THE NORTH KERRY (Ballybunion) POLKA SET

Study Notes Copyright William Lynch 2007

First Figure - The Star (Polkas) 152 bars
1 Quarterhouse: Taking waltz hold, all couples dance 2 bars in place then turn 2 bars on to the next place on their R. They repeat this 4 bar movement into each place and back home. 16 bars
2 Top couples:
R and L hand star: dancers take R hands in the centre and wheel clockwise for 4 bars, turn inwards, take L hands and wheel back to place.
8 bars
Swing partners with waltz hold. 8 bars
3 Quarterhouse. 16 bars
4 Side couples star and swing.
Quarterhouse.
32 bars
5 Top couples star and swing.
Quarterhouse.
32 bars
6 Side couples star and swing.
Quarterhouse.
32 bars
Second Figure - Show the Lady (Polkas) 152 bars
1 Quarterhouse. 16 bars
2 1st top couple show the lady:
House within the set.
8 bars
Slide in towards the centre, dancing 1, 2, 123, and back 2, 123 (4 bars), and dance one turn at home(4 bars). 8 bars
3 Quarterhouse. 16 bars
4 1st side couple (R of 1st top couple) show the lady.
Quarterhouse.
32 bars
5 2nd top couple show the lady.
Quarterhouse.
32 bars
6 2nd side couple show the lady.
Quarterhouse.
32 bars
Third Figure - Balance and change (Polkas) 152 bars
1 Quarterhouse. 16 bars
2 Top couples balance and change: with the same hold, couples face centre and dance in (2 bars) and back (2 bars) and house across to the opposite place (4 bars). They then repeat the whole 8 bar movement back to place. 16 bars
3 Quarterhouse. 16 bars
4 Side couples balance and change.
Quarterhouse.
32 bars
5 Top couples repeat the balance and change.
Quarterhouse.
32 bars
6 Side couples repeat the balance and change.
Quarterhouse.
32 bars
Fourth Figure - Ladies Chain (Polkas) 88 bars
1 Quarterhouse. 16 bars
2 Ladies chain: gents dance in place while ladies take R hands in the centre and wheel round to give L hand to the opposite gent. The lady turns twice clockwise under the gent's L arm while dancing round behind him as he follows her round. Ladies again take R hands in the centre and wheel back to take waltz hold with their partners. 8 bars
3 Swing. 8 bars
4 Quarterhouse.
Ladies chain.
Swing.
32 bars
5 Quarterhouse 16 bars
Fifth Figure - The Hornpipe 128 bars
1 Quarterhouse: dancing - heel in 2 3, stamp back 2 3, with the stamp on the gent's R and lady's L foot. 16 bars
House around 8 bars
2 Change partners and quarterhouse: partners drop hands and ladies dance on to the next gent on the R while the gents dance - heel in 2 3, stamp, back 2 3 (2 bars) to meet the new lady. New partners take waltz hold and turn to the next position R (2 bars). They then dance the last three parts of the quarterhouse movement to arrive back in the gent's place. 16 bars
House around. 8 bars
3 Change partners and quarterhouse.
House around.
24 bars
4 Change partners and quarterhouse.
House around.
24 bars
5 Change partners and quarterhouse, with own partners.
House around.
24 bars
SOURCES and STEPS
I got the set first from Donncha O Muinnechain in Birmingham, January 1991, but changed it slightly to match Bob Stack and the Ballybunion Set Dancers' version available on the video "A Feast of Irish Set Dances" produced by Oilean Productions - it is, after all, their set. Their vigorously danced brushed or stamped polka step is worth noting, as are the step they use for the Balance in the Third Figure and the individual styles of stepping they display. Note too that they dance with First Sides on the R of First Tops, not the L. Some dancers today seem to think that the Clare system of numbering applies to all sets!

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List of Sets 1

Glossary