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The Lichfield dances DDMM do

  • Jenny Lind
  • Milley's Bequest
  • Ring O Bells
  • Sherrif's Ride
  • Vandalls

Not done nowadays: Dance 1 etc.
Last updated 22 10 19

Work in progress

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General stuff about Lichfield dances

A varied tradition, danced as 8 man sets, includes stick and handkerchief dances, The hey is unusual and requires some precision to make it look good.
Usual stepping sequence: 2 bars Double Step (DS), except Ring O’ Bells (RoB) and Jenny Lind which are all single step (SiS). Most dances include ‘swing backs’ (SB) half way through and at the end of figures. Start right foot unless instructed otherwise! Handkerchiefs generally down and up.
Usual common figures (cf): 
Walk (or swagger) round (WR), Back to Back (BB), Heading up (HU), Heading down (HD), Lichfield Hey (LH). Milley’s Bequest includes several unusual cf, described later.
Other general info:

  • SB: Swing backs. A move in which the ‘free’ leg (the one you are not standing on), is swung out behind you to the side, then across to your midline and brought down to the floor at your side. You transfer your weight onto the other foot and swing your new ‘free leg’ backwards in the same fashion. Usually you are using SBs to move backwards. 4 SBs usually done half way through a figure. Then at end of a figure, 3SBs to move, and a caper back in your place (but see individual dances). SBs start with rt leg free (ie your right foot is in the air as you start). SBs will make your body sway a bit, but try to keep your upper body erect. Hands outstretched at sides in balance.
  • OY: is just a bit of music – 2 notes or more depending on the dance. Milley’s Bequest is different (see below)
  • WR: The 2 sides of the set walk round each other in an oval, not much wider than the set. Odds go outside, cw, evens inside ccw. At foot of set evens take the outside path, odds go inside. Walking (dancing in RoB and Jenny Lind), is with swagger / intent, keeping time with music. Tops need to get back to place in reasonable time to ensure that bottoms aren’t stranded. End with caper in place facing across.
  • BB: 2 bars stepping, to cross right shoulder with partner and go round him into a line, then just past (may necessitate not going out the whole set width. Return to place on 4 SBs (you can’t start the SB until you are just past the in line position or legs will tangle!). 2nd half is reverse, followed by 3 SB and caper in place. In some dances, end with 2C and a show.
  • HU: 1st couple dance on the spot and 2nd couple come up on the outside to form a line of 4 across. Same with 3rd and 4th couples. Dance on the spot in lines, then 3 SB, which 2nd, 4th couples travel on the return to place, 1st and 3rd couples do on the spot. Then all C in place.
  • HD: Inverse of HU. All face down the set. 2nd, 4th couples stay in place, 1st, 3rd move. The rest of the figure follows the HU pattern.
  • LH: Track as shown in the image below. A snappy figure, best danced going no further than the confines of the set, and with the moving pairs trying to stay parallel to each other. Sequence by set position numbers is:
    1. 1 and 4 cross on the diagonal, crossing right shoulders, so do 5 and 8 (red lines on diag) in parallel with 1,2.
    2. Then 2 and 3 cross, and 6, 7 too, also right shoulders (blue lines on diag), also parallel with 2,3
    3. Then there’s a very brief pause, then ends cross left shoulders across the set and middles do too, but they cross in parallel, up and down the set (green lines on diag). The men ending up in 2 and 7 usually make a quick spin out on the spot before they cross diagonal again in move 4.
    4. Repeat moves 1,2,3 (same positions, but the moves of 1,2,3 have of course put different men into each set position.)
    5. On the very last move of the hey, men return to place on 2 capers and clash (stick dances) (but see each dance!)
    6. The arrows show the direction of travel of no1 as he goes through the hey, via set positions 4,6,7,8,5,3,2 and back to 1
    lichfield hey path
  • Heading out (HO) In Ring O Bells. 2 parts. First is normal HU, 1 bar to move up / dance on spot, 1 bar on spot, 4 SBs to return to place, then all 4 couples up to face music in 1 line: 1st couple in centre, 2nd couple outside them, 3rd outside 2nd  etc. Use 2 bars to get there / dance on spot. Then finish dance with 3 capers and shout, clashing your own sticks above your head. We used to then throw them over our shoulders, but don’t anymore…
  • At the end of a dance, after all up, music resumes and couples walk down the centre of the set, 2X2 and off. If sticks, the odds side give sticks to no 7, evens to no 8.

About how DDMM do specific Lichfield dances

Jenny Lind

Stick dance, with long stick held in left hand, short stick in right. Single step throughout. Pattern is: OY, WR, df, HU, df, BB, df, HD, df, LH, df. Dance ends after final df (after the fast sticking). WR is done dancing (single step). Cf end with 2 swing backs and a caper, feet together, clashing own sticks together
DF is sticking, repeated. Sticking is done with partner, facing across.

  1. Bend from waist to tap long stick’s tip on the floor 2X. Then straighten up.
  2. Hit your long stick (horizontal) with your short stick X2, then tips clash short sticks across with partner X2
  3. Repeat 2 three times
  4. Repeat 1
  5. Repeat 2, but only once
  6. Holding long stick by the middle, in front of you and to the left side, hit it with short stick 4X –on tip, on butt, on tip, on butt,. Then clash short stick across 3X with partner.
  7. On the very final df do 4,5,6 fast.

Blurry video from 2009 Ale

Milley’s Bequest

An interesting and complex dance which incorporates unusual Lichfield figures such as rounds-four (R4), cross-over  (CO) and doubling up (DU) as well as the familiar BB. It also features ‘galley-overs’ (GO), once described as ‘trying to jump over your own leg’.
Pattern is: OY, FU, FD, df, BB, df, CO, df, R4, df, DU, df. End with 4 capers up instead of the final GO.
For full details see our .pdf file on Milley’s Bequest.
DDMM practice Milley’s bequest – Lichfield.  Password protected DDMM123hop. NB be patient after putting in password

Ring O Bells

Dance with 2 long sticks. Dance done with single stepping. Pattern is: OY, df, BB, df, LH, df, HO. OY is danced round rather that walked. HO was described above. Come back from 2nd half of BB with 2 capers, clash (?).
Df is

  1. Strike across set to your right with your right  stick
  2. Strike your partner’s left stick with your left stick
  3. Strike across set to your left with your right stick
  4. Strike your partner’s left stick with your left stick
  5. Repeat 1,2,3,4
  6. Sticks at your sides, do 4 capers, facing: up, out, down, in
  7. Hold your left stick out sideways, nearly horizontal, and with your right stick clash downwards to your right on the stick your neighbour is holding towards you
  8. Repeat 1 to 7
  9. Hands rise and fall as ticking, to give a sort of impression of bell ringing

Blurry video from 2009 Ale

Sherriff’s Ride

Handkerchief dance. Pattern is OY, WR, df, HU, df, BB, df, HD, df, LH, df. Final df ends with 4 capers up (turn 30°, 60°, 90° on 2nd 3rd 4th capers, hands circling and up at the end) after the ‘flicks’. HU, HD, 4 bars of stepping, then, still in lines, ’push’ to the left, then ‘push’ to the right before returning on SBs. ‘Push’ = a closed sidestep in which body turns 45° to the left (or right), while hands push out in front of the body at thigh height, fists together. At  the end of the LH, return to place on DS, and 1 caper rather than a series of capers.
DF is

  1. 2 sharp handkerchief movements from shoulder level flicking towards face of opposite, while rising a bit onto your toes
  2. Step backwards c 30cm, onto your right foot, hands going out to your sides
  3. Without moving forwards, put your left foot down and hop on it, swinging your right foot forwards and back and bringing both hands in to your chest
  4. Jump forwards onto both feet, back in set, hands flicking high to front of you
  5. Repeat 1-4, but left foot back, hop on rt etc.


Single stick, held diagonally in 2 hands, butt to left, except when striking (when both hands at butt end). Pattern is OY, WR, df, HU, df, BB, df, HD, df, LH, df. Dance ends at end of final df, when all turn to face up on CCS (= 2 capers, then feet together, stick in ‘show’, horizontally above head). CCS also at the end of WR, HU, BB (though Black Book says 2 SB and C), HD, LH (instead of SB). Some sides clash on CCS, instead of ‘show’, either all the time or at the end of figures.
DF is sticking and side-step. Sticking = Strike diagonally across to left (or the air), strike diagonally across to right (or the air), then across the set with partner, going forehand, backhand, forehand. Stick clash is high, with tips, energetic and gets more so as the dance progresses. Sidestep is open sidestep right, open sidestep left, doing a DS with an emphasis on the hop. CCS. Then repeat sticking and ss.
Blurry video from 2009 Ale