Dance Notation
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John Leyland's description of the dance in "The Memorials of Abram", the hand-written notation in Richard Porter's personal dance notebook, Maud Karpeles' correspondence concerning the dance over a period of some 40 years, her original and amended published descriptions of the dance and the passed-down teaching of Douglas Kennedy have all contributed to the dance performed by the Abram Morris Dancers today.
The following notation is intended to describe the dance as danced in Abram annually on the last Saturday in June. In 1880 there were fourteen dancers and in 1901 there were eighteen. We have danced it with anything from twelve to eighteen dancers and in our experience we have found that the dance works best with fourteen dancers. The absolute minimum number of dancers required is twelve. 
Formation:
Dancers are in pairs, or couples and the dance starts with the dancers standing evenly spaced around a circle all facing the centre, with the "outside" dancer standing on the left of the "inside" dancer in each pair. The Maypole bearer and the Queen, with her attendant King, pass to the centre of the circle and when all are ready the music strikes up.
Feet and Hands:
The dance is performed using a gentle "single step" or "skip step" throughout i.e. step right, hop right; step left, hop left, and so on. All movements start by stepping onto the right foot.
A white handkerchief is carried in each hand, held by one corner, and the arms are swung alternately in time to the music to just above shoulder height so that the handkerchief "stands up" naturally (without any "flick"). The pattern is exactly the same as when walking - i.e. the right hand starts to rise as the step is taken onto the right foot and is fully raised as the hop is made on the right foot with the left foot lifted (opposite hands and feet in the air!) 
The Figures:
Once to yourself (8 bars):
Dancers stand in the circle as described above. During the last two bars, the "outside" dancers take 4 paces backwards, moving in an arc and turning 90 to their left while the "inside" dancers take 4 paces forwards also moving in an arc and turning 90 to their left to finish standing side by side and facing clockwise around the circle.
A: (8 bars):
Couples dance clockwise around the circle. During the last bar they face each other, "inside" dancers with their backs to the centre of the circle and all throw up both hands overhead on the last beat of the bar.
B: (8 bars):
1-4 Partners dance "back-to-back" passing right shoulders, throwing up both hands overhead on the last beat of the 4th bar
5-8 Partners dance "back-to-back" passing left shoulders, throwing up both hands overhead on the last beat of the 8th bar and turning to face clockwise around the circle once again.
C: (8 bars):
1-4
Couples dance clockwise around the circle as in A: During the 4th bar they make a 180 turn (started by turning in towards each other) to finish facing anti-clockwise round the circle and throw up both hands overhead on the last beat as before.
5-8 Couples dance anti-clockwise round the circle, turning to face each other during the final bar and throwing up hands on the last beat as before.
D: (12 bars):
1-2
Standing still, dancers raise their right hand to head height and sweep it down and round in a large circle in front of the body in an anti-clockwise direction to finish with the arm stretched out to the right, just below shoulder height and at the same time making a small bow to partners.
3-4 Repeat with the left arm swinging round in a clockwise direction, bowing as before
5-8 Dancers throw up both hands overhead on the first beat of the 5th  bar and dance round in a small individual circle to their right (clockwise) to finish facing partners
9-12 Dancers throw up both hands overhead on the first beat of the 9th bar and dance round in a small individual circle to their left (anti-clockwise) back to partners and continue for another quarter turn to finish with the "outside" dancers facing clockwise round the large circle while the "inside" dancers finish facing anti-clockwise in their own inner circle.
N.B. There are no other hand movements in this figure, arms hanging naturally down by sides.
E: (16 bars):
"Outside" dancers dance round clockwise while the "inside" dancers dance round anti-clockwise. The number of circuits is dependent on the number of dancers and the size of the circles which should not be allowed to get smaller! It is important that each dancer finishes the movement facing the centre of the circle with the "outside" dancer on the left of his own partner. The "inside" dancers should continue just past their partner and then make a three-quarter turn to their right to finish facing the centre of the circle to the right of their own partner. Ideally this occurs during the last bar  of the music. All throw up both hands overhead on the last beat of the final bar as before, facing the centre of the circle.
F: (16 bars):
1-8
All advance slowly towards the centre of the circle forming a tight ring around the Maypole, Queen and King and throw up both hands overhead on the last beat of the final bar as before.
9-16 All dance slowly back to place forming an evenly spaced circle. During the last bar couples turn to face in a clockwise direction around the circle as they did during the "Once to yourself" but still stepping. All throw up both hands overhead on the last beat of the final bar.
The whole dance is then repeated but this time during the final bar the dancers continue to face the centre and on the first beat of the bar the feet are placed together and both hands are swung up overhead and on the second beat they continue to be swung, with a very firm movement, down and out to the sides to finish held out wide at shoulder level.
The dancers remain in this position until the Leader lowers his arms to signal the end of the dance.
Printed Notation Abram Morris Dancers 2003

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