Black Nag – England

In 1651 a music bookseller named John Playford published a book he titled The English Dancing Master, a collection of 105 popular English dances, with notation of the melodies and a description of the dance. According to Wikipedia “It was originally small so that the dancing master could hide it under his cloak and consult it surreptitiously.” Playford did not compose any of the music, nor did he choreograph any of the dances but, as it was the first compilation of English dances, the book was enormously popular and stayed in print through many editions for over 75 years. Subsequent editions introduced new songs and dances, while dropping others, and the work eventually encompassed three volumes. “The Black Nag” is the name of both the tune and dance, and is in the first edition. It appears the dance has never been out of favour.

Caption: This English folk dance was performed in the National Trust property, Kinston Lacy, near Wimborne, Dorset. It was one of the dances presented by the Ring of Eight as part of the re-creation of a Ball held in 1791.
Here’s a walkthrough. Note during the “hey” (figure 8) the 1st & 2nd man start by walking around each other in a clockwise direction. 1st man then crosses over and passes 3rd man in a counterclockwise direction. Then ladies do the same in the same direction. The 1st lady above got confused and started in the wrong direction.
German caption (Google translated) – “The recording was made in the former Cistercian monastery in Kostanjevica (Slovenia). Today the Gothic church serves as an exhibition space.”
Polish caption, (Google translated) “Early Music Ensemble AMBITUS dances in the Czartoryski Palace in Puławy – August 7, 2011”
Czech caption (Google translated) “Performance of the Anello ensemble in the courtyard of the Červená Lhota castle on Thursday, August 8, 2013 © Marie Vozková, 2013”
Black Nag, Contra dance from England. Presented by the Noa-am folk dancers, Israel. Yehuda Ben-Harush, Mika Yehezkeli, Gilad Tzaidi-Eden, Aviva Gafni.

Caption: “‘The Black Nag’ danced by Gainesville English country dancers on December 2nd, 2013. Called by Randy Thorp with live music by Hoggetowne Fancy.”
French caption: (Google translated) “It is an English counter-dance performed by Les Danseurs du CREN82, on June 25, 2013 in Albias…”

Sheet Music

Sheet music is readily available and easily downloadable in many formats. Here is but a few examples. First, the original Playford.

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