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Triple Contras

Note about early Duple and Triple Contras:
In the early days of contra dancing, it was common for the knowledgeable top couple
   to dance with the next one or two couples to demonstrate the action.  
   When the leads had moved down enough to leave two or three couples available at the top,
   the new top couple would begin.  

Author: Traditional
Formation: Proper lines – 1st, 4th, 7th etc. couples active.
Music: “Glen Towle” on LS 1008

A1  (8) Actives (1’s) Down the outside below two persons;
      (8) Cross Over, acknowledging partner and passing left shoulders,
          Come up around one person;
A2  (8) Forward Six and Back; 1’s Turn Partner Right 3/4 turn;

B1  (8) Forward Six and Back (lines of 3 facing up or down the hall);
      (8) 1’s Turn Partner Right 3/4 turn to own lines;
B2  (8) With the couple above Right and Left Thru;
      (8) Right and Left Thru back (same sex, no hands);

Actives begin again, but work with the two couples immediately below them in the lines.
When there is only one couple below them, go through the dance as if there was a 3rd couple there.
When there are no more couples, they stand out one sequence and become an inactive couple. 

Author: (Traditional)
Formation: Proper Triple

A1  (8) Forward six and Back;
      (8) Circle Left three-quarters round;
A2  (8) Active couples go down centre of those lines, turn alone;
      (8) Come back and Cast Off; 

B1  (8) Actives Turn Contra Corners;
      (8) (Partner right, right opposite left, partner right, left opposite left);
B2  (8) Forward Six and Back;
      (8) Circle Right three-quarters into long lines;

Author: Don Armstrong
Formation: Proper Triple, could be danced as a Proper Duple
Music: "Bunkhouse Jig"

A1  (8) Actives Swing;
      (8) Actives Down Centre and Wheel Around;
A2  (8) Come Back and Cast Off;
      (8) Forward Six and Back (or all Forward and Back);

B1  (8) Actives Dosado;
      (8) Others Dosado;
B2  (8) Actives Turn Contra Corners;
      (8) (Partner right, right opposite left, - - partner right, left opposite left); 

Stew and Kathie Shacklette were fond of triple contras and often presented one when asked
 for their contribution. The last such presentation was of “Lonesome Shepherd” presented
 by them in Las Vegas in 2011. This dance appears to have come from an earlier dance 
 called the “Doubtful Shepherd”.   Both dances are listed here.

Page 44 in Contras by Don Armstrong
From Jack McKay who popularized it.  (Not known if he wrote it.)
Similar to Doubtful Shepherd presented by Ralph Page from manuscripts circa 1808
Formation: Triple contra with 1, 4, 7 couples active and crossed over 

A1 (16) Active gent lead two ladies around opposites; - ;
A2 (16) Active lady lead two gents around opposites; - ;

B1  (8) Active couples down in twos;
      (8) Turn alone, Come back and Cast Off around one;
B2  (8) Top 4 Right and Left Thru;
      (8) Right and Left Thru back;

Presented by Ralph Page from manuscripts circa 1808
Music: "Dusty Bob and Mouse in the Cupboard" 
(Available from Lloyd Shaw Foundation as LS #1009, “Doubtful Shepherd”) 
Formation: Proper triple minor contra (1, 4, 7 active but not crossed over)

A1  (8) Lady #1 lead three ladies around the gents while the gents balance;
      (8) Three gents Circle Left;
A2  (8) Gent #1 lead three gents around the ladies while the ladies balance;
      (8) Three ladies Circle Right; 

B1  (8) Actives down the center and Turn alone;
      (8) Come back and Cast Off;
B2  (8) Circle Six;
      (8) Full around;

Idea from American Dancing Master and Ball-Room Prompter, by Elias Howe, Boston, 1862
Formation: Triple Proper

The choreography in the 1862 document is: 
 "First couple down the outside and back
  –- down the center, back and cast off one couple
  -– forward and back six, swing six half around 
  -- six forward and back again, swing six to places 
  -– first couple cross right hands with third couple half around, left hands back with same two
  -– right and left first four" (In 1862 “swing around” meant to Circle Left.) 

A slightly different version is listed in Northern Junket, Vol 2, Number 7, March 1951, page 24.
It begins with 1, 4, 7, etc. crossed over and replaces the Right and Left Thru with Ladies Chain. 

Accomplishing all this in 64 beats is possible by using a running jig step in the first part.  
However, the sheet music for "St. Patrick’s Day in the Morning" actually has 88 beats and the 
version shown in Northern Junket has 72 beats so perhaps it was not intended to be so energetic.
Nevertheless, here is one possible 64-beat option with an energetic first half.  

Music: (64-count Jig)

A1  (8) First couple down the outside four steps and come back;
      (8) Down the center four steps and come back;
A2  (8) Cast Off and Balance In; 
      (8) Circle Six Left halfway;

B1  (8) Balance and Circle Six Left halfway;
      (8) Below Star Right half (crossed hands styling) and Star Left half;
B2  (8) Above Right and Left Thru;
      (8) Right and Left Back;

Here is a simplified version which uses the ideas, but gives more time and
 removes the same gender Right and Left Thru.
Formation: Proper triple contra lines (1, 4, 7 active but not crossed over)
   Use Cast Off to the foot to create a triplet.

A1  (8) First Couple down the Center;
      (8) Come back and Cast Off around one;
A2  (8) Forward and Back;
      (8) Circle Left Half;

B1  (8) Forward and Back;
      (8) Circle Left Half;
B2  (8) Centers Star Right Above (crossed hands);
      (8) Centers Star Left Below;

Author: Bob Howell (from Contra Syllabus, 48th NSDC, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1999)
Formation: Proper Triple
Music: “Reflection Quadrille” on LSF 1011 (Lover’s Waltz – speeded for comfort) 
or any of several selections from the “Waltzing with Jimmy Shand” LP

A1  (6) Lines waltz Forward and Back;
      (6) Actives Pass Thru, Down around One;
      (Actives move slightly to center to begin a mirror hey for three
       on each side starting with couple three.)
A2 (12) Mirror Hey for Three;

B1  (6) Join hands Circle six once around;
      (6) (Active couple backs out to join the opposite line, 
           gent between two ladies, lady between two gents.)
B2  (6) Actives Gypsy once around in the center of the set.
      (6) (End in butterfly banjo position, turn slowly half way and
           back out with a flourish to the original side of the set 
           to acknowledge partner, ready to begin the dance again.

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