The  Eynsham dances 

Eynsham Morris only perform dances from our own  'tradition'. Dances have been collected (or devised) at various times over the past hundred years and more.The current team has benefited from the memories of old dancers and their families, the collectors who have come to  Eynsham in the past (notably Cecil Sharp and Lionel Bacon), and the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library at Cecil Sharp House in London.

There are at present up to fifteen dances in the repertoire, including revivals of some not danced since the early 1920s; Ada Gardner, daughter of Fred Horwood, squire of the side in the 1920s, remembered in great detail the distinctive dances done under her father's leadership then. Buff Russell taught the Eynsham Scouts a stick dance in the 1930s. A processional dance has been added.

  • Brighton Camp: the traditional first dance, danced witth eight men. Noted by Cecil Sharp. [See 1993 and 2008 videos]
  • Nutting Girl: similar to Brighton Camp but danced with six men. Collected in the 1930s and given in the morris men's Bible, Lionel Bacon's A Handbook of Morris Dances, as 'The Eynsham Morris'. [See 2003 video]
  • Constant Will: a circle dance -- not performed very often! The tune is in Cecil Sharp's manuscripts. The dance has similarities with 'Jockey to the Fair'. It has been adapted on the basis of descriptions of a 'circle' dance at the beginning of the twentieth century. [See 1982 video]
  • Maid of the Mill: always a favourite. Our 'fertility' dance, danced in a ring around a (usually) young lady. [See 1993 and 2006 videos]
  • Cock of the North: One from the 1930s as described to us by Phil Lambourne.
  • Figure Eight (March Past): One of the most flamboyant dances with its fast-paced figure of eight in the middle. Thought by Bacon to be 'new - an assemblage of remembered figures' when he filmed it in 1937. [See 1937 and 2008 videos]
  • Highland Mary: similar to Nutting Girl but with the figures as danced in the 1930s
  • The Eynsham Poachers: The dance was collected from Ada Gardner. For the complex history of the tune, the song and the dance see The Eynsham Poaching Song page. [See 1993 and 2008 videos]
  • Feathers: The dance was collected from Ada Gardner. The tune is 'The Faerie' which is known to have been a tune used by Eynsham Morris, but you can't call a men's dance that nowadays! [See 2003, 2006 (two) and 2008 videos]
  • Eynsham Scouts Stick Dance: A stick dance collected from Bert Dormer, from the teaching of Buff Russell. We suspect it may have been based on Headington Quarry's 'Bean Setting' but it had been thoroughly 'Eynshamised'!
  • The Mystery Dance: so called because Eynsham Morris were asked to provide a stick dance for a staging of a Mystery play in St Leonard's church. The theme is Noah building his ark. So what other tune to use than 'What Shall We Do With The Drunken Sailor'?
  • Shambles: A stick dance from the fertile imagination of our captain Robin Saunders, after seeing a dance peformed by an American team. Called 'Shambles' because that's what it looked like until we got it right (and occasionally still does...). The tune is the original 'Winster Galop' as collected by Sharp, becuase we needed a three-part tune and it fitted. [See 2003, 2005, 2006 (two) and 2008 videos]
  • Jockey to the Fair: Our traditional closing dance, for all the members present and dancing. It finishes with an enormous (if there are enough men) figure eight at speed. The music is a slightly unusual version of the well-known morris tune, with an 8-bar  'B' music instead of 14 bars, and an additional 8-bar 'C' music. The first part of the dance is described under 'Constant Billy' in Bacon's Handbook. [See 2006, 2007 and 2008 videos]
  • Processional: Danced double-file ad lib occasionally to the tune of 'British Grenadiers' or anything else that takes our fancy.
  • A one-man jig is performed from time to time
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(c) Suzy Prior 

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