Listen to Transit of Venus Arr. by Roland Clarke.
Country dance: longways duple minor
|A1||1 – 8||1st couple turn by the right hand, face up and cast one place. 2nd couple move up.|
|A2||1 – 8||1st couple turn by the left hand, face down and cast up one place. 2nd couple move down.|
|B1||1 – 4||1st couple lead down through their own 2nd couple and the next second couple [2nd couples move up]. Remain in the middle of the set.|
|5 – 8||Set or rigadoon, and cast up behind one couple into original second place.|
|B2||1 – 4||In original minor sets: 1st corner positions change places passing right shoulder [2nd man & 1st lady]. 2nd corner positions change places passing left shoulder [2nd lady & 1st man].|
|5 – 8||Repeat: 1st corner positions change places passing right shoulder [2nd man & 1st lady]. 2nd corner positions change places passing left shoulder [2nd lady & 1st man].|
Bride’s Favourite Collection of Two Hundred Country Dances. 1775.
This dance celebrates Captain Cook’s great scientific voyage of exploration aboard the Endeavour. In 1768, urged by the Royal Society, the British government decided to send an expedition to the newly discovered island of Tahiti to observe the transit of the planet Venus across the sun.
The Endeavour’s return to England was met by a flurry of press reports which highlighted the work of Joseph Banks, the wealthy, influential botanist who had accompanied Captain Cook. Whilst Cook himself continued with more voyages and was not in England to receive the accolades he deserved, Banks, the handsome and articulate scientist, noted member of the London salon scene, was feted by royalty and high society and proclaimed a hero of the Enlightenment. His charming aristocratic manner was like a magnet to the opposite sex .
It is quite possible the charming Joseph Banks inspired this dance.
The Brisbane-based dance group Kaleidoscope has an animation of the Transit of Venus which shows the basic pattern of the dance.
Visit them at http://www.dancekaleidoscope.org.au/dance.html#TransitOfVenus
British Maritime Museum. Journal for maritime research. A Scots Orpheus in the South Seas. http://www.jmr.nmm.ac.uk/server/show/nav.1360
Cook, James, The Journals of Captain James Cook on His Voyages of Discovery. Vol. I. The Voyage of the Endeavour, 1768-1771.
Cook’s Endeavour Journal, the inside story. National Library of Australia.
Keller, Kate Van Winkle. Copy of original from Bride’s Favourite Collection Of Two Hundred Country Dances. 1775.
National Library of Australia. Venus Fort, Erected by the Endeavour’s People to secure themselves during the Observation of the Transit of Venus, at Otaheite. By Samuel Middiman (1750-1831), after drawings by Sydney Parkinson and possibly Herman Diedrich Sporing. Engraved for inclusion as plate iv within Sydney Parkinson’s Journal of a Voyage to the South Seas…, London, 1773. Location: South Seas Digital Version