Back4-Couple Dances




4 Couples:  General

Celebration Dance        Print this dance

Dance: Pam Warren, 1988.

Format: 4 couples longways

Music: 4 x 32-bar reels   (for instance, “Twelve Reel” on the “Callers' Choice” recording)

A1:Top two men change places with bottom two ladies.  Top two ladies change with bottom two men.
A2:In fours, circle left 1½ (6 bars); two-hand turn partner rapidly.  (All on original side, with the set inverted.)
B1:First couple lead up the middle, cast back to bottom place and make a two-hand arch.
B2:The other three couples face down, dance under the arch, divide and cast up to new places (standard progression).

Repeat the whole dance three times more.

First published in English Dance and Song, Autumn 1991.  Composed for the wedding of Geraldine and Paul Maitland-Edwards, 25th June 1988.

Pam is well-known in Essex as a caller of Playford, Country, Maypole and Barn Dances.  She started the Hatfield Peverel Folk Dance Club in 1967 with two friends, and has been calling ever since.

Emma's Waltz        Emma's Waltz: Music in PDF, MIDI and ABC formatPrint this danceRecordings

Format: 4 couples longways.     Dance: Colin Hume, 2009.  Music: Brian Stone.

A1:In fours, first corners give right hands, balance forward and back; box the gnat, and keep hold while the others join in.  Right-hand star.
A2:Second corners the same left (swat the flea).  Left-hand star into…
B1:(16 bars): All eight single file anti-clockwise half-way, to finish proper in the order 3, 4, 1, 2.  Join hands in lines, set right and left; turn single.
 Middles cross with partner, go round one person to end place — ends lead in on bars 3 and 4.  All two-hand turn partner once around.  (4i, 3, 2, 1i)
B2:First long corners (top lady and bottom man) cross giving right hand to partner, left on the left diagonal; right across, left on the left diagonal (with each other).
 New first long corners (the partners of the previous people) do the same move: right across, left on the left diagonal; right across, left on the left diagonal (with each other).

Emma DarbyProgressed position is 3, 1, 4, 2.  Repeat the dance three more times.

The dance and music were written for Emma Darby (now Emma Wooders), whom I met as a dancer, caller and musician at The Round in Cambridge — she led the band whenever there was a request for live music, which there was whenever I was calling.

People seem to have trouble with taking the stars once around, and doing a two-hand turn once around, presumably feeling safer if they finish on their original side.

The zig-zags in B2 are always started by the people in first long corner position.  For the second zig-zag I can't say “Top man and bottom lady”, because there are two of each: just be aware that if your partner started the first zig-zag you will start the second — in fact you're chasing your partner along the same track.  I often demonstrate that if the ends do a proper right-hand turn half-way it's obvious who is facing into the set and will therefore be doing the zig-zag.

The tune has been recorded 4 times through by Skylark on their CD “Spreading Our Wings”.

Felicity        Felicity: Music in PDF, MIDI and ABC formatPrint this danceRecordings

Format: 4 couples longways.     Dance: Colin Hume.  Music: Dave Brown. 2002.

A:First lady, fourth man cast right shoulder (their neighbours move right into their place); middles gipsy right half-way with new opposite.  Middles right-hand star while ends give right hand, balance forward and back; box the gnat — all now improper.
B:First man, fourth lady cast right shoulder (their neighbours move right into their place); middles gipsy right half-way with partner.  Middles right-hand star while ends give right hand, balance forward and back; box the gnat — all now proper in the order 2, 1, 4, 3.
C:All back-to-back partner.  Circle left half-way.
D:Ends give right hand to partner to start four changes of a grand chain — middles only do three changes.  All two-hand turn partner.

Progressed position is 2, 4, 1, 3.  Repeat the dance three more times.

I suggest the the middles fall back a little further after the back-to-back to make a good circle, keep the circle shape for the grand chain (which is a circular movement), and then the middles move in for the final two-hand turn.  Four bars of waltz time for the turn is plenty, and I don't believe people necessarily have to have hands joined at the start of the first bar.

The dance and music were written for Dave Brown's niece Felicity Bird.  The tune is recorded 8 times through on Dave's CD “Outside of the Square”, DB003CD, but people found that a little fast for the dance so he's re-recorded it (4 times through) on “Connections”, DB004CD. You can also download it in MP3 format at http://www.dlbmusic.org.uk/downloads/mp3/felicity.mp3.

Buy one or both of the CDs.

MacHinery's Reel        Print this dance

Format: 4 couples longways.  Date unknown.

Dance: Bill Kinsman.  Music: 4 x 48-bar Scottish reels.

A1:Ladies join hands and dance around the men, led by the first lady.
A2:Men dance round the ladies.
B1:On the left diagonal (top three ladies, bottom three men) set; cross over.  The same on the right diagonal.   [All the men are now at the top and all the ladies at the bottom.]
B2:Men left-hand star while ladies right-hand star.  And back.
C1:First man pick up his partner into a star promenade, followed by the others as they meet, and after going once around the ones lead to the bottom followed by the others.
C2:Ones arch, the others lead under the arch and cast up to progressed places (standard progression). All swing partner.

Repeat the whole dance three times more.

Bill saw a display team dancing “Sir Murdoch MacDonald's Strathspey”, liked the dance, and tried to remember it when he got home!  This is what he came up with — I certainly prefer it to the original.

The Queen of Moravia        The Queen of Moravia: Music in PDF, MIDI and ABC formatThe Queen of Moravia (2 parts): Music in PDF, MIDI and ABC formatMoravia x 4: Music in PDF, MIDI and ABC formatPrint this dance

Dance and Music: Colin Hume, 2011.

Format: 4 couples longways

A1:First lady cast to the bottom (other ladies move up), give an inviting look to the bottom man (4th).  Swing him.
A2:All circle left half-way.  Give left hand to opposite: balance forward and back; swat the flea (change places turning the lady under).
B1:On the right diagonal, those who can do-si-do original partner.  First lady (who has been left out) swing the man below her (3rd) to finish in second place (his opposite lady move up the outside).
B2:At each end, right-hand star ¾.  Middles left-hand star ¾.
C1:All circle right just over half-way until all proper: men are 2, 1, 3, 4, ladies 2, 3, 4, 1.  Lines forward and back.
C2:First lady cast up to the top (other ladies move down), give an inviting look to the top man (2nd).  Swing him.
D1:Top couple cast one place, lead down through the next, cast to the bottom, the others following (casting when they reach the top except for the final couple) to finish with the set inverted.
D2:First lady move up to meet her original partner (his opposite lady move down the outside); step right and curtsey to him.  All swing original partner.
  Progressed position is 4, 3, 1, 2.

Click to play videoVicky BursaPeople will find the three-quarter stars tricky, so it might be worth pointing out at the start of the right-hand stars that the top man and bottom lady lead from those to the middle star, followed by their neighbour, and the second star finishes with those four people improper.  If you take a full eight steps for each star, the second star should flow into the circle right.

Commissioned by Alan James as a birthday present for his wife Vicky Bursa, who comes from the city of Ostrava in the area of Moravia in the Czech Republic.  Vicky is an energetic dancer who likes swinging lots of men — but I made sure she got back to Alan for the final one!  Click the image on the right to see a video of it being danced in Vicky and Alan's garden.

Probably the best-known music related to the area is Antonín Dvořák's Slavonic Dances, Opus 46.  I took the first as a starting point, converted it from triple time and hacked it about to produce my own tune.  Alan also wanted a MIDI version to present to Vicky, and you will find that by clicking the second music button above — we used it in the video.  Alan says the only problem is that he has now commissioned a work of art, and this is damaging to his street cred.

Round Hill Wedding        Round Hill Wedding: Music in PDF, MIDI and ABC formatPrint this danceRecordings

Format: 4 couples longways, 1 and 3 improper.

Dance and Music: Colin Hume, 1997.  The tune is in waltz-time.

A:In fours, right-hand star.  Ladies cast out, men keep turning and pull by into half a hey across (the second change is passing partner left shoulder), ending where your same-sex opposite started — don't overshoot.
B:New middles (original ends) right-hand star.  Men cast out, ladies pull by into half a hey (passing partner left shoulder), ending 2 improper, 4, 1 improper, 3.
C:Middles face the ends: gipsy right with neighbour.  All gipsy left with partner (plenty of time for both these moves).
D:On the right diagonal: those who can, cross right shoulder (same sex); on the left diagonal: those who can, cross left shoulder.  All that again, ending 3 improper, 1, 4 improper, 2.

Written for the wedding of Albert Blank and Nancy DeVore, September 1997.  I was dancing at Pinewoods — in Massachusetts on the East Coast — for two weeks run by CDSS.  The Country Dance and Song Society started out as the American branch of EFDSS, but in true American style have now become independent.  English Week was first.  Having heard what Ruth Anne Fraley had done with “Star of David”, I decided I should make some money for CDSS by putting into the auction “A dance and tune to your specification”.  The bidding was ridiculously high, and afterwards Albert and Nancy explained that they wanted a dance for their wedding, in waltz time, celebrating the dance community which had brought them together rather than being a solo display for one couple.  The auction was on the Wednesday evening, and on the Saturday I called the dance.  A few weeks later Gene Murrow called it at their wedding dance, with Bare Necessities playing the music.

Save the House!        Save the House!: Music in PDF, MIDI and ABC formatPrint this danceRecordings

Format: 4 couples longways.     Dance and Music: Colin Hume, 1998.

A1:Ones and threes cross, go down outside one couple while the others move up.  All do-si-do partner, those on men's side arching on the way over, the others arching on the way back.
A2:In fours, circle left once.  All eight circle left half-way.  [Make sure you finish opposite your partner.]
B:All face down and cast up from the bottom.  Leading couple arch at the top, the others come up the outside and lead down through the arch.
C:New ones and threes half figure eight down through the couple below.  All cross-hand swing partner.
All danced to a step-hop.

Cecil Sharp House was opened in 1930 as a centre for English Folk Dance, Music and Song, and as a memorial to Cecil Sharp.  It is also the headquarters of the English Folk Dance and Song Society.  The National Executive Committee of that Society decided in November 1986 that the House would have to be sold to pay the Society's debts.  An organisation called “The Friends of Cecil Sharp House” was formed to help the Society by raising money to keep the House open, but it soon became apparent that some NEC members were determined to close the building regardless of the facts of the situation.

“Save the House!” was an immediate response to the decision to close the building — I wanted to write a dance which I could sell to raise money for the Friends, and the title contributes the underlying rhythm to much of the tune.  The dance is lively and not particularly difficult, though as often happens in my dances the little “differences” have been known to confuse people.

A record called “Cecil Sharp House” was published by the Friends in 1988.  As well as this dance, it contained my complicated Playford-style square “Cecil Sharp House” and the wind quintet version of one of my best-known dances, “Unrequited Love”.

Sicilienne        Sicilienne: Music in PDF, MIDI and ABC formatPrint this dance

Dance: Colin Hume, 2004.  Music: Gabriel Fauré: the start of his Sicilienne.  Waltz time.

Format: Four couples longways

A1:(16 bars): Ends cross and cast to the middle; middles lead to the end, ones lead down through fours who move up.  New ends gate the middles all the way.
 All circle left half-way.  Ends half figure eight through the middles.  [3, 1, 4, 2]
A2:All that again (threes leading down through the twos). [4, 3, 2, 1]
B1:Top couple cross down through the next and behind the next (they move/lead up).  At the bottom, right-hand star half-way; turn single left.
B2:All that again.  [2, 1i, 4i, 3]
C1:At each end balance in a ring of four; single file left half-way in same fours.  Middles the same but go right.
C2:At each end the same, going left.  All balance with partner; two-hand turn half-way.  [3, 1, 4, 2]

I love this music, so eventually I decided to put a dance to it.  Warning to flautists — it's slower than Fauré wrote it, so it's a real test of breath control.

A Trip to Sweden        A Trip to Sweden: Music in PDF, MIDI and ABC formatPrint this danceRecordings

Dance and Music: Colin Hume, 1990.        Each line of music is six bars long.

Format: Four couples longways

A1:Ladies' line take hands and dance under an arch made by the top two men, behind the second and third men, and in under an arch made by the bottom two men, to place.
A2:Men's line dance under an arch made by the top two ladies, behind, and out under the bottom arch.
B1:Middle two couples circle left three quarters and then two-hand turn partner (the twos turn one and a quarter, the threes turn three quarters) while end couples two-hand turn (the ones turn one and a quarter, the fours turn one and three quarters) to finish in a double right-hand star, ladies in the middle.
B2:Star promenade all the way round — then the middle ladies keep right hands joined and the ends start to turn as a couple (man backwards, lady forwards), finishing in original places with the ones improper.
C1:While the ends finish their turn, the middle two couples weather-vane half-way and move forward to meet an end couple (2's meet 4's, 3's meet 1's), forming two weather-vanes which go all the way round, and finishing in a longways set (1's and 2's improper) facing the other couple from the weather-vane.
C2:Polka one and a half times round that couple, finishing on your original side.

By “weather-vane” I mean a right-hand turn as couples — ladies giving right hands and men on the outside.  Progressed position is 3-1-4-2.

Dedicated to the band Wild Thyme and the Apertins Herrgård Dancers, both of whom performed it at the Eastbourne International Folk Festival and on a tour of Sweden in 1990.

Ron Mears gave me the idea for writing the dance, so I asked him what he considered typical Swedish figures.  He suggested a double star, lines weaving in and out of each other, and a basket where the ladies sit on the men's hands.  Aren't you glad I left that one out?  The tricky bit is timing the two-hand turns so that all four ladies arrive in the centre at the same time to form the double star for B2.  As I hope you can tell from the music, the whole thing is intended to be danced with a polka step.  My contribution to International Dance!  I asked the display team whether they thought it was Swedish, and they said no.  But they agreed it wasn't English.

Waltzing on Ice        Waltzing on Ice: Music in PDF, MIDI and ABC formatPrint this dance

Music and Dance: Colin Hume, 2008-2012.

Format: Four couples longways

A:First lady cast down, third man cast up, partners follow, to finish improper in third and first place, and stay facing that way.  Star with the couple below — ones left, threes right.
B:Men keep hold but pick up shadow as you meet (1M 2L then 3M 4L, 4M 3L, 2M 1L) so ladies go to the other star.  Bottom men (1 and 4) let go, first man and his shadow join the top star, keep going round, fourth man and his shadow join as first man and his shadow get to the top, so those two ladies (2 and 3) take right hands, and the double star stops rotating.
C:Middle ladies half right-hand turn, half left-hand turn with the man they meet, men right-hand star ¼ to meet partner in a cross formation.  Gipsy left, men keep turning left to a double left-hand star with the men in middle and the fours facing down.
D:Take the star round till the fours are at the bottom, then they lead up the middle followed by threes, ones, twos (6 bars); all step right and honour partner.

I wrote the tune in 2008 but didn't put a dance to it until 2011.  I tried it a couple of times but wasn't happy with the second half, so in 2012 I completely changed the second half and now I'm satisfied.  You'll need a good band to play it though!


4 Couples:  Playford-style

Cascade        Cascade: Music in PDF, MIDI and ABC formatCascade: Piano Score: Music in PDF, MIDI and ABC formatPrint this danceRecordings

Dance and Music: Colin Hume, 1986.

Format: Four couples longways

 The first part of the dance is in canon, though only the ones do the set at the end of it.
A1:(12 bars)  Ones cross and face (1 bar), back away (1 bar); wide cast to finish level with twos while twos start.  Down the outside until level with the fours while threes start; meet below the fours while they start and lead up through them just as they cross.  Ones lead home; ones set as the twos lead home.
A2:Top two couples circle left half-way as the threes lead home; middles (ones and threes) lead neighbour out (1 bar) and turn away from each other onto the ends of lines across (1 bar) as the fours lead home to become the middle of the lower line.  Set in lines moving forward; turn single in place.  Two-hand turn opposite (shadow) (3 bars), fall back (1 bar).
B:Ends lead in, pass through, separate and cast to top or bottom while middles lead partner out, change hands, lead back (4).  Bottom two couples circle left half-way (now in original order with ones and threes improper); threes cast up as twos lead down.
C:Ones start four changes of a progressive circular hey with hands, one change per bar: ones cross right, ones cross left with threes; ones cross right with twos as threes cross right with partner, ones cross left with fours as threes cross left with twos.  All right-hand turn partner, finishing close together (3 bars), fall back (1 bar).
 Standard progression.
 Instead of falling back the last time, step back on the left foot, step right and honour partner.
Step throughout  Right, pause, Left Right;  Left, pause, Left, Right.

First published in the Packington's Pound collection, 1989, and recorded by Wild Thyme.

Butterfly Wings        Butterfly Wings: Music in PDF, MIDI and ABC formatPrint this dance

Dance: Anne Welch, 1995.  Tune: “Bellows & Bows” by Fred Grimshaw

Format: Four couples longways, 2 & 4 improper

A1:Lines forward and back.  Middles gate through the nearer end.
A2:Ends hand the middles into double figures of eight: ends cast to start, middles cross going through them.
B:Cast from the ends — ends meet opposite and make a single-handed arch (1st man with 4th lady, 4th man with 1st lady), middles meet neighbour, lead under the arch, and lead partner to nearer end.
C:All two-hand turn 1½ the one you've got (new ends with partner, new middles with neighbour).  All back-to-back partner.
Progressed position is 2-4-1-3.

In 1995 the Beckenham and Croydon Folk Dance Club ran their second “Dance Search” competition with me adjudicating.  The first prize went to Anne Welch for “Butterfly Wings”.  The composers had the option of calling their own dance, nominating someone to call it, or letting one of the club callers call it.  I knew that Anne was one of the club callers, and it never occurred to me that it was her own dance.  She called it superbly, and I found it the hit of the evening.  Of course, dances are a matter of personal taste, but here it is so you can judge for yourselves.

Anne Welch started dancing in 1985, through working in a school, and decided she would like to take it up for herself.  She started dancing regularly at Beckenham, and in 1982 was encouraged by Joan Cornish to call a couple of dances during club nights — gradually it went up to half an evening and then a whole evening.  She has never considered herself a dance writer, though she has written some simple barn dance material, some of which can be found in the booklets which go with the “Ring o' Bells” cassettes.  This is her first quality dance, and came about because Fred Grimshaw wrote the tune for her and she felt it deserved a dance.  In 2007 Anne moved up to Sheffield, and the people in that area soon found out that they had another excellent caller in their midst.

For Colin: A Dance with a Difference        For Colin: A Dance with a Difference: Music in PDF, MIDI and ABC formatPrint this dance

Dance by Julian Hill.  Music by Eileen Muscroft.  2004.

4 couple longways, 1st couple on centre line man at top, lady at bottom       32 bar x 4

A11-2While 1st & 3rd couple set forward to centre, 2nd & 4th couple set backwards on the diagonal
 3-41st & 3rd couples ½ left hand star (plus a bit)
 5-8All back to back right shoulder on diagonal corner (always same person)
 
A21-4Interlocking ½ diagonal reels of four — begin right shoulder and make left hand stars in middle
 5-8While 1st & 3rd couples continue for another ½ star and face up (improper) others cloverleaf turn to become ends of lines (tops up and away — bottoms down and away)       All face up
 
B11-8Full single cast (to these places — noting whether you are an odd or even position)
 
B21-4In 4's tops (odds) casting ½ double figure eight
 5-8All face in, lines fall back and come forward moving ½ place left to reform set

This is the first tune Eileen has ever written.  She called the dance at my 60th birthday party dance while Julian stood around looking very nervous.

Gambols        The Shepherd and Shepherdess: Music in PDF, MIDI and ABC formatAdded 5-Jan-16Print this dance

Dance: Jenna Simpson, 2011/2014.
Music: “Shepherd and Shepherdess”: Thompson, 1799.

Format: Four couples longways

A1:Top lady bottom man cast one place followed by partner to finish improper while middles half poussette (clockwise) to nearer end.  New middles single file to the right (anticlockwise).
A2:All that again from new positions.  [All home but improper.]
B1:All circle right.  Circle left.
B2:Middle men down, ladies up and acting as a unit: half heys for three across at the ends, all finishing proper.  All two-hand turn partner, then pull right shoulder back to form lines facing out.
C1:Lead away; fall back and bend the line.  In fours circle left, then pull right shoulder back to form lines facing up or down.
C2:Lead away; fall back and bend the line.  In fours circle left half-way; cross right with partner.
Progressed position is 3-1-4-2.

Click to play videoJenna SimpsonJenna Simpson is a dancer, caller, and choreographer currently residing in Williamsburg, Virginia.  She joined the dance community as a way to meet people after moving across the country, and was hooked from the very first step.  She began participating in English country dance in 2005, and soon found herself interested in choreography and the technical elements that make a dance both interesting and enjoyable.  She was first able to introduce her work to a wider audience upon attending a choreographers' class at Pinewoods English Week in 2010, and her dance “Banish Misfortune” was published in the CDSS News shortly thereafter.  In the “real world” Jenna has recently completed her PhD in American Studies at the College of William & Mary and works in the photo archive at Colonial Williamsburg.

The tune comes from Thompson's Twenty-Four Country Dances for the Year 1799, and Jenna was inspired to write this dance by hearing the recording by Boldwood on their album “Feet, don't fail me now”, though it needs to be slowed down for dancing.  She loves Boldwood (though alas, only from afar), and their recordings have inspired a number of her dances.  Click the image on the right to see it performed to the recording.

Helena        Helena: Music in PDF, MIDI and ABC formatPrint this danceRecordings

Dance and Music: Colin Hume, 1988.

Format: Four couples longways

A1:Up a double and back.  Set to partner; two-hand turn half-way.
A2:Down a double and back.  Set to partner; two-hand turn half-way.
B1:Middles half figure eight through the nearest end couple.  Circle left in fours half-way; fall back with neighbour.
B2:Face this neighbour: three changes of a grand chain, so that you cross to your own side at the ends of the set.  Two-hand turn partner.

Progressed position is 3, 1, 4, 2.  Repeat the dance three more times.

Written for Helena Moss on the occasion of her wedding to Jim Crouch, 26th March 1988, and called by me at the wedding dance with Wild Thyme providing the music.

The Night Crossing        The Night Crossing: Music in PDF, MIDI and ABC formatPrint this dance

Format:  4 Couples longways, 1 and 3 improper.
Dance: Colin Hume, Music: John New, 2006.

A1:Lines of four fall back (with conviction); turn single right.  Lead forward, hesitate (back in set position for a moment of poise); two-hand turn partner half-way.
A2:All that again.
B:In fours, men cross (right shoulder); ladies cross (right shoulder) and “face the next”: new middles face middle neighbour, ends face partner.  Set to this person; two-hand turn half-way and open up to face partner.
C:On the right diagonal, cross right (same sex person) while the two people not involved turn single right; cross left on the left or turn single left.  Cross right on the right or turn single right; all single file clockwise one place to finish opposite partner.

Progressed position is:   3 improper, 1, 4 improper, 2.  Repeat the dance three more times.

I was at a Folk Camp in Holland in 2006 with Hilary Vare and John New as the musicians.  I have done several camps with Hilary, but had not met John before.  In the music workshops we played a few of his tunes, and we were all very struck by this one.  The inspiration for the tune came when he was on the open forward observation deck on the Val de Loire, crossing from Portsmouth to St Malo.  It had been a very congenial evening in the restaurant, with good company and good live piano music, and the sea was flat calm and moonlit.

John wrote it as a slow air, but said he was happy to play it faster for a dance, so I wrote this and tried it out at the end of the week.  The tune still needs to be slow, or it loses its style.  John wrote a pause at the end of the C-music, and I think a slight pause works well with the dance.  The dance needs room for the fall back in the first part, and the dancers must fall back with conviction, otherwise after the lead forward you are too close to your partner to do a good turn.

The other tune of John's to which I have written a dance is Caulking Jig.

Portesham Breakfast        Portesham Breakfast: Music in PDF, MIDI and ABC formatPrint this dance

Format:  4 Couples longways.     Dance: Colin Hume, 2002.    Music: Richard Jones.
Use the alternative A music the second and fourth times.

A1:(16 bars): Up a double and back.  Cast to invert the set.
 Gipsy right partner.  Back-to-back partner right shoulder.
A2:Down a double and back.  Cast to invert the set.
 Gipsy left partner.  Back-to-back partner left shoulder, and at this point observe your same-sex neighbour in your fours.
B1:(16 bars): In fours, right-hand star.  Middles left-hand star, and finish by facing the neighbour you observed.
 Reels of four on the side.
B2:Lines fall back; lead forward.  First corners cross; second corners cross.
 In the middle, second corners cross (the people who crossed first the first time); first corners and the ends cross.  All two-hand turn partner.

I was at a Folk Camp in 2002 where we played this tune all week at music workshops.  We also used it on the last evening to parade round the field displaying the wonderful results of the lantern-making workshop.  It was definitely the tune of the week, and I loved it, so I decided I'd better write a dance for it and call it on the last night; it seemed to need a Playford-style dance rather than traditional-style.

I called it again the next week at the Morland Dance Week and the band (including Ian Jones and Steve Hunt) all said it was a great tune.  Steve told me that Portesham is in Dorset, where he comes from, and is pronounced “Pozzum”.  I've since heard Steve playing the tune at Southam Festival, and Ian Jones has also been calling the dance.

So I contacted Richard Jones who wrote the tune to find out more.  Richard is really flattered that this tune seems to be so popular.  He was in a rock group in the '70's which had a big hit single, but he says this actually feels better!

At the time Richard was fairly new to folk music and was only just starting to get the feet moving.  He wrote the tune while messing around on the guitar!  He plays with Chris Walshaw (pipes), and the first time they played it in public was at a weekend party which is held in a farm in Portesham.  They did it while everyone was having breakfast.  Several people came up to them and asked what it was, but he hadn't got a name for it at the time.  He has now!

So whether you like the dance or not, I'm sure the musicians will enjoy playing the tune.

In 2006 I was at a contra dance in Ely, and before it started there was recorded music playing.  I was very surprised to hear Portesham Breakfast as one of the tracks — and much faster than I had learnt it at the Folk Camp!  The recording is by Meridian (Richard Jones, Anna Tabbush and Chris Walshaw).  From the Music section of their website you can buy the CD or a downloaded MP3 version of the album “Prime” from which it is taken.

Reely Snakey Eighty        Reely Snakey Eighty: Music in PDF, MIDI and ABC formatPrint this dance

Dance: Sue Carter, 2008.  Tune: Colin Hume, 2009.

4 Couples rotated clockwise so that there is a spare man at the top and a spare lady at the bottom

A1:Middles go left: star left in these fours.  Middles cross, star right.
A2:Middles gipsy right, the others circle 3 to the left.  Middles swing, the others circle right.
B1:Ends go right: reel of three with this couple (pass same sex right shoulder to start).
B2:Ends reel of four with the middle couple (pass same sex right shoulder to start).
C1:Ends reel of three with the remaining couple (pass same sex right shoulder to start), finishing at end of own-sex line.
C2:Lines go forward moving left; all set.  Fall back moving left, to leave new people at the ends; all set.
 Last time all two-hand turn partner after the lines forward and set.

Sue wrote the dance her husband Francis Carter's 80th birthday, and I called it at my House Party Weekend with Contradition playing the music.  She gave me four versions of the dance: the simplest, called “Eighty” had lots of figure eights in it, and these were replaced by reels in subsequent version until this final version (which is the one they really prefer) has no eights in it at all!  Seven months later I called an evening dance for Sue and Francis, again with Contradition playing, and decided the dance needed a tune of its own.

Silver for Gallaghers        Print this dance

Dance: Mavis Pote.  Date unknown.

Music: 3 x 48-bar Playford-type jigs or reels, for instance, Pat Shaw's “Miss Bedlington's Fancy”, played with two 16-bar B's.  For recorded music, Mavis uses Orange and Blue's “Amaryllis” and repeats the first figure.

Format: 4 couples longways

First figure:
A1:Up a double and back.  Set and turn single.
A2:All that again.
B1&2:(32 bars): The Lichfield Hey, four times to get back to place:
 In fours, first corners cross; second corners cross.  Middles cross with neighbour; ends cross with partner.
Second figure:
As before, but with Siding instead of Up a double.
Third figure:
As before, but with Arming instead of Up a double.

First published in English Dance and Song, Summer 1991.  Composed by Mavis Pote for Anne and Frank Gallagher on the occasion of their Silver Wedding, and danced frequently since then by Friday Folk and Crown Hills Folk Dance Group.

The Lichfield Hey comes from the Lichfield Morris tradition, as performed by Lichfield Morris, Stafford Morris and other Midlands sides.

Star of Kintra        Star of Kintra: Music in PDF, MIDI and ABC formatPrint this dance

Music by Elvyn Blomfield (July 2004)             Dance by Trevor Monson (June 2004)

4 couple longways — 3's & 4's improper

A1-4All back to back with partner, turning single to the right on the way back
 5-8In 4's, ½ right and left (no polite turn)
 
9-16Middle 4 right hand star, left hand star back
 
B11-8The 4th lady following the 1st man (acting as a unit) full reel of 3 across the set with the 2's, the 1st man and 4th lady ending in the middle of the side line.  Similarly the 1st lady follows the 4th man for a reel of 3 with 3's.
 
B21-4All circle left ½ way
 5-8End couples ½ figure 8 through nearest couple
 
Progressed position is 3-1-4-2.

John Blomfield, one of the founder members of the Folk Dance Band Wild Thyme, died on the Isle of Mull in Scotland on 27th May 2004.  On 26th August there was a Memorial Dance at Southam in Warwickshire.  It was preceded by remembrances of John, led by his son-in-law Shane Day with contributions from other people who knew him; Trevor Monson gave an account of the funeral service.  The Grange Hall was full for the occasion.  Shane had also put together a slide show of photographs of John from childhood to his last weeks.  The dance was run by Barbara Kinsman who called mainly Playford-style dances, with a couple of American Squares from Colin Hume and this new dance written and called by Trevor which went down very well.  Trevor and Elvyn would like the dance to be more widely known — so please call it!  Kintra is the area of Mull where John lived.

Summer Reverie        Summer Reverie: Music in PDF, MIDI and ABC formatSummer Reverie with counter-melody: Music in PDF, MIDI and ABC formatPrint this danceRecordings

Format: 4 couples longways.     Dance and Music: Colin Hume, 2000.

A:Ones cross and cast; twos lead up.  Middle ladies cross (1 and 3); middle men cross.
B:Bottom three couples circle left half-way.  Join hands in lines of four and fall back; lead forward.  [2, 4 improper, 1 improper, 3.]
C:Middles face the ends: back-to-back neighbour (opposite sex).  Two slow changes of a circular hey, without hands.  [4, 3, 2, 1.]
D:Ones (at the bottom) need to make the second change more of a half gipsy, so that they can then lead up to the top, the others go down the outside and follow them up the middle to invert the set.  Ones cast to the bottom, the others continue leading up to progressed place and two-hand turn.  [Standard progression.]

Chris OxtobyWritten for Chris Oxtoby — the blonde bombshell, accordionist extraordinaire, accomplished accompanist, for many years a member of the Anglo-Scottish band “Sound Company” — who complained that no-one had ever written her a nice tune.  She said she particularly liked “Winter Memories”, so both the dance and the tune contain echoes of this.  Following suggestions of various dancers and musicians I have revised both the dance and the music slightly.

Musicians: as with Winter Memories, slow and lyrical but don't let the tune falter.

A Time to Dance        A Time to Dance: Music in PDF, MIDI and ABC formatPrint this dance

Format: 4 couples longways.     Dance: Maggie Hosking, 1999.  Music: Colin Hume, 2002.

First Figure:
A1:Lead up a double; cast back.  Set to partner; cross right shoulder with partner.
A2:Lead down a double; cast back.  Set; cross right shoulder.
B:Matchboxes: Ones and threes give two hands and slip down between the next couple who slip up; twos and fours slip down, the others up.  All that again.
C:Double matchboxes: Ones and twos give two hands and slip down between both the other couples who slip up; threes and fours slip down, the others up.  All that again.
Second Figure:
A1:Side right shoulder to right; cast left.  Set; cross right shoulder.
A2:Side left; cast right.  Set; cross right shoulder and all face up.
B:In fours, double figure eight: ones and threes cast, twos and fours cross up to start.  Ones and threes cast again, into:
C:Reels of four on the side: men pass left shoulder, ladies right shoulder.
Third Figure:
A1:Right-hand turn half-way; turn single left.  Set; cross right shoulder.
A2:Left-hand turn half-way; turn single right.  Set; cross right shoulder.
B:In fours, right-hand star.  Left-hand star.
C:Ends face partner, middles face neighbour: Grand chain.
Fourth Figure:
A1:Lead up a double; cast back.  Set; cross right shoulder.
A2:Side right shoulder to right; cast back left.  Set; cross right shoulder.
B:Right-hand turn half-way; turn single left.  Set; cross right shoulder.
C:Lead down a double; cast back and face up.  Set; step right and honour the presence.

I was booked to call Maggie Hosking's 50th Birthday Dance, and she asked me to write a tune to one of her own compositions.  I was pleased to do this, since it's a very nice dance, but I wasn't too sure about the tune I'd written and ended up sending her two tunes.  She liked the A part of one and the B part of the other, so I fitted these together (losing a nice key-change on the way, but you can't have everything).  The title comes from Ecclesiastes (King James version): “To everything there is a season… A time to mourn, And a time to dance”.  She has an interesting gimmick in the fourth figure, which is basically the introductions to the other three figures — I knew that, but it still almost fooled me when I called it!  Unknown to her, I had also written my own dance and tune, Maggie's Waltz Square for her.

Wallington Diamond Jubilee        Wallington Diamond Jubilee: Music in PDF, MIDI and ABC formatPrint this dance

Dance and Music: Ellen Taylor, 1993

Format: 4 couples longways, ones and threes improper.

A:Partners lead up a double and back.  All set to partner; couples 1 and 3 cast a place as 2 and 4 move up.
B:Partners lead up a double and back.  All set to partner; couples 2 and 4 cast a place as 1 and 3 move up.
C:Couples 1 and 2 draw poussette (men moving backwards all the time) to change places, while couples 3 and 4 do the same.  Couples 1 and 4 in the middle do the same.
D:End couples lead in between neighbours and cast back to end places.  All set and turn single.

Repeat the whole dance three times more.

First published in English Dance and Song, Autumn 1993.  Ellen's first dance “The Lincolnshire Poacher” was published in the EFDSS magazine (forerunner of ED&S) in 1977.  Since then she has written twenty more, of which the most popular is “Delia” in the “Hunter's Moon” collection.

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