Round Corner Round Corner

Clockwork Badger

Clockwork Badger

In July 2014, Anonymous Morris danced on Brownsea Island and we ended up doing informal morris workshops with some of the scout groups on the island. In return, two of the Portuguese scouts showed us a quarterstaff routine.

We're now developing a morris dance called 'Clockwork Badger' that incorporates one of the moves that they used near the end of their sequence.

The original inspiration for the name 'Clockwork Badger' was the jerky movement of the clockwork androids in the Doctor Who episode 'The Girl in the Fireplace'.
Clockwork Androids from Doctor Who, dressed in 18th Century French aristocracy clothing.
We added 'Badger' because we liked the sound of it.

Instructions

This dance is still in development - written instructions shall follow when they are finished.

This is a four person dance that uses long sticks. Single step throughout, apart from the chorus.

The most important thing in this dance is to hold the stick correctly.
One hand should be at each end of the stick. The right hand is palm up and the left hand is palm down. When the stick is not being used for stick clashes, it should be held diagonally in front of the dancer with the right hand higher than the left.

When stick striking, there are three positions: high, low, neutral.

High: Raise the left hand, pushing the stick through the right hand  until the fists are touching.  Clash the top end of the stick forehand with partner.

Neutral: Slide hands apart and finish with stick held diagonally in front of the body (This is a specific move, but there is no actual clash).

Low: Lower the right hand, pushing the stick through the left hand, until fists are touching.  Clash the bottom end of the stick backhand with partner.

Figure Music
Walk On -
Chorus B
Pretzel AA
Chorus B
Gyroscope AA
Chorus B
Bell Strike AA
Escape B
Walk Off -
Walk On (Drum Beat Only)
1-8 Dancers begin by standing at four diagonal points on the edge of the audience. Their shoulders are slumped and their heads hang forward, a bit like a puppet with the strings cut.
Moving a step for each drum beat, they walk with a mechanical lurch towards their place in the centre. They should finish in a square, within stick striking distance of each other.
Dancers remain leaning forwards while the band plays an introduction.  On the last beat of the introduction, the dancers straighten up (as though they've been wound up) and raise their sticks ready for the chorus.
Chorus (B)
Dancers face their partner on the side of the set. Each major beat of the music is a stamp step (Not single stepping). Remember that there is still a step for the neutral stick move.
Count Moves
1 High strike with partner on the side
2 Neutral stick while turning to face across the set
3 Low strike across the set
4 Neutral without turning
5 High strike across the set
6 Neutral while turning to face up/down the set
7 Low strike with partner on the side of the set
8 Neutral without turning
9-16 Repeat beats 1-8
Pretzels (AA)
Note: The overall look is of a four leaf clover, with dancers going round each leaf in turn.
This figure should use LOTS of space.
Begin by facing partner on the side of the set
Count Moves
1-4 Move forward, passing partner right shoulder and doing a high strike on the count of 1.
These should be long steps and people need to keep in step with the other dancer moving in the same direction (Do not turn out too soon. You should be close to your mirror dancer until the end of the 4th beat)
5-8 Turn out and move in a large 3/4 personal circle to return facing across the set
9-12 Move forward, passing left shoulder and doing a low strike on the count of 9
13-16 Turn out and move in a large 3/4 personal circle to return facing up/down the set
17-32 Repeat 1-16
Chorus (B)
Gyroscope (AA)
Count Moves
1-4 On 1, sticks go to the high position. Form a tight circle going clockwise with sticks in the centre in a making a central tent shape. On count 4, the stick goes to the neutral position and dancers turn in to face anti-clockwise.
5-8 On 5, sticks go to a 'low' position (The stick should be thrust down on the first beat) and dancers circle anti-clockwise.  On count 8, stick to neutral and each dancer does a quarter turn right to face out of the circle
9-24 Sticks remain in neutral position.  Take two steps away from the centre in order to enlarge the circle.  Form a circle going clockwise.  Make sure circle stays large for the first six steps, then gradually reduce it in size, ending up in a tight circle on the last couple of steps, to be ready for:-
25-28 On 25, sticks go to the high position. Form a tight circle going clockwise with sticks in the centre in a making a central tent shape. On count 4, the stick goes to the neutral position and dancers turn in to face anti-clockwise
29-32 On 29, sticks go to a 'low' position (The stick should be thrust down on the first beat) and dancers circle anti-clockwise.  On count 8, stick to neutral and each dancer returns to place, ready for the chorus
Chorus (B)
Bell Strike (AA)
Count Moves
1-4 High strike with partner on 1. Rebound from this strike and spin 360 degrees clockwise. Low strike with partner on 3. Take one step back from partner on 4.
5-8 Move forward, passing partner by the right shoulder. Clash sticks on 5.  Turn out on 6 and make a small circle to re-enter the set from the side (This part of the move is similar to Pretzel, but is much faster as you don't take four steps forward)
9-16 Repeat 1-8 from your new position, facing a new dancer
17-32 Repeat 1-16.  By the end of 'Bell Strike', you should have been in all four positions and finish up back in your own place
Chorus (B)
Walk Off (Drum Beat Only)
1-8 At the end of the chorus, the dancers slump a little as though the clockwork had run down.
They pause, waiting for the drum beat.
The drum does eight beats and the dancers stagger mechanically into the audience in time with the drum.
Rules of Thumb
Rules of Thumb

Unless otherwise specified, the following general rules apply:

  1. Always start right foot first.
  2. There are 4 beats to a bar. This works out as two steps.
  3. The top of the set is towards the band. Likewise, the bottom of the set is away from the band.
  4. When resting stick on shoulder, the tip of the stick should be level with the middle of your ear.
  5. Turns on the spot will usually be right-hand turns (clockwise). Common exceptions are when dancers need to turn in or out of a set the shortest way.
  6. When passing shoulders with another dancer, the first pass will be a right-shoulder pass. Many dances will have figures that alternate right and left shoulders.
  7. Where a fast turn on the spot is needed, it will be on the first beat of the bar. E.g. If you need to turn and then move across the set, you can count it as 'turn, two, three, four'.
  8. Swings with a partner will be right-hand (clockwise), with the stick held in the left hand, unless otherwise specified.
  9. Figures are usually in multiples of four beats. If you mentally keep counting 'one, two, three, four', then you'll have a good idea of when to move and change.

We rehearse Thursdays from 7:30 - 9:30pm, at St. James Church Centre, Poole, BH15 1JN