Halfe Hannikin

(Half Hannikin)

{1651}


Introduction

Halfe Hannikin is a longways mixer in the first edition of Playford's English Dancing Master (1651).

There are many different versions of this dance that you'll see today. On this page, you'll find two versions: the original version (which has everyone dance with everyone of both roles), and the best adaptation (which has everyone dance with everyone of the opposite role).



The Original Halfe Hannikin


The Formation

Longways for as many as will, proper (with all of the Follows to the right of the Leads facing up the hall).


The Dance

The dance has two easy parts:


Part 1 (16 counts)

Up and Back (8 counts): Taking hands with partner, walk four steps up the hall, and fall back four steps down the hall.

Repeat Up and Back (8 counts)


Part 2 (16 counts)

Side Right (8 counts): Approach partner with four steps, ending right shoulder to right shoulder, then back away four steps. (This is the historical style for siding, although you may also see some people do the dance with the more dynamic "Cecil Sharp" style of siding. In a modern context, either is fine, as long as you and your partner/community agree.)

Turn Your Partner (8 counts): Taking two hands with partner, rotate clockwise as a couple one full turn to return to places.

Progression A: At the end of the turn, all of the Leads move up one partner, and all of the Follows move down one partner. The top Lead and the bottom Follow cross over, and stand out to the top right and bottom left of the set, respectively, the Lead on the Follows' side, and the Follow on the Leads' side.


Repeat Parts 1 and 2 (32 counts)


Progression B: At the end of the second iteration, the inactive dancers rejoin the set and everyone on the Leads' side moves up, and everyone on the Follows side moves down. The original first Lead is now following the original second Lead, and the original last Follow is leading the original second-to-last Follow.


Repeat Until All Have Returned to Original Places: Repeat the dance over and over again, alternating Progressions A and B, until everyone has returned home. Everyone in the set will dance with everyone else in the set (of both roles).


The Adapted Halfe Hannikin

This adaptation, proposed by Cecil Sharp in the 1910s, simplifies the progression to let everyone to dance the whole time, and allows everyone in the set to dance with everyone of the opposite role in the set. The dance is basically the same, but with a different formation and a different progression.


The Formation

Longways for as many as will, improper (i.e., start with all of the Follows to the right of the Leads facing up the hall, but then have the odd couples, a.k.a. the "ones," cross over to the other line.)


The Progression

Everyone in the left line moves up two places, passing the person of the same role to dance with the next person of the opposite role. The person at the top left immediately crosses over into the top right position to dance with the person of the opposite role who was behind them, and the person at the bottom right immediately crosses over into the bottom left position to dance with the person of the opposite role who was in front of them.


The Music

Here is a nice tune for dancing Halfe Hannikin:


Sources


© 2020 Nick Enge


For more, see our two books on dancing:
Waltzing: A Manual for Dancing and Living (2013) by Richard Powers and Nick Enge,
and Cross-Step Waltz: A Dancer's Guide (2019) by Richard Powers and Nick & Melissa Enge.


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