OLD  PHILADELPHIA  SET
          2008   Larry E. Taylor

GO TO DOCUMENTATION INDEX PAGE

    This MAY NOT BE a traditional set of Ireland.  Documentation is based upon a posting on the www.reavy.us/the_philadelphia_set.html website.  With added emphases, text from the website is shown here:
 

“This old set differs from most sets today in that the third part is laced with reels and marches.  The first part is danced to reels and the second to jigs.  . . . Since no written history exists to determine its origin, we must consider the county immigrant makeup of the Philadelphia [Pennsylvania USA] Irish community.  The predominant immigrant is from Donegal, with Mayo a respectable second.  However, Donegal was not set dance country whereas, Mayo was.  I can only surmise that this is a Mayo set.  Furthermore, Connie Ryan the great set dance teacher commented when the set was explained to him, "That smacks of Mayo."  Also, three-part sets are common to Mayo.  . . . When Ed Reavy arrived in Philadelphia from Cavan in 1912 with his fiddle under his arm, he was told by the old musicians at the house parties that the set had been played for dancing by the old musicians who taught them.  This would indicate that it could have been danced from the mid 1800's.  The last time this was danced was at Devine's Pub in Upper Darby, just outside West Philadelphia [in 1988].  The last time it was taught was at Pete Brett's classes in 1984.  No dance was more exhilarating than the set in our time.  We are hoping that a revival will afford future dancers the same thrill.  The set was recalled and compiled by Ed Reavy, Jr. and Pete Brett.

 

    Dance ordinary reel (lift-2-3-4), jig (down-2-3) and march (1-2, 1-2) steps.
    First side is right of first top.
    Bar counts for dance patterns are shown in bold.
    The total bar count for each Figure includes an eight-bar introduction of music.
    Throughout the set, gents dance forward first on the left foot and ladies dance
                forward initially on the right foot.
    Swing in elbow ceili hold:   Partners grasp right thumbs at shoulder-height and
                place left hands under the right elbows; maintain near-vertical position
                for right forearms during the swing; position of feet and swing action are
                the same as those of the waltz, hug, or ceili hold swing -- use the ball of
                the right foot as a pivot point and push around one another with the left foot.
    Dance to partner:  A gent and a lady face one another and take right-hand-in-right. 
               The couple dance in-place without turning.  The pattern is danced with
               original partners and, in Figure 3, with new partners.
    Edition of December 25, 2008 Contact larryetaylor@hotmail.com 
  
    FIGURE 1 -- REELS (176 BARS)
All couples: take hands in a circle and advance and retire twice8;
Top couples: REPEAT  "MARKER" dance to partner (see heading)8;
dancing sevens in waltz hold (weight on the leading foot), crossover to
       opposite with gents back-to-back and turn clockwise to-place4;
dance to partner4;
dancing sevens in waltz hold (weight on the leading foot), crossover to home
       with gents again back-to-back and turn clockwise to-place4;
swing in elbow ceili hold (see heading)4;
ladies take right-hand-in-right and chain to opposite4;
new partners swing in elbow ceili hold4;
ladies take right-hand-in-right and chain to home4;
original partners swing in elbow ceili hold4.
Side couples: repeat from   REPEAT  "MARKER"    40.
Top couples: repeat from   REPEAT  "MARKER"    40.
Side couples: repeat from   REPEAT  "MARKER"    40.
    FIGURE 2 -- JIGS (136 BARS)          The Knot
Top couples: REPEAT  "MARKER" cross and give right hands to opposite partner;   turn clockwise and dance
         toward home; take left-hand-in-left-hand with  partner and release
         right hands; ladies pass right hand over left arm to their partner’s right
         hand and all move anticlockwise in a knot-of-four8;
All couples: swing corner partner in elbow ceili hold6; dance to home2;
ladies take right-hand-in-right and chain to opposite, as in Figure One4;
new partners swing in elbow ceili hold4;
ladies take right-hand-in-right and chain to home4;
original partners swing in elbow ceili hold4.
Side couples: repeat from   REPEAT  "MARKER"    32.
Top couples: repeat from   REPEAT  "MARKER"    32.
Side couples: repeat from   REPEAT  "MARKER"    32.
    FIGURE 3 -- REELS (360 BARS) & MARCHES (48 BARS) -- TOTAL 408
All couples: reel:      take hands in a circle and advance and retire twice8;
       REPEAT  "MARKER" swing partner in elbow ceili hold and first top couple swing on to face
              the first side couple during the final two bars8;
1st top/1st side:        dance to new partner (first top gent with first side lady and first top lady with
              first side gent)8;
All couples:        repeat the two lines above three times with the first top gent dancing with a
              new partner each time; the leading gent dances to a new partner
              then swings on to the next position with that partner48;
       dance to new partners8;
       repeat from   REPEAT  "MARKER"   with first side gent, second top gent then second side
              gent leading216;
       swing original partner in elbow ceili hold8.
march:  take hands in a circle and advance and retire four times16;
reel:      dance to partner8;
reel:       swing in elbow ceili hold8;
march:  take hands in a circle and advance and retire four times16;
reel:      dance to partner8;
reel:       swing in elbow ceili hold8;
march:  take sweetheart hold and lead around anticlockwise twice16;
reel:      dance to partner8;
reel:       swing in elbow ceili hold8;

                                     GO TO THE TOP OF THIS PAGE.    GO TO DOCUMENTATION INDEX PAGE

S E T     F O R M A T I O N