Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

The Sandal

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

THE SANDAL (R8x48) 3C (4C set) Button And Whitaker RSCDS Book 19

1- 8 1s+2s set twice and dance RH across
9-16 1s+2s repeat above Fig but dance LH across
17-24 1s+2s+3s dance RSh reels of 3 on own sides
25-32 1s cross, cast 1 place and dance ½ Fig of 8 round 3s end BtoB facing own sides for Double Triangles
33-40 1s dance Double Triangles
41-48 1s dance full Figs of 8 round 2s ending in 2nd places

(MINICRIB. Dance crib compiled by Charles Upton, Deeside Caledonian Society, and his successors)

Keith Rose's Crib Diagrams

Dance Information

This reel, The Sandal, is a revision of a 19th century English Country Dance.

Button and Whitaker (spelt as Whittaker in some modern publications) were early 19th century music and dance publishers, based in the St Paul's Church Yard in London. Whitaker (1776- 1847) was also an organist and composer of popular songs. The company took over the yearly publication of Twenty Four Country Dances previously produced by the publishers Thompson.

Books of dances were a small part of the work of Regency dance publishers and music shops. Many used to commission music and dances, and the quality of their dances was decried by famous Dancing Masters of the time such as Thomas Wilson and John Cherry. It is clear that poor dances were produced in quantity.

Wilson said in the 1816 Companion to the Ball Room, "The only reason to be assigned why Collections of Country Dances, particularly annual ones, have been so deficient both in Merit and Originality, is, that good Composers have considered that it would not pay them for composing Dances... Although most of the Music Publishers are Composers; yet few of them compose their own Dances. They are generally, either procured from persons writing them for a mere Trifle, or from young Amateurs, who are fond of obtruding their Productions on the Public". (Wilson himself wrote dance figures for Button and Whitaker from 1812!).

Cherry complained in about 1811, "I have before remarked, that country dancing is of very scientific composition, and is founded upon strict mathematical principles; but I now think it proper to inform the reader, that those mathematical principles do not always appear, either in the works of those who arrange the figures, or of those who compose or print the tunes; as, from both departments, very frequently issue compositions abounding with the most glaring errors".

We are assuming that this dance refers to a shoe with straps. Regency history tells us that by 1815 women's dresses were shorter than previously and actually showed their shoes. Consequently agility on the dance floor increased. Sandals were available to be worn but contemporary sources indicate that they were not really seen as genteel, but as rather shocking. Their strappy appearance, however, was quite in line with the Regency taste for classical Roman or Greek fashion.

In their 1810 collection of Twenty Four Country Dances With Figures, Button and Whitaker also produced music and figures for "Green Sandals" and "Red Breeches and Black Stockings".

Sandal Image
Pair Of Woman's 'Grecian Sandals', England, Circa 1818

Image copyright Los Angeles County Museum Of Art.

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