Mrs. Parker's Dance

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MRS. PARKER'S DANCE. Scottish, Country Dance Tune (2/4 time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. There was both a "Miss Parker" and a "Mrs. Parker," who were celebrated dancers and pantomime performers. The former, Nannette Parker (b. 1782 in London) was an actress, dancer and singer, who married Henry Erskine Johnston. She was educated in Edinburgh, where her father was proprietor of the Royal Circus (where she probably danced), but she also made London appearances at Sadler's Wells. At either age 15 or 16 she married Henry Erskine Johnston, an actor ('the Scottish Roscius') whom she met in Edinburgh, and were called the handsomest bride and groom 'ever seen in England.' She was a popular actress and was continuously employed in a number of important roles (as Mrs. Johnston), and sometimes performed with her husband on stage. The marriage lasted some 20 years, but Nannette eventually abandoned Johnston for a series of lovers and disappeared from the public record after 1820. She was reputedly one of the most beautiful women in Britain in her time, a good actress and better dancer, and a singer with a pleasing, if not strong, voice.

"Mrs. Parker" appears to have been Nannette's stepmother, who also danced at the Royal Circus. Watlen (in Celebrated Circus Tunes, 1798) mentions her in conjunction with "the celebrated Strathspey Minuet as danced by Mr. Lassells and Mrs. Parker at the Royal Circus, London and Edinburgh." In 1806 the Monthly Mirror, reporting on the Royal Circus, wrote: "Since our last and first notice, the stage exhibitions have been improved by the addition of a new dance called the 'Hibernian Reapers, or Harvest Home', in which Mrs. Parker distinguishes herself by a style of dancing full of ease, and productive of the most agreeable effect."

See also "Mrs. Parker’s Reel."

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Anderson (Anderson's Budget of Strathspeys, Reels & Country Dances), c. 1820; p. 2.

Recorded sources:

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