Rapper - Our Dance Notation


Back to Rapper Page

"Well it's not notation as such, more an 'aide memoire' to what's going on, in so much as we ever know that."

Routine for Boxing day 2009

A slightly adapted version of our old dance with a stream-lined start and some new figures including an attempt to master the art of jumping over swords. We are particularly pround of the sequence that leads up to this and the slick way we step out of it and into the final nut - well it's slick for us!

Tunes: The Blackthorn Stick, Irish Washerwoman

Dance Number 1

The first routine was put together largely by Pete Bareham during the summer and autumn of 1999 and is based primarily of the Earsden dance as interpreted by the Newcastle Kingsmen. As the dance that got the team dancing it is, not surprisingly called Dance Number 1!

  • The team stand in line and step twice to the music (in between the closing verses of the calling on song if it is used.
  • No. 1 leads into circle, swords are lifted and clashed
  • Single Guard (elbows in each dancer turns out from the set and circles round and back to place)
  • Curlies (casting out)
  • Figure of Eight (just what it says)
  • Coach and Horses and step in place ( in column facing the music with number 3 at the back)
  • Breastplate (the swords are lifted and brought down across the chest of number 3)
  • Single Guard
  • Fixed Toast (the dancers face each other to make a line with swords bent up into a pattern of intersecting shallow arches)
  • Star, (the swords are woven into a pentacle after number 1 turns out) swords are lifted into crown
  • Circle, swords behind backs
  • Star
  • Single Guard
  • Curlies (Tommy normally joins in after curlies)
  • Change Places (facing up the six dancers change places with tramping and stepping)
  • Rover (as single guard but number 1 is followed closely by number 2 who turns then leads number 3 and so on)
  • Banbury Cross (a combination of curlies and figure of Eight)
  • Big Finish (Star which is lifted by number 3 while the others with arms on shoulders circle round before breaking into a line to face the music)
  • All up, everyone finishes on the right foot and pauses before being lead off by number 1)

Tunes: The Blackthorn Stick, Irish Washerwoman

Dance Number 2

Our second dance, worked on during the winter of 1999/2000, was designed to increase our repertoire before hitting the streets of Whitby as part of the Millennium Sword Dance Festival. There is something of a more fluid and open feel to the dance as the figures chosen frequently turn into circles and the 'winky' figures turn the whole set around. The elements of the dance are either pirated from odd videos we had access to or lifted in a random fashion from Sharp's "Sword dances of Northern England. We used to have our Betty do a backwards flip half way through but we have abandoned the practice following one broken thumb and an almost broken neck!

  • The team stand in line and step twice to the music (in between the closing verses of the calling on song if it is used.)
  • No. 1 leads into circle, swords are lifted and clashed
  • Open Circle, step (all facing inwards)
  • Singe Guard
  • Curlies
  • Old Winky ( the set wheels round to face away from the music and then returns to place)
  • Coach and Horses)
  • Baccy (a variant of single guard where the dances back out of place in the order 1,3,5,2 and 4)
  • Open Circle ,step
  • Haymarket (a variant of breastplate... or vice versa)
  • Star
  • New Winky (like Old Winky but the team turns through ninety degrees each time)
  • Single Guard (Betty normally joins in after single guard)
  • Jump Over into line (the swords are lowered slowly)
  • Reverse and turn into star (it was here that the tumble came)
  • Single Guard
  • Coach and Horses (Tommy normally swops for Betty at this point)
  • Open Circle, step
  • Trusty (Numbers 1 and 5 turn out and jump over lowered swords between 2 and Tommy and 3 and 4)
  • Banbury Cross
  • Big Finish (Star which is lifted by number 3 while the others turn singly to the left and step in place)
  • All up, everyone finishes on the right foot and pauses before being lead off by number 1)

Tunes: Pipe on the Hob, Saddle the Pony

Beadbury or Beadnell comes to Banbury

I've been to Beadnell, it's on the Northumbrian coast and all I can really remember of it is rows of white painted caravans. I'm sure there is more to the place. When Cecil Sharp visited he found a team of fishermen who performed on New Year's day dressed in blue jerseys and dark blue trousers with a single pink sash decorated with rosettes. We were inspired to take it up as an alternative to the frenetic pace of dances 1 and 2 after seeing it performed by a team during a tour of Oxford with Mabel Gubbins. They did it fairly quietly, we tramp like a... well never mind what, our version has been taken from Sharp's notation in volume II of the Sword Dances of Northern England and twisted a little.

  • The team walk on in line following the fiddler
  • No. 1 leads into circle, swords are lifted and clashed in time to the music
  • Swords are held over left shoulders
  • Open circle
  • Swords are held over left shoulders
  • Chorus
    • Number 1 turns out to form a rose (star) which is raised to chest height as the dancers walk round
    • Everyone turns out and steps with a double shuffle
    • Numbers 3,4 and 5 back between 1 and 2 and shoulder swords
  • Figure 1 - Curlies (number 3 stays on the same side)
  • Chorus
  • Figure 2 - Curlies (number 3 changes sides)
  • Chorus
  • Figure 3 - Curlies (variant where number 5 passes under number 1's sword to begin)
  • Chorus
  • Figure 4 - Curlies (variant where number 5 raises right arm and turns out to the right
  • Chorus, once the rose has been tied it is raised by number 1 who leads everyone off walking in time to the music.

Tune: The Keel Row

TOP