The 2016 Tour Saturday 24th December (Christmas Eve) Here's the timetable:
Christmas Eve and members understandable conflicting allegiances have an effect on the tour, not to mention that Worcester is devoid of people at our normal 4:00pm arrival time! So we will shorten the tour this year and get to Worcester at 2:30pm. After a last refreshment stop in town we'll be back at The Fox by 4:00pm. NB The departure time of 3:25 will be rigidly adhered to – stragglers be warned!
Fox Inn arrive 0800 , depart 0900
White Ladies Aston arrive 0930 depart 1015
Pershore arrive 1030 arrive depart 1145
Upton arrive 1215 depart 1330
Worcester 1400 arrive depart 1525
Fox Inn arrive back 1600
The normal complementary Original Welsh Border Christmas Dinner nosh mid-way through the day. Let me know if you have dietary requirement that does not include sausages, chips, bread and butter and, hopefully, Shoulder's pickled onions – other relevant culinary enhancements always welcome!
- On the tour day the pre-tour breakfast will be available from 8.00am at the Fox Inn, Wichenford – do note there will be no evening meals available at the Fox after the tour.
- The tour cost, collected on the coach, remains unchanged £8 which includes the traditional Clarke family mid-tour sustenance. Try and have your £8 ready for collection on the bus after the Pershore stop. Please let me know if you are veggie or vegan.
- Though it is probable there will be less pressure on getting seats on the coach this year they will still be allocated as usual on a first come first served basis. This letter is being emailed to those I have email addresses for. I will note and reply to seat requests from emails. If you are replying by post, I'll email a confirmation, if you receive this by hand and have no email please include a SAE for the reply that will say you have or have not got a seat – please don't assume you have one unless you get a reply from me. Apologies in advance if there's no room for you on the coach and you have to make alternative arrangements. If you are not coming on the tour please let me know if you want to remain on the mailing list. Keep me informed if you drop out at any stage too.
We are offering a navy blue Tee-shirt for £11 or all sizes – S, M, L, XL and XXL Sizes are explained on the order form below. These come with the full colour WBM Tour 2016 logo.
- The order will be sent by me on Monday 10th October, so orders and cheques to me by then. Bank Acc No and sort code available if you want to transfer money that way, just email me for details.
Members on 2013 Tour
|Robin Aitken||Peter George||Derek Phillips|
|David Arrowsmith ||Harrison Gold||Iain Pollard|
|Tony Ashley||Kevin Gold||Roger Price|
|John Barker||Richard Hannah||Paul Reece|
|Nic Brown ||Phil Heming||Josh Reynolds|
|Anthony Chesher||Pat Herlihy||Kalinowski, Robin|
|Gary Chilvers||Steve Holder||Clive Rowe|
|Dean Clarke||Bradley Hollick||Malcolm Sargent |
|Huw Clarke||Trevor Hughes||Fraser Simpson|
|Jonathan Cole||Lloyd Jemkins||Peter Simpson|
|Jonny Cope||Tim Kelsey||Richard Sinclair|
|Paul Cornish||Les Law||Matt Smallman|
|Pat Cunniffe||Anthony Lewis||John Stait|
|Jon Dickson||Richard Lewis||Graham Suffolk |
|Nigel Dunn||Steve Lowe||Jim Toft|
|Stan Dunnage||John Nicholas||Edward Ullathorne |
|Brian Eastwood||Joe Oldaker ||James Vessey|
|Mike Finn||Phil Packwood||Mike Walton|
|Keith Fox||Tony Parsons||Geoff Watkins|
|Keith Francis||Keir Paxton ||Glyn Watson|
Members on 2014 Tour
|Alan Whitbread|| ||Jim Toft|| ||Pat Herlihy|
|Barry Clews|| ||John Barker|| ||Paul Cornish|
|Bob Dummons|| ||John Nicholas|| ||Paul Reece|
|Brian Eastwood|| ||John Stait|| ||Peter Carpenter|
|David Arrowsmith|| ||John Whitaker|| ||Peter George |
|Dean Clarke|| ||Jon Dickson|| ||Peter Simpson|
|Derek Phillips|| ||Jonathan Cole || ||Phil Heming|
|Edward Ullathorne || ||Jonny Cope|| ||Phillip Pitt|
|Fraser Simpson|| ||Josh Reynolds|| ||Richard Hannah|
|Gary Chilvers|| ||Keith Fox|| ||Richard Sinclair|
|Geoff Pitt|| ||Keith Francis|| ||Robin Kalinowski|
|Geoff Watkins || ||Kevin Gold|| ||Roger Price |
|Glyn Watson|| ||Les Law|| ||Sam Cope|
|Graham Suffolk || ||Matt Smallman|| ||Steve Holder|
|Harrison Gold || ||Mike Finn|| ||Steve Lowe|
|Ian Davies|| ||Mike Walton|| ||Stuart Crompton |
|Ian Pollard|| ||Nic Brown|| ||Tim Kelsey |
|James vessey|| ||Pat Cunniffe || ||Trevor Hughes|
Members on 2015 Tour
• Black face,
• White shirt with rags or ribbons,
• Black breeches,
• Brown wool stockings, ( Tend to be green,lavender, hiking socks)
• Black shoes
• Dark (undecorated) trilby hat. (some decoration now accepted)
• The final arrangement was that the ribbons
would be 18 in number, each 1.5 inches by 12 inches.
• A turquoise sash and bellpads were added, and there is no stipulation on which shoulder the sash will be worn."
(From Scrap Book)
BROMSBERROW HEATH (Cock of the North)
8 men-single line/reel & nod/caper & stick/FASTER
4 men-single line/short sticks/Napping/HO! (ALL DANCE)
Arm swing/stars/swing & change.
MUCH WENLOCK (Jenny Lind)
6 man set short sticks -
Rounds (stick on shoulder)/cross & turn (elbow swing)/circular hey (bottom 4 face up, topscross, grand chain)
UPTON STICK6 man set/long sticks/
Upton step/Chorus: tips/butts 4 times always forehand/turn on spot-Morris/Allemande left/Allemande Right/3 Tops/Upton Hey/Morris
Two handed handkerchief throw from chest when moving/single hand when stillMorris/Allemande Right/Allemande Left/3 tops (twice)/Upton Hey (twice) (window cleaninghands)/Morris.CHANGE SET 45% around No.2 (who becomes 1)-/all again.
WHITE LADIES ASTON
8 man set reel on side ALWAYS FROM THE ORGINAL TOPS and nap.
Cross over & nap/tops down (pairs only)/Bottoms up ditto/Rounds at top-stick at bottom/dittoRounds at bottom etc/ Gay Hey from top -ALWAYS TURN LEFT AS A COUPLE AT TOP-notebottom 4 will not get back to place!) LISTEN TO THE CALL-FREE FORM!!!
(Keel Row?)8 man set
Stick: Tip/Butt/Tip/Butt/Pause/Pause/Pause/PauseCross Over/Bottoms up/Into line! Reels out from the middle
DILWYN (or LEOMINSTER, or even WEOBLEY?)(Not for Joe)
Long set/short! QUIET napping/LOUD napping
Cross over (side step across 7 steps and back TWICE! -odds in front)/Stars
EVESHAM STICK (FANNY FRAIL)
Everyone/double column/one stick one hanky!
Cross over/Cast/change hands/FANNY-circle anVclockwe (Rump a dump. a doodle dum aday)
This dance is called the Three handed reel, but is for six men in a single line, facing in pairs, 1 and 2, 3 and 4, 5 and 6.
The step is a walk for the reel and single capers for the stick clashing.
The sticks are long, held in the right hand over the right shoulder, military style, in the reel, and held in both hands for the striking.
The tune is normally the 'White Cockade', played somewhat faster for each evolution of the dance, but from 1975 to 1978, a tune from Bromsberrow Heath which is published in Bacon was used for the first two or three times through, changing to the 'White Cockade' for the last couple of cycles. This tune is now thought to belong to a stepped version of the dance, without sticks, which we have not attempted.
The dance starts with a reel of six to places, and then alternates the stick clashing with the reel until it finishes on the sticks. The reel starts with all passing right shoulders, and continues for eight bars when each man should he in his opposite position facing his partner, whom he acknowledges on the third beat of the eighth bar. The reel then continues for another eight bars to places.
The stick clashing is done with single capers, striking once per caper tie. twice per bar) alternately to the right and left with the tips, the stick held in both hands near the end.
After the dance has finished each man takes a step to his own left, and the set then walks round and off.
Although this dance is normally danced by four men in a single line, the WBMM have always done it as an eight man dance, except in 1979, when it was done as a four man dance.
The step is the normal border single step.
The sticks are short and held up when not in use. The tune depends on the musician. Practically any polka will do (the version of the Jenny Lind Polka printed in the EFDSS magazine (or Journal?) is from Bampton-in-the-Bush).
The figures are Once-to-yourself, Hoe, Napping, Set, Napping, Hoe, Napping, Hands around, Napping, Hoe, Napping, Rounds and off, although the Set figure was not used in 1979, and in that year the dance finished in the set, without the rounds and off.
(This was dancing it as a four man dance).The Once-to-yourself is stationary.
The Napping consists of nos 3, 4, 5 and 6 facing nos 1, 2, 7 and 8 respectively, and dancing on the spot while holding their sticks pointing upward at forty-five degrees at waist level (ie phallically) while the ends strike their neighbours sticks to right and left
[r l r . ] [r l r . ] [r l r . ] [r l r . ] [r l r . ] [r l r . ] [r l r . ] [r l r . ]
The Hoe consists of nos 3,'4, 5 and 6 dancing in position facing the end positions (as in the Napping) with their sticks held up in the right hand, while the ends dance round them in a figure of eight on their own sides , nos 1 and 2 passing through before nos 7 and 8. Eight bars.
The Set. All face across the set (up and down for a four man set), and sidestep to the right and left alternately as in a country dance balance, for eight bars
Hands around. Right hand star in fours tie nos 1, 2, 3 and 4, etc) for eight bars and back with the left for eight bars. When done in a four man set, the centre pair must take two steps backwards and out as the other two come in to make the star.
Rounds and off. Anti clockwise, led by no 1. 2 Sep 1982
"A dance from a traditional Black Faced Morris Side from this area is known by the Clee Hill Mummers. It consists of four men dancing alternately rounds and stick clashing, to Step dance tunes, and almost certainly with Step Dancing steps. Its origins are probably fairly close to the Westwood dance. There is also a dance similar to the Bromsberrow Heath dance but with
stepping instead of stick clashing from another village on the hill.
These two dances are taken entirely from Dommett, with some modifications whose source is not entirely clear (JB?). The origin of the hand movements in particular is obscure. These dances can be performed by any even no of men from six to about fourteen
Fanny Frail Stick Dance
The Tune is as published by Dommett (a relative of the 'Jenny Lind Polka', played a (oty) ababab...bccc...
The step is the Border single step (see Pershore), starting on the right foot.
The stick is short and held in the right hand except for the rounds, and a handkerchief is held in the left except for the rounds. The hand movements are a Chipping Campden-like arm swing starting with the right arm up as the right foot goes down, and continuing in time with the feet. The figures are chorus, spots, chorus, cross over, chorus, then any sequence of these two and single cast any number of times separated by chorus, finishing with .. chorus, rounds and off.
Once-to-yourself is stationary.
The chorus figure is Eight bars of stick tapping by the side on what started as the no 1 side who step against the sticks of the right hand side which are held 'erect' at waist level who stand still. This is 'Napping' from Brimfield, and is always done in the same geographical direction, such that after the cross over, the roles are switched.
The sticks are struck alternately forehand and backhand with the tips in the rhythm
[ f . b .] [ f b f .][ b . f .] [ b f b .] etc rh lh rh lh rh lh rh lh
FCMM have always danced this as normal stick tapping to the same rhythm with all men stepping.
Spots: Dance on the spot facing in.
Cross over : Cross right shoulders, a long way, turn after four bars and return to the wrong side - ie no cross back.
Single cast: nos 1 and 2 cast out on their own sides down the set and back up the middle followed by the rest of the set.
This figure restricts the size of the set to about fourteen men. This figure was introduced by the FCMM in about 1976.
Rounds and off: Usually called as 'Fanny Frail' to the 'Polly-Wolly-Doodle' part of the tune
Rounds danced anti-clockwise, change stick and handkerchief between hands so that the stick is in the left hand held out in the centre of the ring, while the handkerchief is waved on the outside of the circle. The left hand is not now doing the hand movements, although the right is. The leader of the set leads round and off, the appropriate part of the tune being played as often as required.
All sing 'Farewell, farewell,/ farewell my Fanny Frail,/ For I met my little Sally at the corner of the Alley,/ singing rump-a-dump-a-dumF-a-doodle-day'
Evesham Handkerchief Dance
This dance has never been found to be very satisfactory, and thus was not often performed. The tune is as published by Dommett, with the three parts being played for the three figures.
The hand movements until 1978 were as for the stick dance, as was the step, except that in the last two bars in each eight the dancers stand still and starting with the hands held together in front at waist level, push down twice on the first and third beats of the seventh bar, and continuing the movement from the second push down describe two circles with each hand at waist level, the right hand going anti-clockwise, the left going clockwise, finishing each with a downward push on the first and third beats of the eighth bar. Two handkerchiefs are used, one in each hand (as in every other handkerchief dance). The figures are - spots, cross over, half rounds, repeated ad nauseam, and are the same as in the stick dance except for the stop and down, down, round and round at the end of each. How the dance is to be finished is a problem that we have not yet solved to our satisfaction. To bring the hands up after the round, round while standing still is the obvious way; but is very flat. In 1978 Dave Jones taught a version where the music was played at double speed relative to the stepping, and the hand movements did not include the Chipping Campden swing, but this was never shown in public by the WBMM although Silurian may have danced it. In 1979 the dance was not performed at all.
This one dance has connections with Leominster, Dilwyn and Weobley, and seems to be known by any one, two or all three places names.This dance is for eight or any higher multiple of four dancers in a longways set. The tune used is the 'Not For Joe' tune collected by Sharp from John Locke of Leominster, and published with the dance.
The step is the normal border single step.
The figures are once-to-yourself, chorus, cross over, chorus, hands-around, chorus, cross over, chorus.
The dance has been finished by dancing rounds and off, but it is now normally finished in the set.
The chorus figure is stick tapping, standing still, tips forehand, for eight (1973-7) or sixteen (1978-9) bars. (t . t .it . t .It . t .It . t .It . t .It t .It . t .) t t t . I repeated If necessary.
Once-to yourself is stationary.
Cross over follows the track of a back to back, but all dancers face up the set and thus dance sideways. Across in fourbars, back in four bars, and then repeated, passing with the odd side above the even side going and evens above odds returning both times. Note that this is still done to the single step.
Hands around is a right hand star in fours for eight bars and back with the left. Sticks held out and up in free hand.
Rounds and off was danced anti clockwise, and led off by no 1.
The 1948 dance as performed by South Shropshire Morris Men, and after much badgering from Richard, now by us.
Short stick, simple napping (no fancy bits)
Morris (rounds)-stick on shoulder
Cross and turn (cross over, arm swing with left (free) arm with partner on way back)
Circular Hey (=grand chain, tops face, bottom 4 face up the set, tops cross and all do grand chain)
perhaps a star
Pershore Stick Dance 1973 -77
The handkerchief dance, although referred to by Dommett, has never been performed. The stick dance as performed in 1978 is so completely different from the dance as performed in all other years that it will be described separately. "Pershore Stick Dance1973-7
Tune is the 'Keel Row' played to roughly a polka rhythm.
The step is the standard Border Single step, with the feet picked up rather than kicked out as in Cotswold Morris, but not the Chipping Campden 'back-cycling' step.
The dance is for eight men in a longways set.
The sticks are short and usually held vertically when not in use. They are struck with the opposite on the third beat of the last bar in each figure.
The figures are - once-to-yourself, chorus, side-by-side, chorus, cross-over, chorus, hey, chorus, normally repeated from side-by-side to put the set the right way up. Each figure occupies 4 bars only.
The chorus figure is 4 bars in length, stepped throughout with sticks struck with partners - tips forehand on the first beat
of bars 1 and 2, and the third beat of bar 4, and butts forehand on the third beat of bars 1 and 2. [ t . b .] [t . b . ] [ . . . . ] [. . t . ] This was derived from Dommett saying that sticks were clashed for four bars and barring the 'Keel Row' tune as a fast jig, giving eight bars to the phrase rather than four. It is however a very distinctive movement.
Once-to-yourself is stationary, and sticks clashed tips with partner on third beat of last bar.
Side-by-side, described by Dommett as 'Half-hands' was danced in 1973-4 as left hand turn by the top three pairs once round while nos 7 and 8 danced up the outside of the set to the top position (not normally casting out). This was then recognised as a misreading and became move forward into a single line right shoulder to right shoulder as nos 7 and 8 dance
up the outside to top positions, and as 7 and 8 arrive 1-6 fall back to places. The second time through the same men will be in the positions 7 and 8 and will come up again, although 1-6 will be in inverse positions. Cross over, passing right shoulder, turn after 2 bars and come back not crossing again to finish on wrong side.
Hey: A half reel of four on each side on each side of the set, the men at the ends facing in and those in the two centre positions facing their nearest end to start, then passing right shoulder.
Back To The Camp
Pershore Stick Dance 1978
The tune, steps and sticks the same as above.
The figures are - Once-to-yourself, chorus, side-by-side, chorus, sticks, chorus, cross over, chorus. Men will change position in the set as the dance progresses and will not normally finish where they started.
The chorus figure occupies sixteen bars. The first four bars are stationary striking sticks with partner forehand all the time tips on the first beat of each bar and butts on the third beat of each bar, The next four are a hey from the bottom danced in progressive form as at Flamborough. Nos 1,3 and 5 face down, and no 7 faces up and starts the hey by passing right shoulder with no 5, and continues to the top. nos 3 and 1 dance on the spot until no7 reaches each man and then he starts, each moving only two changes, so that the end of the half hey has them in the order 7,5,1,3. The other side of the set does exactly the same led by no. 8. The next four bars are the same as the first four, with stick striking, and the last four are a half hey back to place led by nos 7 and 8 from the top in the same manner as before, leaving everybody in their own place. Side-by-side is the same as in other years, except that the two men in the bottom positions move to the top on all occasions. Four bars.
Sticks: The men in positions 1-6 strike with the opposite as in the chorus, while the two in positions 7 and 8 dance up the outside to the top positions.
Cross over- Bar 1 - cross passing right shoulder, bar 2 - turn to right to face, bar 3 cross back passing right shoulders, bar 4 turn to face.
Four bars. (This is basically half a Cotswold whole gyp.)
Back To The Camp
Pershore Handkerchief Dance
This has never been danced in public, although it was attempted in practice once or twice. It is described by Dommett as the stick dance with stepping on the spot with handkerchiefs waved in circles over the head (Longborough style) instead
of stick tapping.
The original source for this and all the other traditions is Roy Dommett's 'Other Morris' notes. In the case of Upton however, the FCMM were inspired to start the tradition by seeing the Albion Morris doing the stick dance clearly incorrectly. John Aston saw and spoke with Mrs. Hill in Upton in 1972-3 and she saw the WBMM dance at Upton in
1973, She could remember very little detail, but did imply that the rounds or 'morris' figure was done anti clockwise. Miss Karpeles, who collected the dance originally replied to John that if she had seen this she would certainly have noted it, so apparently they were clockwise on that occasion. The various versions of these dances are therefore simply various points between the Albion (Peter Boyce) version and Dommett's notes.
Both dances are for six men in a longways set.
Upton Stick Dance
Originally exactly as FCMM danced it at the time, but several changes have been made. The tune was Karpeles' from Labrador or wherever, but 'The Girl I Left Behind Me' was used from about 1974. Various versions of this come from different musicians, but only Richard Lewis has a specially worked up version for this dance. It is normally played a (oty) abbabb.. or abaaba...aba.
The step is the well known double step with the free leg swinging across except where stated.
The start is always on the right foot except in Sides (qv).
The sticks are normally held at the trail, and are clashed with the opposite on the first beat of each figure and except in 1973-5 the first beat of the turn after the stick clashing in the chorus.
The chorus figure is 8 bars stick tapping with stepping, followed by 8 bars stepping. Originally sticks were tapped twice per bar on beats 1 and 3 and the stepping was single step, but from 1977 this was changed with reference to Bacon's Book to tapping once per bar on the first beat only and the full Upton double step with swing across.
The 8 bars of stepping was originally 4 steps in a circle to the right and 4 on the spot facing partner, but in 1974 was changed to a left turn. In 1976 it became 2 steps turn to the left on the spot and 6 steps facing.
Once to yourself is stationary facing in (not up) in this and all Welsh Border dances except the Pershore stick dance.
Figures are morris, chorus, allemand rt, chorus, allemand lt, chorus, three tops, chorus, sides, chorus, morris and all in.
The names of the figures are apparently traditional.
Morris is rounds walked clockwise in 8 bars until 1978 then danced.
Allemand is a back to back danced in 4 bars, forward in 1 bar, then round and back, and 4 bars step in place, passing right shoulder first time, and left the second.
Three tops is a whole hey for three at the ends of the set, started by nos 3 and 4 going out to their respective rights between the ends, who must dance the first step in place, sideways or even backwards.
Sides is a whole hey on the sides. 1 and 2 face down, rest up. Nos 5 and 6 dance one step out ie. sideways) then one step in then go up between nos 1 and 2, nos 3 and 4 dance one step out then go up outside 1 and 2 who come straight in and start down the centre. For this figure the swing across in the double step is normally omitted.
‘Morris and all in’ is rounds danced clockwise with 4 plain capers in a small circle to the dancers left and into the centre in the last 2 bars with a shout of (normally) 'Upton', except in 1978 only when the 4 capers were omitted and the dance finished with a single caper into the centre and a shout.
Upton Handkerchief Dance
This consists basically of the figures of the stick dance with the addition of the change set figure.
The tune used is the 'Bonnets so Blue' collected with the Evesham handkerchief dance and published by Dommett, played either cababababa..abc or cabcabcabc...abc.
The figures are Morris, allemand rt, allemand lt, three tops danced twice, sides danced twice,change set, allemand rt, allemand lt, three tops danced twice, sides danced twice, morris and all in.
The hand movements from 1973 to 1977 were a swing down on the beat from a position with the hands together (sometimes actually crossed but this was not taught) below the chin to the sides at hip level. In 1978 the hand movements were Bampton flicks very much in the style of modern Bampton sides from above the head to a position with the hands together at waist level, with the pull down on the beat, done with both hands while travelling, but alternately with right and left hands when dancing on the spot tie the last 6 steps in the change set and the last 4 in the allemand). In 1979 it became a more open swing from above the head down to the sides, and the single hand movements in the change set and the allemand were abandoned in favour of the two handed movement. This series of movements was not used in the sides figure at all (qv) or in the change set until 1978. When the Morris figure was walked the arms were swung naturally as
when walking normally. The figures were the same as and evolved in parallel with the Stick dance, with the addition of thechange set, and, of course, hand movements.
Morris: as stick dance.
Allemand: as stick dance. The hand movements were single (r, l, r, l ) in 1978 only.
Three tops: as stick dance. Normal stepping and hand movements.
Sides: as stick dance. The swing in the step is normally omitted. The hand movements are alternate waves at shoulder level to left first (1,3 and 5) or right first (2,4 and 6) until about 1976 then large circles similar similarly forward and down (Bledington direction). These circles should be towards ones partner as one moves towards him in the hey and away as one moves away from him.
Change set: This figure has suffered a lot of reinterpretation over the years. Until 1978 it was danced by the men moving forward into a fairly tight circle on the first couple of steps, dancing in position until nearly the end of the phrase and then falling back into new positions. These new positions are the result of each man taking the position to the right of his original position in the set, and rotating the set through ninety degrees clockwise. the number changes are 1-3, 3-5, 5-6, 6-4, 4-2, 2-1: thus the original number 2 is now in the number one position, and the music (if it hasn't moved) is behind the line of nos 2, 1 and 3. The hand movements were a figure of eight described horizontally at waist level by both hands held together in front of the body, moving to the right first, and the step was a single step, with no swing across. This originated from FCMM and the Silurian men normally danced the figure similarly except that the set only rotated through
forty-five degrees, which makes it very difficult to hold the set in the new position. In 1978 it was danced largely as the second half of the chorus of the stick dance, with two double and six single hand movements as described above, and the normal swing double step. The men all turned to their left and by turning between three-quarters of a turn and one and a quarter gained their new positions in the set rotated through forty-five degrees in two double steps, and then danced in their new positions for six steps. In 1979 it reverted to the contemporary method of FCMM, with the normal hand movement tie as in the rest of the dance), and the normal swing double step, the men moving into a circle at the beginning of the phrase and falling back into the new positions at the end, with the set rotated through ninety degrees.
Three Tops and Sides are then repeated from the new positions (with the original no 2 in the top position for the sides figure).
Morris and all in as in the Stick dance. This rounds should be moved round with as much vigour and speed as possible.
A dance exists from here, but we have never tried it. It is a reel for three men with sticks
White Ladies Aston
The dance is for a longways set of eight men.
The tune depends largely on the musicians. The 'Good Ship Sails on the Aly-Ally-O' tune which is published with the dance in Bacon is normally used by everybody, but the sources suggest that a different tune is played for each figure. A second tune from the tradition is known and used by some people. The regular Silurian musicians, have a set of tunes for the dance in which the 'Good Ship Sails' is used for the chorus, the other White Ladies Aston tune for the first figure, and various polkas, including a tune from the record 'Rattlebone and Ploughjack' which is there described as being the 'Three-handed Reel' from Bromsberrow Heath (qv), 'Here comes the Muffin Man', 'D'ye Ken John Peel', for all remaining figures.
The step is the normal Border single step
The sticks are short and held vertically at chest level when not in use.
The sequence of figures is not fixed, and depends on the leader, except that the dance starts with Once-to-youself and a chorus, a chorus follows each figure and the dance finishes with a chorus. However normally in 1978, and when led by a Silurian man the first figure was the linked hey, while in 1979, and when led by a FCMM man, the first figure was rounds at the ends, and the last figure was the linked hey
Figures regularly used are - Rounds at the ends, cross over, linked hey, processional down, and others not normally performed but available are Processional up, Half rounds, Partners swing.
The chorus figure is a progressive hey on the sides led from the top (as in Pershore but led started by nos 1 and 2) (four bars), stick tapping with partner (tips forehand) on the first and third beats of each bar with stepping (four bars), repeated to place giving sixteen bars in all. The second hey is led by the same person as the first. Once-to-yourself is stationary.
Rounds at the ends. Nos 1, 2, 3 and 4 dance round in their own half of the set anticlockwise in 1978, clockwise in 1979, while nos 5-8 continue stick tapping as in the chorus, for eight bars. Then nos 5-8 dance rounds while nos 1-4 tap sticks.
Each rounds usually goes round about three times.
Cross over. Cross passing right shoulders turn after two bars, back to wrong side of set (two bars), tap sticks as in chorus
(four bars), repeat back to place.
Processional down. All step on the spot throughout the figure.
Nos 1 and 2 dance down the middle of the set (two bars)and back to place (backwards) (two bars).
Nos 3 and 4 process down and back. Nos 5 and 6 process down and back.
Nos7 and 8 process down (away from the set) and back.
Linked Hey, Variously called as hey in couples or gay hey (gey hey?). All face up and put nearest arm over partners shoulder (sticks changing hands where necessary). Top couple start by turning left to face down then pass right shoulders with next pair to perform a whole progressive hey of the same pattern as in the chorus. As each pair reaches the end of the set it turns round to the left before passing right shoulder to continue. It finishes slightly before nos 5-8 reach their home positions, such that they stop in positions 7, 8, 6, 5 respectively. These men dance the rest of the dance from these
positions. nos 7 and 8 and dancing up the set.
Processional up is the same as the processional down but started by Half rounds. The whole set dances half rounds (in the same direction as in rounds at the ends) in four bars, taps sticks for four bars (as in cross over), then dances the rest of the rounds (four bars) and taps sticks in the last four bars. Partners swing with linked elbows, right for eight bars and then left for eight bars.
Yet further figures are described in Bacon and Dommett, many of which come from different collectors versions.
* Many theories have been proposed as to the origins of the Morris. The commonest theory is that it is a remnant of pre-Christian druidical fertility rites, and used to be danced in midwinter to ensure the return of the sun after the winter solstice and in spring to ensure that the corn fields would grow and flourish. There are many factors which appear to prove this theory:
1. To this day the Morris is still traditionally performed at Christmas time, and at dawn on May 1st.
2. The connection between fertility and the long, thick and hard sticks used by Morris dancers is obvious.
3. There continues to be an unshakeable association between the Morris and the mighty Barleycorn (in the form of partaking of the fermented extract thereof).
4. Because the Morris has continued to be danced throughout the centuries, the sun has continued to return every spring, and the corn harvest to thrive every summer. That the sun has returned and the corn grown every year is beyond doubt, so this is regarded as the most incontrovertible proof of the power of the Morris.
* Another theory has it that Morris dancing was in fact only invented recently by a certain Cecil Sharp, Esq., on Boxing Day 1899, when he came across a group of itinerant quarrymen, and taught them a some simple exercises to help them keep warm.
* However, recent research has revealed the true origins of the Morris dance. It is now accepted that Border Morris, which comes from the English counties along the border between England and Wales, is in fact the oldest form. It is also the simplest and most violent, involving loud yells and beating the hell out of each other with stout sticks. It derives from a ritual display as performed by the English when any Welshmen dared to venture across the border. The English, being in those days by nature xenophobic, devised the dance to illustrate to the Welshmen what they should expect if they were to venture any further. This can be compared with the posturing of other species of wild animals, in which the animals rarely actually fight with each other, but simply try to frighten each other off by putting on the fiercest display. This also explains the outlandish appearance of Border Morris dancers, and the blacked faces used as a disguise to make themselves harder to recognise at any subsequent police identity parade.
* The reason that the Morris developed along the Welsh border first, rather than the Scottish border, was simply that it was not necessary because of Hadrian's Wall. However as the wall fell into disrepair, the Morris also developed in the north of England to compensate, but being developed later, was somewhat more subtle. The warning to potential invaders from Scotland wearing kilts is obvious when you consider that Morris dancing in the north is either performed in heavy wooden clogs involving a lot of high kicking, or involves the use of swords. These days, Morris dancing is still uniquely English, but is now performed to entertain rather than to frighten.
* Having started from humble beginnings in 1991, the Hook Eagle Morris Men perform dances in the Border Morris style, and have had such meteoric success that we are now universally regarded as being simply the best men's Border Morris side in all Hampshire. By a strange twist of coincidences, we are also the only men's Border Morris side in all Hampshire.