We currently perform four longsword dances. The first is our own dance which was composed with help from Trevor Stone. It was originally based on the 8-man Skelton dance but very quickly evolved into a two figure dance for seven dancers, one of whom acted as Captain. A shortage of dancers in our first season led to changes in the dance with the figures being adapted for six dancers. More recently a third figure has been developed with a very distinctive "impossible" lock.
Following the visit of Orion Longsword, from Boston (Massachusetts) to the first International Sword Spectacular at Scarborough, Trevor Stone contacted them to ask permission for us to perform their own dance "North Shirley Volunteers". This dance is for 6 dancers and a Captain and had been written by Orion as part of a workshop by Trevor when he had visited North America. Not only did they give us permission to learn and perform the dance but they also provided a complete written notation. When Orion visited the Millennium Sword Spectacular held in Whitby in 2000, they insisted that we perform the dance for them and on the final day we performed the dance outside the Goathland Hotel as a joint team with 3 dancers from Orion and 3 dancers from Seven Stars.
We perform 4 of the 5 published figures of the longsword dance from North Skelton and recently we have added a fourth dance which we call "Makerfield". It is a complete contrast in style to our other dances as it is done to a slower marching step rather than the more energetic movements in our other dances.
We also currently have two Rapper dances. Most of the team had danced with other Rapper teams and the first dance was put together into a sequence using figures that most of the team already knew. This dance starts with the Calling On Song by the Tommy and usually ends with all six dancers forming the Nut.
The second dance is performed to "Seven Stars Jig" and "Wigan Peer" (sic), a tune composed by Keith Holloway as an accompaniment to a clog dance (Geoff Hughes' 6 Step Hornpipe). However, it makes a superb Rapper tune for our second dance which has undergone quite a few transformations since we first started putting it together a few years ago. The dance currently consists of 3 figures, each starting with a variation of Single Guard, followed by a Guard or Coach and Horses stepping figure. This is then followed by a figure which displays the swords in a pattern before finishing with a Twos and Threes type figure and the final Nut is displayed to the audience. This pattern is followed in each figure with the individual elements of the figure becoming more complex as the dance progresses. A fourth figure is in the pipeline.
Our clog routines are a mixture of traditional and contemporary dances and include dances by Pat Tracey, Carol Loughlin, Alex Woodcock and, of course, Geoff Hughes. Most of them have been choreographed by the team in our own, unique fashion.
The Waltz is a set of 12 waltz steps which was the first routine that we put together back in 1996. Although the steps stay the same we have different versions of the dance according to the number of dancers available and the shape and space available!
The Hornpipe is a dance for 4 dancers which uses a mixture of traditional steps as well as some composed by members of the team
The Schottische is a set of steps from the dancing of Alex Woodcock which we have choreographed for 4, or preferably 5, dancers.
The New Schottische is a selection of 6 steps from 3 traditional dancers which was taught to members of the team by Jean Smith at a clog weekend workshop.
The Lancashire Irish is a well known set of steps from Pat Tracey's collection. The choreography is our own which gives it a very Irish feel.
The Gwent Reel is the first Welsh dance we learnt and was taught to us by Carol Loughlin.
Coleg y Brifysgol Abartawe, another Welsh dance written by Carol Loughlin to a tune by Pat Shaw
Westmorland Reel a set of Lakeland steps
French Canadian is traditionally danced in hard shoes but we do it in clogs!
Back to Basics is a set of 12 hornpipe steps from Geoff's early repertoire which he first danced many, many years ago and recently revived as they are excellent steps and need to be performed and seen again. Most of them can be found in Geoff's book "Clog Steps for Beginners"!
We also perform some of Pat Tracey's Heel and Toe routines and some more steps and dances are "under development".