The Noah's Ark                   


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Eight dancers in a longways set

Sticking (R L R L down R down L) x 2

1st couple dance on

Arms round; 2nd couple dance on

Corners (1 & 4, 2 & 3); 3rd couple dance on

Right shoulders, feint right; 4th couple dance on

Circular hey
Sticking; 1st couple dance off

Left shoulders, feint left
Sticking; 2nd couple dance off

Star - stick in
Sticking; 3rd couple dance off

Arms round
Sticking; last couple dance off

Virgins beware! This dance sometimes leads into a mummers' play of unimpeachable authenticity - the text was found in the famous Codex Mendaciorum, a history of the early British tribe, the Fracti Saxorum Quadratorum. Any suggestion that this priceless manuscript is similar to sketches by the Barrow on Humber Plough-Jags and the Easter Jolly-Boys is scurrilous gossip.

A dancer is injured. In comes the Doctor, a Man of Integrity:

"I'm not afraid of long, hard graft,
I've travelled far to learn my craft.
Italy, Sicily, France and Spain,
All round England and back again."

He boasts:

"I can cure the ipsy-pipsy, powsey-gout
Pains within and plague without,
If there's nine devils in
I'll kick ten devils out!

Heal the sick, the blind, the lame,
And bring the dead to life again."

All he needs is a virgin....

Donkey Riding

Once more we are lured by the call of the sea. Donkey Riding is a well known shanty. The tune comes in several varieties, and I have to say that ours is not the most interesting, but the ease of performance means that even our least experienced musicians can have fun playing it. We had the  idea that we would introduce extra instruments as each new pair of dancers appeared out of the crowd. I think we did this first at York, on the north side of the minster. The acoustics were great and the sound just grew and grew. A solo flute (concertina in the early days) introduces the dance, followed by drum, strings, second and first squeeze boxes, and whatever else we happen to have. Naturally we wax and then wane as the dancers leave the set, but we come back for a gigantic finale. At Upton on Severn, this season (1998) we had the biggest band yet, including two saxophones, and the effect (to me) was stunning. Ether that or the beer was stronger than I thought.

Format AB Key G
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