Cornish Dance In Schools Project: Cornwall Heritage Trust / Lowender Peran
Cornwall has a rich heritage of traditional dance which reflects its social history and industrial geography. The aim of this project is to introduce beginners to these dances. Previous knowledge though helpful is not necessary. This pack is designed to help teachers engage children with Cornwall’s dancing tradition. There are eight dances in this pack which are selected and adapted to teach children basic steps and patterns of Cornish dance.
Each dance in this pack has a set of dance instructions with music score; a video of children performing the dance; and an audio stream of the music for teachers to use with their own pupils.
The Seiners Dance is adapted from the Newquay Heva Dance for use in classroom or ceiligh situations. This dance is great as an introduction to steps and working with a partner. The Heva Dance celebrates the seine fishing industry in Newquay, Cornwall.
North Cornwall Furry
This is a furry dance from North Cornwall which is still an integral part of the Bodmin Riding Day celebrations.
This dance was a gift to the Lowender Peran Celtic festival in October 1988 by the Heriott Watt University dancers from Scotland, to celebrate the festival’s tenth anniversary. The dance has been used ever since, and is a very popular community dance.
Old Hand In Hand
Stories about the Midsummer Bonfire Tradition in Cornwall (Golowan) talk about the “peculiar hand in hand dance”. In 1991 the Cornish Dance team Ros Keltek met a lady who provided a description.
Mr Martin’s Reel
This dance was collected from Mr Hedley Martin of Morval near Looe in 1980 and from Mrs Gwen Masters in Blisland in 1997.
Bolingey is a small village on the outskirts of Perranporth. This furry dance was written in 1994 by Laura White, one of the group members, to commemorate the village and its annual fair. The dance is popular for social dances as it allows for improvisation in the second part of the dance, i.e. adding further verses.
Cornish Meeting Dance
The Cornish Meeting Dance was collected in 1951 in Bude and is great fun. In this version children can learn to co-operate with a partner without the need for a more complex understanding of pattern. It is possible for children to provide their own “mouth music” for this dance using the old children’s favourite ‘Cat’s got the measles’.
Newlyn Wheel 1 (School group)
Newlyn Wheel 2 (Tan Ha Dowr Cornish Youth dance display team)
This version of Newlyn Reel is fun as the complex progression has been removed, but the hypnotic rhythm maintained. It is particularly good for teaching listening skills and ability to follow a caller by altering activity in the centre, e.g. hop to the centre and clap or jump to the centre, Number 1s ‘HOY’ Number 2s clap, the possibilities are endless. Esme Francis of St Just collected Newlyn Reel in 1981 from Mr John Williams of Boscreggan, then in his mid 70s. It may encourage the boys in your group to know that it was originally danced only by men (fishermen).
Video Production: Brian Young & Merv Davey
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