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The Deane Memorial Morris Dance

This is the only Rumworth-originated dance that is done with sticks and for this reason it is usually referred to as "The Stick Dance" within the team. It is danced to jigs and is mainly done to a skipping step, but unusually for a dance in 6/8 time also uses the polka step. It also has the interesting characteristic that the dancers move around the set as the dance progresses, and each man dances in every position in the set at some stage.

Like all of our dances, the relationship between the dance and the music is very important and the dance is always danced to the same set of tunes (Bonny Dundee, Garry Owen, Hundred Pipers and Cock of the North). The use of Scottish tunes was quite common in Lancashire Morris and the tune sequence for this dance not only influences the feel of the dance and the way it is performed but also serves as a reminder to the dancers as to the order of the figures. (A recording of the music can be found here)

The chorus consists of a double Step Up followed by a movement consisting of 2 stationary polks steps after which the first couples cast out below the second couples who move up and then all face in and dance a Step Up into line and back to place. This means that everyone starts most figures (but not all) in a different place from the one in which he started the dance.

Step Up on Bolton Town Hall Square


The first figure is Short Corners. But there is a twist or two. In the first four bars, the first corners turn each other by the right hand moving three places round the square, which takes them back to the same side of the set but in the second corner's place.Meanwhile the second corners dance two polkas on the spot and then cast up or down the set (as required) to fill the spots vacated by the first corners. Then the first corners repeat the turn moving round three more places, while the second couples (after polkaing on the spot) dance across the set, each filling the spot just left by the man that started diagonally opposite him.

This leaves everyone on the “wrong” side, but with the couples in their original positions. After the chorus the figure is repeated. The original first corners are now in second corner position and vice versa. This returns each man to his original place in the set..

Short Corners is followed, as is the tradition, by Long Corners called "Ends" because the four end dancers perform the right hand turn as a four while the four middle dancers (after first doing two polkas, as in Short Corners) cast up or down the set as required, to the corners. The end dancers, after meeting briefly in the middle of the set, drop into the spaces thus vacated. This leaves four of the dancers on the “wrong” side, and the other four on the right side but in the “wrong” position. As with Short Corners, the figure is repeated, with the dancers who were the original middles being ends and the original ends being middles.

Once again this leaves everyone on the wrong side, but this time the set is completely reversed with the original top couple at the bottom and so on. The whole thing is then repeated, to get each man back to his original place.

The third figure is Outsides. After a step-up, the first pair turn in towards the centre of the set, but keep turning and skip down the outside of the set to end up at the bottom. Meanwhile the other six dancers move up one place, turning out as they do so and eventually facing up.

This is repeated three more times, so that each dancer in turn gets to the front and then goes down to the bottom, after which (unless he’s one of the last pair) he starts moving up again. Each dancer eventually returns to his original place.

The fourth figure is a Short Hey. After the chorus, working in two sets of four everyone faces in and passes their partner by the right and then their neighbour by the left, then partner right, neighbour left, partner right and neighbour left. Everyone is now on the wrong side of the set in the wrong place.The Chorus and figure are repeated to get everyone back to original places.

The fifth and final figure is a Grand Hey; the call is “Middles”, this being a reminder that to start this figure the middle pairs have to face each other (the second pair facing down and the third facing up). The first and fourth pairs face across the set. Everyone dances right round the set, passing alternatively right and left shoulders as in the Short Hey. By way of variation however, after every two passes, everyone does a step up and back towards the next man. This is repeated four times, which gets everyone back to where he started.

After the Grand Hey, everyone faces in; the dance finishes with a step up into the centre to form a straigt line, everyone then polkaing for two bars and finishing with feet together and hands down by his sides like other Rumworth dances

... and if you thought that was confusing, you should try the 12 man version!