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The Ilmington dances DDMM do

  • Bumpus O Stretton
  • Cuckoo's Nest
  • Haste to the Wedding
  • Jubilee
  • Black Joke

Not done nowadays: Old Woman, Shepherd's hey.
Last updated 16 10 19

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General stuff about Ilmington dances

Up to a few years ago DDMM danced Ilmington in a rather idiosyncratic way, so videos older than 2000 should be viewed with care! Now, thanks to men from the former Milton Morris, we now dance the tradition in very similar style to the current Ilmington Morris Men. We’re indebted to them for the private ‘Ilmington teaching notes’ which inform the descriptions below.
Usual stepping sequence: 2 bars Double Step (DS) and 2 single steps (SiS) with handkerchiefs down and up, or sticks held loosely at slight dip when not clashing. When turning on SiS, handkerchiefs down by sides on 2nd SiS. Then feet together jump (FtJ) (and clash if stick dance). There’s also a side-step, described under Haste to the Wedding below
Usual common figures (cf):  OY, Foot up (FU), Foot Down (FD), Shoulders (Sh), Back to back (BB), Cross and Turn (CT). Rounds (R). Most df’s feature heys (H).
Other general info:

  • OY:  Dance starts with set facing across. OY is a jump to face up, no preparatory movement. Hands high if handkerchief dance. Clash if stick.
  • FU followed by FD 2 bars DS facing up, then turn out and round to face across on the 2 SiS. Then stay facing across for 2 bars DS, 2 SiS, FtJ (don’t turn down!)
  • Sh Same track as a half gyp. Left foot start, cross, right shoulders, on 1 bar DS. 2nd bar DS on the spot, then use the 2 SiS to turn out (away from partner), 180° back across the set to place. FtJ. Then repeat, other side, starting right foot. Important to be on the correct foot so that you turn the correct way on the 2 SiS
  • BB  ‘normal’ BB pattern (go left to cross rt shoulder, go behind partner, back to place, repeat on other side). Stepping and feet as per Sh, but this time, because you have gone behind your partner, the 180° turn on SiS turns you inwards towards your partner
  • CT 1 bar DS across, start left foot, then turn sharply cw 90° (so face up or down the set (up if you started as evens and are now on the odds side, down if you started as odds). Do 2nd of bar DS. Then turn out on the spot on the 2 SiS, which will bring you back to facing across. Then second half of figure, which is the same in reverse, start rt foot, cross left shoulders etc. End with FtJ.
  • R tops and bottoms dance 1 bar Ds on the spot before starting into a cw round. Middles turn on the 1st bar but also move out to make the rounds circular. All go round on 2nd  bar of DS, 2 SiS, FtJ to get back to into a set (each man should have moved around 3 places). 2nd half is repeat (so cw again). At the end, come back into a set facing across, FjT, and that’s the end of the dance
  • Hey Here’s the pattern. Dfs may involve doing 1 half of the hey then a figure then the other half hey. NB the 2 SiS come at different times depending on where you are.
    • Tops go down the set side by side until past the middles, they then diverge to let the bottoms come through. End in bottom position. Face each other then do quick turn on the spot down the set to face across, using the 2 SiS. Then FtJ to face across
    • Bottoms  do quick turn on the spot down the set to face across on 2 SiS. They dance up the set on 2 DS to the top diverging in the 2nd DS to let the middles come through. FtJ to face across.
    • Middles, move back out and up to let the tops through, using 1 bar DS, coming back together to face at tops position, then do quick turn on the spot up the set to face down on 2 SiS. They then use 1 bar DS to return to middle place, shoulder to shoulder down the set, and into place on FtJ.
    • Second half of the hey is the inverse of this: old tops move then turn. Old bottoms turn then move. Middles move, turn, move. All end up in proper positions.
    • NB when moving down middle of set, stay shoulder to shoulder. When turning, stay shoulder to shoulder. This involves coming to face each other about 2ft apart, before a swift turn out and away from each other.

About how DDMM do specific Ilmington dances

Black Joke

A dance that can be done with sticks or with bare hands. It can also be danced 'short': that's interspersing common figures with half-choruses (clapping and half hey) rather than full choruses (clapping, first half of hey, clapping, 2nd half of hey) - cf Bumpus.

Normal version of hand clapping dance is as follows: Pattern OY, FU, df, Sh, BB, df, CT, df, R and finish. Half way through and end of each cf is 3 C (hands going round and round at sides), then FtJ, clapping hands together at face height as you land. OY is 3C (turn 30 degrees towards up on each caper) FtJ to face up, half way through FU, use single steps to turn and face before the 3C FtJ. When not capering / clapping hands go down and up.

Df: = clapping, half hey, clapping half hey. Clapping = (clap tog,clap rt knee,clap rt across to partner, clap tog, clap l knee,clap l across to partner, clap under rt thigh, clap tog, clap under l thigh, clap tog, clap in front, clap behind, lean across the set with your partner for a while (watch 1st couple), half hey).

Video of Ilmington doing this dance

Bumpus O Stretton

Pattern is df1, Sh, df2, BB, df1, CT, df2, R (which ends the dance). No OY
Df – a 2 X 2 dance 1st couple start, joined by second, then all 3 couples. All start facing, each pair comes in with a jump to face up, 2 bars DS, 2 SiS, FtJ, then continues until all 3 couples dancing up. On final FtJ start half hey. Df1 – first half of the half hey. Df2 – second half of the half hey. Got to keep your wits about you! Here's video of DDMM practicing Bumpus

Cuckoo’s nest

With rustic sticks. Pattern is OY, FU, df, Sh, df, BB, df, CT, df, R to finish
Df. Face across. Sticking (evens hold sticks horizontal, odds strike down with tips 3X. The same, evens striking odds 3X. Then clash across the set, eye height, 7X ((tips forehand, butts backhand ) X 3 then a final tips forehand. Then half hey) repeat all.

Haste to the Wedding

Handkerchief dance with corners, no hey. Pattern is OY, FU, FD, df, Sh, df, BB, df, CT, df, R and finish.
Df (each corner in turn) performed by Numbers 1 and 6, 2 and 5, 3 and 4, in turn, after the FtJ at the end of each movement, as follows:

  • Side-step right then side-step left, each moving you towards the middle of the set.
  • Four capers making a complete circle to the left, around each other. Ends up so your back is to your place.
  • Two DS. The first is done facing  in the middle, the second is done moving backwards into place.
  • Then three capers and a FtJ on the spot.
  • Sidesteps are open, with leading hand doing a high twist inwards, as if combing the hair backwards. In capers the hand movements are low twists with both hands as if skipping with an imaginary rope
  • 2nd and 3rd corners come in with FtJ. All do FtJ at the end.

No DDMM videos of this, but Yately Morris do it in very similar fashion  (not quite as we do it in the df after the 4 capers round each other, or at the very end of Rounds). But close enough to be helpful!


With rustic sticks. Pattern is OY, df, Sh, df, BB, df, CT, df, R to finish
Df. Face across. Sticking (all clashes across the set, high, with tips). General wristy action. (Clash forehand with partner, forehand with person to left (or the air), then 3 clashes with partner: backhand, forehand, backhand, forehand clash with person to your right (or the air), half hey) repeat all.
2019 video of DDMM doing a variety of dances at Peterborough Day of Dance. Ilmington Jubilee starts c 11.55 min in


Here's a video of the Ilmington Jig Nelson's Praise, danced by Nigel Strudwick, playing by Helen Strudwick.