Cotswold Notes: Bampton: Common Features

Form

3 couples, longways set.

Props

Two hankies.

Verses

Foot up | Ch | Half Gyp | Ch | Whole Gyp | Ch |Rounds | Ch [ending with, in 1 caper] All Up & Show.

In corner dances, the last Ch is omitted so the dance ends on Rounds.

Each verse takes two basics.

Phrasing

(A+Bx2)x4 for non-corner dances, (A+Bx3)x3+A for corner dances. A & B are each 8 bars.

Basic

(Hop-step) x 7 then FTJ [1 beat for each hop & step & 2 for FTJ; note that is a quicker FTJ than in most traditions and hop-step not step-hop]. It can be done wholly forwards or 3 hop-forwards then reversing back into place. Successive Basics are started on different feet.

Hands go up [straight arms, theta = 45 deg, phi = ± 45 deg] on the 1st and 3rd hops, down [hands together close infront of chest] on 2nd hop and the jump and swing across one infront and the other behind the belly alternately on the remaining 4 hops.

The timing feels syncopated with the hands going up before when they would be expected to go up from other traditions.

Turning

When a 180 deg turns is needed and there is possibility of doing inwards or outwards, always turn inwards except in the middle of Rounds.

Foot Up

The Bampton ‘Foot Up’ is actually a Foot Up followed by a Foot Down [each consisting of half a Basic forwards then half a Basic backwards]. Turn 180 deg inwards on the jump change between the two.

Ending

The Show ends with both hands up [phi = ±90 deg, theta = 45 deg] and the Rft in the air. It is done by replacing the last bar of the last Basic with one normal Caper then Caper into the Show position.

Sidesteps Across

To sidestep across the set, start with Rsh in intended direction of movement and (R sidestep + turn 180 deg cw + L sidestep + turn 180 deg acw)x2. Four bars.

Bampton Capers

A forward Bampton caper is RF + leapLF + hopLI. It takes one bar: two beats for the leap, one for the hop and step. If using hankies, hands go straight up high above head on the leap [hint: start with arms low so they start moving up before the leap so accelerating them up does not reduce the leap height] then down on the Lhop. The leap part is almost like a normal caper except for the arm motion & that it has more appearance of vertical body motion than kicking leg motion [keep body stiffly upright; the RF step is very brief so the emphasis is on the leap; step on Rft with R knee slightly bent ready to launch into the leap].

Unless specifically stated to be so, capers in Bampton are normal capers not Bampton capers.

Hey on the Side

When doing this in two basics, replace the first two bars of each Basic with triple steps. One hanky goes up on the hop of those triple steps with the other arm down. It is the hanky on the outside of the first turn of the Hey that goes up on the first triple step and the other on the second.

Variation

Instead of moving hands on the hop before the step, the hands can be moved on the step without the syncopation. Both forms are common with some sides [e.g. Lagabag & East Suffolk] doing one and some [e.g. Westrefelda & Owlswick] the other.

This can cause some untidy looking mixture of arm movement timings when different sides dance together. The normal solution is for the guest side to switch to the host side’s timing or for the dances to be arranged in some symmetrical fashion (e.g. two sets from different sides facing or even & odds from different sides) to make a feature of it.

Miscellaneous

Bampton is usually considered an easy tradition and therefore a good one to begin on. The things which make it seem easier are that it is very popular so that experienced Cotswold dancers get used to it and forget about having had to learn it, and that there are many similar dances so that once one has learnt something like Banbury Bill one gets several other dances almost for free. However the Basic step is quite complicated, is not as easy to follow as some other traditions with more distinct stepping, has hands out of synch with feet and the music and stepping changes for Heys so it is not actually an easy tradition for beginners.

Further Information

This page only contains features specific to this tradition. Where not specified, the features of this tradition are in common with Cotswold Morris in general.


[Bampton] [Different Traditions] [Abbreviations] [General Cotswold Morris Features]