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BLAYDON RACES (from William Scott) 

big circle

32 bar jig (GREENSLEEVES: blaydon races; tramp, tramp, tramp, home boys home)

[]   All in to the centre and back, twice

[]   Two-hand hold: slide in to centre (two slides) and back;

     Men twirl partners (ladies turning under partner’s arm)

[]   Promenade around the circle. 

     On final two bars, men move forward to lady in front (new partner)

[]   Balance; Swing


BRIDGE OF ATHLONE (American version of Irish dance) 

longways 5 couples

48 bar jig (GREENSLEEVES: bridge of athlone; rakes of kildare; pet of the pipers)

[]   Lines go forward and back; Lines cross (men arch)

[]   Repeat (Ladies arch)

[]   Top couple gallop down centre and back

[]   All cast;

     Top couple make arch (at bottom) and other couples lead up through the arch

[]   Other couples form tunnel and top couple (at bottom) come up – lady through tunnel,

      man outside;  At top, they switch to come down (man through tunnel, lady outside)

[]   All swing

My contribution to this dance is for top couple, when meeting at top of tunnel, to kiss – or cuddle – or headbutt! – or whatever



hands four

32 bar polka (POSH BAND: buttered peas - 2 versions)  

[]   Circle left and right

[]   Star right and left (thumbs in!)

[]   With contrary, shake right hands, clap three times, then with left hands;

     Same do-si-do

[]   With partner, shake and clap – but do-si-don’t!  Instead, promenade away with partner and join up with a new couple anywhere on the floor


CIRCASSIAN CIRCLE (collected by Maud Karpeles)  

big circle

32 bar reel (HOGHTON BAND: pack up your troubles; it's a long way to tipperary)

[]   Holding hands in big circle, all go forward and back twice

[]   Ladies go forward, clap, and back to places;  Men do same

[]   Swing partner       

[]   Promenade

My variation on this is to have a random progression before the swing


CLOPTON BRIDGE (john chapman)

longways 4 couples

32 bar hornpipe (CONTRABAND: lord of the dance; i'd like to teach the world to sing )

[]   Top man and bottom lady meet in centre and turn (link right elbows);

      Same with left elbows, and dance back to home positions

[]   Top lady and bottom man do the same

[]   Middle four star right and left

[]   Top couple dance down centre to bottom of set while others move up one place;

      All swing partner

My calling of this encourages the “dance down” in B2 to involve fancy footwork as chosen by the dancing couple – wheelbarrows, piggy-back, cartwheels – or whatever


CUMBERLAND SQUARE EIGHT (from Community Dances Manual) 

square set

64 bar reel (CONTRABAND: my love she's but a lassie yet; cock o' the north)

[]   Head couples gallop across the set (men passing back to back);

      Same couples gallop back (ladies passing back to back)

[]   Side couples do the same

[]   Head couples star right and left

[]   Side couples do the same

[]   Head couples basket

[]   Side couples do the same

[]   All join hands in circle and circle left all the way

[]   Promenade all the way


GALOPEDE (a dance from Warwickshire)  


32 bar rant (BURSLEDON VILLAGE BAND: galopede; little polly; grandfather's)

[]  In lines, go forward and slap hands three times with partner, then back to places; Cross over (pass partner by the right shoulder) and twirl around on the spot

[]   Repeat back to places

[]   Top couple swing to the bottom of the set (others move up)

[]   All swing partners

I tend to vary the number of couples who swing to the bottom (B1) by calling a number at random




32 bar reel (FAMOUS POTATOES: blue moon of kentucky)

variation on “Julian’s Jolly”

[]   Gallop around circle (to man’s left) and back again

[]   Do-si-do partner – right and left

[]  Clapping with partner: Knees, knees, right, right; Knees, knees, left, left;

     Knees, right, knees, left; In front, Behind, Together

[]   Swing partner

For “mixer” version: Right-hand turn with partner, then left-hand turn person on left diagonal and stay with this person for the gallop


LA RUSSE (from the Border villages) 

square set       

64 bar reel (SAWDUST BAND: la russe; caddam wood; bluebell polka)

[]   Men dance behind partner to next lady around the set, balance and swing

[]   Men dance back to partner, balance and swing

[]   1st couple swing (do something flashy!) while others clap

[]   1st couple  go round the inside of the set greeting the other couples

(“Hello” to number 2, “How do you do” to number 3, “Nice to see you” to number 4)   

      and back to home place. 

[]   Head couples cross (1st couple make the arch), then Side couples cross (2nd couple arch); Head couples cross back (3s arch), then Sides (4s arch)

[]   Repeat arches

[]   All circle left – all the way

[]  All promenade back to home places.

Repeat whole dance – each couple in turn leading at B1 etc

My contributions are the added instructions in figures 3 and 4


LUCKY SEVEN (from Community Dances Manual) 

big circle

32 bar polka (AARDVARK CEILIDH BAND: harper's frolics; bonny kate; sloe)

[]   All circle to the left

[]   All go in to the centre and back, twice

[]   Starting with partner, grand chain past six dancers

[]   Swing the seventh person (new partner)


OXO REEL (by John Tether) 

longways 6 couples

32 bar reel (BURSLEDON VILLAGE BAND: bourton six; lancashire tune)

[]   In lines, go forward, clap partner’s hands, and back;  Do-si-do

[]   Repeat A1

[]   Top 2 couples make circle and go left and right

      WHILE bottom 2 couples do the same

      WHILE middle 2 couples star right and left

      (This spells “oxo”)

[]   Top gallop gallop down centre to bottom;  All swing



big circle

32 bar waltz (BURSLEDON VILLAGE BAND: man in the moon; south wind)

[]   All swing right leg across, then left leg, and men pass partner across to their left;

      Repeat with next partner (number 2)

[]   Repeat with next two partners (3 and 4)

[]   With 5th person, take two-hand hold and slide two steps in and two steps out;

      Repeat these sliding steps.

[]  Clap both hands with present partner, slap own knees, and turn for a “boomps-a-

      daisy”;  Swing current partner and end in a big circle



longways 4 couples

32 bar polka (ALBION: uncle bernard's; jenny lind)

[]   From top, lines cast out, down to the bottom and up the centre to place. This should be done with high skips (knees well up), while singing the tune cacophonously, and with a final “Oi!” with raised fists.

[]   Sausage: All hold hands (in an oblong). Bottom couple make arch and top couple lead down the centre, twist away from each other (under own arms) and come back to top over the other dancers.  Throughout this figure, nobody lets go hands.

     Optional alternative [chipolata] – same as sausage but top couple let go each other’s     hand after going under the arch, and bring the lines up the outside back to place.

[]   Do-si-do with partner – right then left.
     (Original B1: In fours, star right & left)

[]   Top couple swing down centre to bottom while others clap.


STOKE GOLDING (a dance from Leicestershire)

longways 5 couples

unphrased (RANCHERS: keel row)

[]   Top man and bottom lady meet in centre for swing and back to places

[]   Top lady and bottom man do the same

[]   Top couple strip-the-willow

[]   This same couple arch up over the ladies’ line; and down over the men’s line.


SWEDISH MASQUERADE  (a dance from Denmark) 


48 bar medley (TENPENNY BIT: swedish masquerade)


Stand side-by-side, holding nearer hands elegantly, noses in the air, spare hands on hips (little fingers sticking up)

March seven slow stately steps up the room, turn, and march seven slow stately steps back (This should be a “glide” rather than a march – on the balls of the feet)


Holding hands (still), step away and together twice, then waltz around; Repeat

(When stepping away and together, move free arm out to side and back in an arc)


Four “steps”, then swing; Repeat




32 bar march (SIBBY: beside the seaside; my old man; show me the way to go home)

[]   With partner, turn (right arm, then left arm)

[]  Promenade around the room; Stamp thrice, slap thigh, claps and “boomps-a-daisy”

[]   Do-si-do right and left

[]   Four high kicks (with exuberance); Swing

To make this a circle mixer, change figure 3 to: 

Do-si-do right, slide left to face new partner

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