Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Pop! Goes The Weasel

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

Pop! Goes the Weasel
Reuben Freemantle  www.scottish-country-dancing-dictionary.com
Jig   8 x 32 bars   3 Couple Repeat   4 Couple Set   Longwise Set

  1-2   1s cast;

  3-6   1L up, 1M down, half figures of 8 across;

  7-8   1s turn by the left to finish side-by-side in the centre, left shoulder to shoulder, facing second corners;

  9-12 1s half diagonal reel of 4 with second corners, passing by the left to finish facing first corners;

13-16 1s half diagonal reel of 4 with first corners, finishing 1s side-by-side in the centre, left shoulder to shoulder, 1L facing down, 1M up, 3s on opposite sides in 1st place, 2s on opposite sides in 3rd place, 3s 2s facing clockwise around the corners' square;

17-24 weasel reel bars 5-8 followed by bars 1-4, 2s 3s finishing as at bar 16, 1s, left shoulder to left shoulder, facing partner's second corner in own second corner's position;

25-28 1s half diagonal reel of 4 with second corners, passing by the left to finish facing partner's first corner in own first corner's position;

29-32 1s half diagonal reel of 4 with second corners, finishing 2s1s3s on own sides.

(MAXICRIB, Scottish country dancing instructions compiled by Reuben Freemantle)


Dance Notes

  1-2   2s step up. In the 3rd, 5th and 7th repeats, 3s step up WHILE 1s from the previous repeat cast to 4th place of the full set.

12-13 1s pass by the left between the half diagonal reels of 4, taking left hands briefly to aid correct phrasing if desired. Note that these half reels are not Mairi's Wedding reels of the original type (i.e., those in which the dancing couple pass left shoulder between the half reels to face the corner next anticlockwise in the set); here, the dancing couple pass (or turn) ¾ by the left between the half reels to face the corner next clockwise.

    -16 1s finish as at bar 8.

17-24 In the weasel reel, all dance clockwise: Ls up on the Mn's side and down in the half reel of 4; Mn down on the Ls' side and up in the half reel of 4.

17-17 1s must not be deterred by the lateness of the approaching dancer in the half reel of 4 on the centre line; to avoid conflict, the phrasing of the weasel reel requires that the dancers who are chasing toward the centre line should join the reel one bar later than would be expected in a normal reel of 4.

    -24 1s finish as at bar 8.

25-30 In these half reels of 4, 1s follow the same path as in bars 9-14 but start by passing M to M, L to L.

28-29 1s pass by the left between the half diagonal reels of 4. Again, these half reels are in reverse order compared to formal Mairi's Wedding reels.

30-32 1s pass by the right to finish in 2nd place on own side, facing out except on the last repeat.


Keith Rose's Crib Diagrams


Dance Information

An arrangement of the nursery rhyme tune would be eminently suitable as the name-tune for this dance. (Reuben Freemantle)

The title of this dance, Pop! Goes The Weasel, comes from Pop! Goes The Weasel - Song written around 1853.

Half a pound of tuppenny rice,
Half a pound of treacle.
That's the way the money goes,
Pop! goes the weasel.

Perhaps because of the obscure nature of the various lyrics there have been many suggestions for what they mean, particularly the phrase "Pop! goes the weasel".

A spinner's weasel consists of a wheel which is revolved by the spinner in order to measure off thread or yarn after it has been produced on the spinning wheel. The weasel is usually built so that the circumference is six feet, so that 40 revolutions produces 80 yards of yarn, which is a skein. It has wooden gears inside and a cam, designed to cause a popping sound after the 40th revolution, telling the spinner that she has completed the skein.

An alternative meaning involves pawning one's coat (or tailors iron) in order to buy food and drink, as pop is a slang word for pawn (British, informal verb for hock) and weasel is rhyming slang for coat (Weasel and Stoat). A weasel was also a type of iron used by tailors. The monkey on the table could refer to £500, (A monkey is Cockney rhyming slang for £500) and may be a reference to the rent collector.

The Eagle in one verse probably refers to The Eagle freehold pub at the corner of Shepherdess Walk and City Road mentioned in the same verse. The Eagle was rebuilt as a music hall in 1825, demolished in 1901, and then rebuilt as a public house. This public house bears a plaque with this interpretation of the nursery rhyme and the pub's history.

Pop! Goes The Weasel Song - Information Video

Pop! Goes The Weasel Image
Spinning Wheel And Weasel


Dance Information licensed under this Creative Commons Licence.
Text from this original Pop! Goes The Weasel article on Wikipedia.
Image Copyright DTParker1000 under this Creative Commons Licence.

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