary. Verse 3 1-3 3 steps (l r l) Men push contrary women back 3 steps, holding both hands 4 Slip Slip to men’s right 5-8 Men DRb Men pull women back down the other side Women DLf 9-16 STL Set and turn 17-20 Men SDL Slip between partners back to place, ladies in front Women SDR 21-22 2 steps (l r) Men push contrary women back 2 steps 23-24 2 steps (l r) Men pull contrary women forward 2 steps 25-32 STL Set and turn Chorus 3 1-8 DLf DRf First man and his corner cast off, ending in partner’s place. Others follow. 9-16 DLf DRf First man and his corner cast off in the other direction, ending in original position. Others follow. 17-24 DLf DRf Half a hey, beginning with partner 25-32 DL DR Turn partner, holding hands. At the end of the second double, the couples open up and form a line facing the presence.
Two couple set, couple facing couple across the room, D Major, 2/2
The English Dancing Master, 1st Ed. (Playford), 1651.
Edited for The Playford Ball, Kate Van Winkle Keller and Genevieve Shimer (CDSS), 1994
Part I A1 1-2 All forward a double to opposite couple. 3-4 Joining two hands with opposite, dance two slipping steps away and back, immediately pass opposite by right shoulder, and face partner on the other side of the set. 5-8 Partners two-hand turn once and a half, skipping, end facing opposite. A2 1-4 Opposites two-hand turn once and a half, skipping, while traveling clockwise to original places, end facing partner. 5-8 Partners two-hand turn. B1 1-2 Men change places as women balance back and forward. 3-4 Women change places as men balance back and forward. 5-8 Partners set and turn single. B2 1-8 Repeat B1, women changing first. Part II A1 1-4 With opposite, lead out a double and fall back, turning right to face partner. 5-8 Partners two-hand turn and, retaining inside hands, end facing opposite. A2 1-4 Partners fall back a double, dance forward, then face each other. 5-8 Partners set and turn single, end facing opposite. B1 1-2 All dance four slips, women left and men right, women passing in front of men. 3-4 Four slips back, women again in front of men. 5-8 Opposites two-hand turn, skipping. B2 1-2 Women meet. 3-8 As the women fall back (3-4), men, skipping and passing right shoulder to start, dance a figure eight around the women, counterclockwise around opposite and clockwise around partner. Part III A1 1-4 Opposites poussette halfway clockwise (men moving forward to start). 5-8 Partners set and turn single. A2 1-4 Opposites poussette halfway counterclockwise (men again moving forward to start). 5-8 Partners set and turn single. These last two B sections use a skipping step throughout! B1 1-4 The two dancers nearest the top of the room (NOT partners!) cast down, followed by their partners, and return up the middle to place. 5-8 The other two dancers, also followed by their partners, cast up and return down the middle to place. B2 1-4 Starting with opposite, two changes of a circular hey. 5-6 Partners two-hand turn and open to face up in a line of four (couple that was originally on the right is now on the left). 7-8 All step right and honor the Presence.
NOTES from Van Winkel and Shimer
Part I, A1 3-4
There is no specific time allotted for the pass through at the end of the phrase. It just happens! You must anticipate the upcoming turn with two hands.
Part I, A1 5-8
Because of the time issue above, many dancers do this turn in a sloppy frenzy Don't! It is quick, but it can be well danced.
Part I, A2 1-4
Think of this as part turn two hands/part alternating pivot turn, with women providing the first pivot (1-2) and men the second (3-4). In a perfect world, at the halfway point men would be (almost) home while women are still near opposite's position.
Part I, A2 5-8
This is a quiet (non-skipping) turn, in contrast to the previous excitement.
Part II, B2
A great moment when, after turning their opposites, the men wait a moment as the women meet, and then burst into the figure eights as the women fall back to place.
Part III, A1 1-4
The men, finishing the figure eights, continue in the same direction (at a calmer speed) to start the poussettes.
Part III, B1, 2
The secret here is to master the quick changes in direction, first between B1 4 and 5, then B1 8 and B2 1, and lastly B2 4 and 5.
Part III, B2 5-8
No matter what has transpired, at least try to slow down and finish gracefully! Argeers is one of the most complex and challenging dances in the repertoire and not for the faint of heart. It is seldom done except at camp sessions and workshops, where there is the ample time needed to learn it. For the uninitiated, the spry, happy tune gives no warning of the havoc to be wrought! And it is wrought immediately in the impossible sequence in the second half of A1 into A2. Each of the three parts has challenges that tax the best dancers. Given all these warnings, it is a great and beautiful dance, classic, stunning in the ebb and flow of figures with the music. To be done well it needs to be learned in two phases: first to learn the figures; and then, second, to learn how to DANCE them. Very, very few get to that second level.
Source: <a href=“http://www.cdss.org/” target=“_blank”>CDSS</a>, At Home, The English Dance collection Vol 5 Sticker Number: OECDC 2016 - 4 (CD: -3)