Kemp's Jigg

Kemp's Jigg is an English Country Dance. It was published by John Playford (website) in 1651 in The English Dancing Master, London. It was interpreted by Douglas & Helen Kennedy (mod) in 1929 and published in Country Dance Book, New Series. It is a 3 Couple Circle dance. It is a multipart dance. The minor set lasts 432 bars.

Playford writes:

One man lead in two we. forwards and back Honour to one, honour to the other, then turn the third Lead your own with your left hand, and the woman you turned, and as much Then as much with the other two we. turning your own ·: The next man as much ·: ·: Then the third as much ·: ·:
First man lead the we. as before; turn half round holding both hands, and his own as much to the other, turn the third wo. Do thus to all, the rest following and doing the like.
First man take the we. as before by the co. hands behind, then lead them forwards and back, pull one half about and kiss her, as much to the other, turn the third Do thus to all, the rest following and doing the like.

Hmm. The Kennedies give two forwards and back, while the text only mentions one. However the text does include a which usually means two repetitions of the music so perhaps the choice is justified.

They have replaced all the kisses in part 3 with honours.

Part 2 perplexes me. Playford says
"turn half round holding both hands, and his own as much to the other".
The Kennedies interpret this as
"B1 1-2 First man turns partner half-way round
2-4 First man turns second woman half-way round counter-clockwise".
But this makes no sense to me if M1 turns his partner half-way round, then he will be in her place and she in his. This leaves him in the wrong place to turn "the second woman" and her in the wrong place for the next forward and back.
Similarly turning the second woman half leaves her on top of the first woman, and the man again in the wrong place.

Scott Pfitzinger has a better interpretation: M1 rotates half round in place while the two women rotate in a big semi-circle into each other's places.

Sadly this method also has problems. At the end of one time through Part 2, M1's corner is where she started, but the other two women have switched places. By the end of the third repetition all three women are back where they started, but it still seems such an odd form of progression as to be unlikely. Given that neither of the other parts has any progression I think it is just wrong.

I think that, whatever happens in Part 2, the women must end where they started, just as they do in the other two parts.

It is hard to guess what Playford means here, and hard to know if what he means accurately reflects the dance.

The best I can come up with is a circle three half to the left and half to the right. I suspect that is does not accurately reflect what the dance used to do, but at least everyone is in the right place for the next figures.

The animation plays at 120 counts per minute normally, but the first time through the set the dance will often be slowed down so people can learn the moves more readily. Men are drawn as rectangles, women as ellipses. Each couple is drawn in its own color, however the border of each dancer indicates what role they currently play so the border color may change each time through the minor set.

The dance contains the following figures: hand turn (allemande), circle, lead, kiss (and probably others).

If you find what you believe to be a mistake in this animation, please leave a comment on youtube explaining what you believe to be wrong. If I agree with you I shall do my best to fix it.

If you wish to link to this animation please see my comments on the perils of youtube. You may freely link to this page, of course, and that should have no problems, but use one of my redirects when linking to the youtube video itself:

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The dance itself is out of copyright, and is in the public domain. The interpretation is copyright © 1929 by Douglas & Helen Kennedy (mod). My visualization of this dance is copyright © 2021 by George W. Williams V and is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

This website is copyright © 2021,2022,2023,2024 by George W. Williams V
Creative Commons License My work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Most of the dances have more restrictive licensing, see my notes on copyright, the individual dance pages should mention when some rights are waived.