Cotswold Notes: Upton-upon-Severn: Upton-upon-Severn Stick Dance

Phrasing

(A+B)x5+A. A & B are each 8 bars. Musically it has 6 beat bars but they are danced as 4 counts.

Props

Long stick in Rh.

Ending

All facing up sticks in arch with partner’s.

Chorus 1 = Staves

Clash sticks with partner eight times like stave fighting [holding stick with both hands, hands at ends, hit stick centres] with sticks angled diagonally in alternate directions for alternate hits [start Rh down, Lh up]]. No stepping. One clash per beat.

Then a small acw solo circle on the floor in 4 basics.

Chorus 2 & 5 = Single Sticking

Like Staves except that the clashing is like sword fighting [hold stick near end in Rh, clash forehand alternately up and down, stand as if sabre fencing [but closer together obviously]].

This is easiest to not as separate clashes or by lots of wrist action but simply by moving the stick tip continuously in a large vertical circle [the hand move in a small circle and the stick itself traces out a cone].

Chorus 3 & 6 = Double Sticking

Like Single Sticking but holding the stick like a broadsword [two handed].

Chorus 4 = Staves

Like Ch 1 but actually try to push your partner backwards.

Extra Clashes and Stamps

End all verses and each half of every chorus with two stamping steps. Stamp likewise on the 2 beats before the start of the dance. Clash on the first beat of all verses.

Rounds

Timing for the sticks is clash uft on the first beat of the first bar are then held on R shoulder until the 1st beat of the 4th bar whereupon they are moved to pointing towards the point on the ground at centre of the circle.

Differences from a Border Morris Version

There are rather a lot of differences between this Cotswold & Border versions of this dance! The Border version has the 'Hey on the Sides' called 'Upton Hey'; ‘Rounds’ called 'Morris'; ‘Sticking’ called 'Fighting'; the Hey at the Ends done at the other ends; only the last two Ch done twice; ‘Back to Backs’ are done at double the speed with solo circles appended to take up the time; the clashing in the first 3 Ch done at half speed; 'Double' meaning "full speed" in clashing instead of "two handed"; the Single Sticking is omitted with the Staves moved into its place and 'Butts and Tips' clashing taking the place of Staves; pushing partner in Staves done both times; the sides to advance & retire in Staves are pre-planned; there is a 4th verse, 'Cross & Turn', added in so the dance ends on a 6th verse, Rounds, instead of on the 6th Ch; the Basic step is a Border step-hop; stepping continues on the spot whilst clashing; staves starts Lh down not Rh down [painful to get partners inconsistent!]; and it ends with all the sticks up in the middle & dropped instead of All Up & Show. [Source = Flying Tatters.]

Variation 1

Even amongst Cotswold sides this dance varies a lot. For example, Gibbet Hill Morris do the choruses like Border ‘Double’ ones not like Lagabag and the verses are Rounds | Ch 1 | Hey on the Ends | Ch 2 | Hey | Ch 3 | Cross & Turn [like Border but starting with a backstep followed by fast crossing with a clash]| Ch 4 | Hey on the other Ends | Ch 5 | Rounds | Ch 6.

Variation 2

The original version of this dance had verses were like in this Lagabag version but had the choruses all the same ((slowly clash tips up forehand with partner then ditto butts down backhand) x 2) and is rarely done because it is boring. Hence many different modern sides improved it in slightly different ways. [Source = Mike.]

Source of Information

Learnt as part of Lagabag Morris’s dance repertoire.

Further Information

This page only contains features specific to this dance. Where not specified, the features of this dance are in common with other dances in this tradition.


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