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2013

Notes from an instructional (hosted by Windsor Morris) run at Hawley near Farnborough, Hampshire between 26th-28th April, 2013.

Friday evening

During the evening, Roy Dommett gave a talk (transcript tba) on his "life and times" as a Morris researcher.  This was a shorter version of the same talk delivered at Broadclyst (video; transcript tba).  The remainder of the evening was spent dancing "interesting dances for eight". These included a set of "Basque" styles figures (a series of different "back-to-backs"), and various "Basque" style choruses (notes1; notes2).

Saturday morning

Pete Delamare of Sheffield City Morris taught steps and dances from their Medup tradition (background; video tba; workshop notes).

Adrian Williams of Redbornstoke Morris taught steps and dances from their Ampthill tradition (video tba). Adrian writes:
"Ampthill is a living, orally based tradition. We do not give detailed notes out. The things about Ampthill that I’d like to reinforce are:
  • Shapes. These are generally distinct and different from most Cotswold traditions. It makes or breaks a dance performance. Getting a circle uniform in radius and spacing (60°) for most dances is surprising difficult and requires much concentration and moaning at practices. It is most difficult to get middles to stand out in a circle and break the normal Cotswold sort of set shape. I try to get people to stand square against their opposite corners at the start of sphincter to help get this right. The triangle figure needs the second trio (2, 3, 6 remember) to keep tightly in the centre and maintain their 120° spacing uniformly. Remember that from the air, the viewer should see the whole set as though a Mercedes sign with the punctuation points always having one point up (usually towards the music) and the others spaced at the magic 120° from this. Keeping these two a consistent distance from each other is often a struggle!
  • Punctuation. All the shapes are emphasised by the punctuation on the jump. This is very obvious in line, which should be shoulder to shoulder (not lined up on bellies!), but really it applies to all the figures. It is what catches the eye of public and dancers alike. All jumps should be on the spot and not involve any forward motion.
  • Being still. If the dance involves being stationary, you should be that. I remember learning that from a 7 Champions workshop. A “rest” is not the time for scratching bums or gazing at bystanders.
  • The idea of a double foot jump and landing is a great one for a long term investment in feet, ankles and knees. So much of the Morris spectacular involves one leg take-off or landing. It makes for more physical stress on joints.
If any team really wants to learn Ampthill (which includes dances for 3, 5 and 6 and at least 1 entirely to a whole song), our favoured method is for us (the whole team, not just the Foreman and a musician) to visit you for a weekend. Meet Friday, work Saturday and dance out on Sunday…"

Saturday afternoon

Roy gave a talk on the History of Morris and Mumming - again, a version of the talk delivered at Broadclyst (video; background; notes) - then taught steps and dances from the Filkin tradition (video tba; notes).

Just before dinner participants devised and presented some fun dances inspired by the famous Wilson, Keppel and Betty Sand Dance (clip shown; Youtube search).

Saturday evening

Roy taught steps and dances from his own Juniper Hill tradition (video tba; notes).

Barry Honeysett taught a dance that he brought to Great Western Morris: "Maid of the Millenium" (video tba; notes tba).

Sunday morning

Gary O'Mahoney taught steps and dances from the Bantam Cocks' Raglan tradition (EPCOT video tba; video tba; notes - sorry for the weird layout).

Jameson Wooders taught a swashbuckling sword dance derived from Buffens ("Les Bouffons" from Arbeau's Orchésographie, 1589 (LoC catalog; pp 98-104 in the original french)) as danced today by Berkshire Bedlam Morris (Youtube video of older version).

Thanks

Thanks go to Beth Neill of Windsor Morris who organised and ran the entire weekend, capably assisted by various members of the team and their spouses; and to Mike and Wendy Gulyas who recorded and post-produced all the video and sound for the event.

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