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The Headington dances DDMM do

  • Constant Billy
  • Laudnum Bunches

Not done nowadays: Bean Setting, Blue-eyed Stranger, Hunt the Squirrel, Rodney, Trunkles, Twenty-ninth of May.
Last updated 16 10 19

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General stuff about Headington dances

A tradition usually danced quite fast. We currently only do Laudnum Bunches but are hoping to revive Constant Billy in 2020
Usual stepping sequence: Brisk double step with hankies held by all 4 corners. Usually 2 bars DS then cross back steps (XBS) (but see Laudnum Bunches). Start right foot with all figures.
Usual common figures (cf):  OY, Foot up (FU), Foot Down (FD), Cross-over (CO), Back to back (BB), Hey (H)
Other general info:

  • Stick dances use short sticks
  • Some figures differ quite a bit between the 2 dances we do, so are described separately for each. Most stick dances follow the general pattern of Constant Billy, but Laudnum Bunches differs significantly from other Headington handkerchief dances, which do have XBS.
  • XBS:  Properly there should be three of these: right across left, left across right, right across left finishing with a jump straight off the crossed feet. Most sides opt for the simpler alternative of single-steps.  If doing with sticks, hold them down by your side, and ‘present’ at end of the jump. If handkerchiefs, do 3 twists horizontal twists just above the head, then down a bit and up for the jump, ending in a wee twist.
  • In stick dances the evens side present stick holding it horizontally in the middle for odds to strike down onto half way through and at the end of figures and XBS. This is done facing across at chin height except in FU, and all up, when the clash is at waist height, facing up.
  • OY varies according to dance
  • FU may be FU followed by FD, or FU twice
  • CO 1 bar DS to cross rt shoulders. On reaching other side, turn smartly and come in face to face with partner on 2nd DS. Back to place on XBS. Second half just the same (cross rt shoulder again)
  • BB 1 bar DS across, 1 to cross behind partner, back on XBS. Normal second half, crossing left shoulders.
  • Hey 2 bars DS + XBS. Need to turn fast, tight set: ideally you need to be back in place for the XBS. Easy for middles to get stranded if top couple don’t turn tight and fast.

About how DDMM do specific Headington dances

Constant Billy

OY, FU, FU, df, CO, df, BB, df, end all up at the end of the last df hey. DDMM version, done single stick, faster music. DF = ((sticking = 4 bars sticking: strike on third beat of bar (rhythm is pause pause clash pause) do this 3X: 1st time evens present and odds strike evens butts, then odds present, then evens present. Then in last bar odds present evens strike, pause, both then clash tips across, pause) meanwhile 2 hops for each of the 4 bars: left left |right right | left left | right left |. Then half hey). Rpt sticking and half hey.
Most sides do this dance with 2 sticks ( = tips: tog, rt across, tog, l across, tog, rt across, l across, rt across, half hey, rpt all. Just standing still, no hopping)

Laudnum Bunches

Corner dance, handkerchiefs, with 4 capers (4C) instead of XBS (hands do 2 high twists on capers 1&2, down and up on capers 3&4. Pattern is OY, FU, FD, df1, CO, df1, BB, df2, Hey, df2, Ring and in.
FU (2 bars DS, turn out on the 4C). FD (2 bars DS, turn in to face across on the 4C). CO, BB Hey normal (2 bars DS, 4C).
DF is corners, Df1: 6 bars DS then 4C. 1st bar on spot, then cross on double step (hands down and up) using 3 bars to cross out of the set and turn back to opposite corner, then final 2 bars come into centre opposite partner. Then do the 4C, using them to fall backwards to your original place. Corners come in with a jump. All do 4C with middles as they finish. Df2. 1 bar on the spot, then 1 bar inwards, to do step together. Then 2 bars of caper sequence, which takes you out of the set, round and ready to come back in again, then do 2 bars DS in to the middle, 4C back to place. Corners come in with a jump. All do 4C with middles as they finish.
Caper sequence in df2 is: caper, caper, feet together (a jump landing with both feet together), caper (count is ‘1,2,together,4), hands going down and up.
In final df, after middle couple dance out and back, the other 4 join them for the 2 bars DS, forming a ring, then all do 4C in to finish the dance.
Blurry video from 2009