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Worcestershire Monkey

Worcestershire Monkey

Worcestershire Monkey is the famous signature dance of Wicket Brood which has become a popular Border Morris dance worldwide. The dance was devised by Martin Hallett of Wicket Brood and is danced to the music Weasels Revenge composed by Jan Hurst also of Wicket Brood. Worcestershire Monkey is a dance for eight people with influences from Pershore in Worcestershire while the Monkey Hey is from an old Iffy Morris dance called Chinese Monkey. The dance even has a mention in the Wikipedia page for the England county of Worcestershire.

Instructions

Step at all times, except when sticking during the chorus. A dance for a 4 couple longweays set.

2 4 6 8
UP
1 3 5 7

Figure Music
Chorus AA
Monkey Hey BB
Chorus AA
Stars on the Sides BB
Chorus AA
Half Hands BB
Chorus AA
Lichfield Hey BB
Chorus AA
Monkey Off BB

Chorus (AA)
Count Moves
1-8 Stick with partner (F = Forehand, B = Backhand)
Beat Clash Beat Clash
1 F 5 F
2 B 6 B
3 F 7 Pause (alternatively: 2 ground strikes inserted on 6.5 and 7)
3.5 B 7.5 F
4 F 8 B

A tip for this is counting 1, 2, 123, 1, 2, pause 23)
9-16 Repeat beats 1-8
17-24 Right hand waist swing twice round with the dancer on the right diagonal – dancers 2 & 7 dance on the spot with suitable improvisation.
25-32 Left hand waist swing twice round with the dancer on the left diagonal – dancers 1 & 8 dance on the spot with suitable improvisation.
Monkey Hey (BB)
Count Moves
1-4 Bottom couple (7&8) dance up the middle of the set to one place above the top couple. The rest of the set dance on the spot. Couples are required to make lots of noise as they dance up the middle of the set.
5-8 All dancers turn out, down and in again in a small circle to reposition the set back in its original location, but now with the bottom couple at the top and everyone else moved down one position.
9-16 Repeat steps 1-8 to progress the new bottom couple (5&6) to the top
17-24 Repeat steps 1-8 to progress the new bottom couple (3&4) to the top
25-32 Repeat steps 1-8 to progress the new bottom couple (1&2) to the top, with everyone now back in place.
Chorus (AA)
Stars on the Sides (BB)
Count Moves
1-4 1 and 2 cast out. Instead of going down to the bottom of the set, they link up with the dancers on their own side of the set to form a star. The star on the squire’s side will have the sticks on the outside. The star on the non-squire’s side will have sticks on the inside.
Keep the two stars close together!
5-8 Dancers in the two stars start crossing over. The process is started by 1 and 2 who pass right shoulders (1 in front of 2) and exchange places while the stars are still turning. Then 3 and 4 exchange places followed by 5 and 6, then 7 and 8. Dancers continue to swap over as the stars turn. The stars should mesh like two cogs with dancers slotting into the next free position. Make sure that you start the swap-over as soon as possible and don’t wait until the last possible moment.
9-16 Take the new stars once around.
17-24 As the stars turn further, dancers will start swapping back to their original star. 2 and 1 pass right shoulders first, then 4 and 3, 6 and 5, 8 and 7. Continue around in these new stars.
25-32 1 and 2 break out of the star at an appropriate moment and head back for their normal position in the set. The star unwinds behind them and everyone returns to place.
Chorus (AA)
Half Hands (BB)
Count Moves
1-8 Bottom couple cross over, right shoulder, clashing on 1 and move up outside of the set to the top. Meanwhile, everyone else does a left hand turn 1.5 times round to finish in partners place, slowly moving down the set to replace bottom couple.
9-16 New bottom couple cross over, right shoulder, clashing on 9 and move up outside of the set to the top. Meanwhile, everyone else does a right hand turn 1.5 times round to finish in partners place, slowly moving down the set to replace bottom couple.
17-24 New bottom couple cross over, right shoulder, clashing on 17 and move up outside of the set to the top. Meanwhile, everyone else does a left hand turn 1.5 times round to finish in partners place, slowly moving down the set to replace bottom couple.
25-32 New bottom couple cross over, right shoulder, clashing on 25 and move up outside of the set to the top. Meanwhile, everyone else does a right hand turn 1.5 times round to finish in partners place, slowly moving down the set to return to original positions.
Chorus (AA)
Lichfield Hey (BB)
Count Moves
1-2 First diagonals (1&4, 5&8) cross right shoulder to each others' positions.
3-4 Second diagonals (2&3, 6&7) cross right shoulders to each others' positions
5-6 Step on the spot
7-8 New top and bottom couples (3&4, 5&6) cross the set, passing left shoulder into each others' positions. Meanwhile, the new middle couples pass each other up and down by the left shoulder (1 passing 7, 2 passing 8)
9-16 Repeat steps 1-8 from these new positions
17-32 Repeat steps 1-8 twice more from the new positions to return everyone to place
Chorus (AA)
Monkey Off (BB)
This is the same as the Monkey Hey, but this time the bottom couple leave the set instead of joining in a new place at the top
Count Moves
1-4 Bottom couple (7&8) dance up the middle of the set and carry on off out of the set. The rest of the set dance on the spot. Couples are still required to make lots of noise as they dance up the middle of the set.
5-8 All dancers turn out, down and in again in a small circle to reposition the set back in its original location, but now with the original bottom couple off and everyone else moved down one position.
9-16 Repeat steps 1-8 to progress the new bottom couple (5&6) out of the set
17-24 Repeat steps 1-8 to progress the new bottom couple (3&4) out of the set
25-32 Repeat steps 1-8 to remove the final bottom couple (1&2), now the only remaining couple out of the set, making as much noise as they wish
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