The Copthorne Steamie
A 40-bar jig for 4½ couples in a longwise set
(the ½ stands at the top of the set as the “Umbrella” with a small part-filled
laundry basket )

1 – 4 1st with 2nd couple and 3rd with 4th couple advance and retire diagonally, touching
right hands with a pushing or punching motion in the middle.

5 – 8 1st and 4th couples advance and retire to partners twice, touching right hands in a
similar manner to previously, while 2nd and 3rd couples dance four hands once round
to the left.

9 – 12 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th couples dance half reels of four on the sides; instead of completing
the left shoulder pass at the end, 3rd with 2nd men and 3rd with 2nd women finish
when side by side giving left hands, 2nd couple facing down and 3rd couple up, in a line
across the dance.

13 – 16 4th and 1st couples turn partner once round with the right hand, while 3rd with 2nd
men, and 3rd with 2nd women, turn three quarters round with the left hand. Finish in
order 4,2,3,1 with 2nd man facing up.

17 – 24 all stand chatting to all and sundry, while 4th and 2nd men change places with both
hands and two pas de basque on bars 17–18, then 3rd and 1st women on bars 19–20,
3rd and 1st men on bars 21–22 and 4th and 2nd women on bars 23–24. Order is now

25 – 32 2nd and 3rd couples chase clockwise right round the outside of the set while 4th and 1st
couples turn right about on the spot with two pas de basque then chase anticlockwise
once round inside the set in six bars. On the last bar, as he arrives at the top, 2nd man
is given the laundry basket by the “Umbrella”.

33 – 40 The laundry basket is passed, one bar for each pass, from 2nd man to 4th man, to 1st
man, to 3rd man, to 3rd woman, then to 1st woman, to 4th woman, to 2nd woman, then
back to the “Umbrella”.

Repeat from new positions.
At the end of the fourth time through the “Umbrella”, carrying a raised umbrella,
dances round the inside of the set sheltering the laundry basket as it is moved round,
then dances off followed by the top woman who retains the basket then the other women
and the men in clockwise order round the set.

Devised by Angus Henry at very short notice as a ceilidh item, to represent a technically trying but
socially stimulating New Year’s Day working in the residents’ laundry at a NZ Summer School, and
inspired by people coming and going, looking for a chance to use the single washing machine and
dryer, wrestling with attempts to get the coin/token slots to work and to interpret their
dysfunctional warning lights, joking about sharing washing, and suggesting this dance to
commemorate the occasion, before getting their washing safely home in the rain. 1 January 2012.