The Black Nag

Photo credit: "Frieser on the run" by Kim Marius Flakstad


This sprightly dance is a modern creation made for the BBC’s 2009 Television Mini-Series, “Emma.”  With shouting, clapping, and chasses, you’ll be having fun in no time!


Dance Calls

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Black Nag

Longways for six; in three sections (4th Ed., 1670).

Section I

A 1-4 All lead up a double and fall back a double to places (r.s.)

5-8 That again

B1 1-2 First man and first woman face each other, take both hands, and dance four slips up

3-4 Second couple the same

5-6 Third couple the same

7-8 All turn single

B2 1-2 Third man and third woman take both hands and dance four slips down

3-4 Second couple the same

5-6 First couple the same

7-8 All turn single

Section II

A 1-4 Partners side (r.s.)

5-8 That again

B1 1-2 First man changes places with third woman, right shoulders foremost, passing back-to-back (sl.s.)

3-4 First woman changes places with third man in like manner (sl.s.)

5-6 Second man changes places with second woman in like manner (sl.s.)

7-8 All turn single.

B2 1-8 All that again to places.

Section III

A 1-4 Partners arm with the right

5-8 Partners arm with the left

B1 1-8 Men the straight hey-for-three (Fig.12, p.53) on their own side (sk.s.)

B2 1-8 Women the straight hey-for-three on their own side (sk.s.); while men turn single during the last two bars


ss-dance-blacknag-notation“Black Nag,” “The Black Nag,” “The Galloping Nag”

This traditional tune first appeared in John Playford’s 3rd Edition of the Dancing Master as “The Galloping Nag.”  The tune has since become a popular folk tune for English country dancers and American contra dancers.

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Helpful Links

Music Annotation & History of Tune – Traditional Tune Archive

Dance Calls & Notes – SCA Dance Cheat Sheets

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