Round Corner Round Corner

Upton upon Severn Stick Dance

Upton upon Severn Stick Dance

A traditional Border dance from Upton upon Severn, collected by Maud Karpeles from the Griffen family in 1925 and subsequently published in the 1933 journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society.

Instructions

We've tried to stay reasonably true to the dance as was collected, although some minor alterations have been made to suit our needs. The only significant change being in the chorus, where we lengthen the left turn/circle to cut down on some stepping on the spot.

Things to note:

  • This dance routinely breaks our right first rule (except right foot first).
  • Double stepping is used throughout. A double step takes one full bar of music and is two counts in the notation below.
  • On the hop step, the free foot crosses over the other leg.
  • Sticks to be held vertically in the middle through most of the dance.

Dance for six dancers, three facing three.

Figure Music
Rounds A
Chorus BB
Back to Back Right A
Chorus BB
Back to Back Left A
Chorus BB
Top Hey A
Chorus BB
Mirror Hey A
Chorus BB
Rounds and Dance Off A
Rounds (A)
Count Moves
1 Clash sticks forehand with partner on 1.
2-16 Turn left into rounds, returning to place on 16.
Chorus (BB)
Count Moves
1-4 Tips and butts. Tips on 1, butts on 3. The stick strike is always on the first move of the double step - tips two three hop, butts two three hop.
5-16 Repeat 1-4 three more times.
17-24 Clash sticks forehand with partner on 17.
Using the momentum, turn left and step out into individual anti-clockwise circles. End up in place.
25-32 Four double steps on the spot.
Back to Back Right (A)
Count Moves
1-2 Clash sticks forehand with partner on 1 and take one double step back.
3-4 One double step forward, passing right shoulders with partner.
5-6 One double step right.
7-8 One double step back passing left shoulders, ending in place.
9-16 Four double steps on the spot.
Chorus (BB)
Back to Back Left (A)
Count Moves
1-2 Clash sticks forehand with partner on 1 and take one double step back.
3-4 One double step forward, passing left shoulders with partner.
5-6 One double step left.
7-8 One double step back passing right shoulders, ending in place.
9-16 Four double steps on the spot.
Chorus (BB)
Top Hey (A)
Count Moves
1 Clash sticks forehand with partner on 1.
3-4 Middle couple turns and go diagonally right between the couple they are facing, towards the outer shoulders of the first corners (4 towards 1, 3 towards 6).
The rest take one double step back.
5-16 wo three-man heys alternating left and right shoulders: 1, 2 and 4, and 3, 5 and 6.
Return to place on 16.
Chorus (BB)
Mirror Hey (A)
Count Moves
1-2 Clash sticks forehand with partner on 1. Top couple turn to face down, rest face up the set.
3-16 Starting with top couple passing inside the middle couple, two three-man heys alternating inside (i.e. the couple moves together to go between the next pair) and outside (i.e. the couple break apart to go around the next pair) shoulders, turning in at the end of the line.
Return to place on 16.
Chorus (BB)
Rounds and Dance Off (A)
Count Moves
1 Clash sticks forehand with partner.
2-16 Turn left into rounds and follow dancer 1 as they leads out of the set. On the last beat raise stick in the air and shout.
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