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origins of broom dancing

The Sandman 29 Aug 06 - 06:06 PM
Herga Kitty 29 Aug 06 - 06:11 PM
Kaleea 29 Aug 06 - 06:24 PM
open mike 29 Aug 06 - 11:18 PM
Azizi 30 Aug 06 - 12:39 AM
Mo the caller 30 Aug 06 - 01:48 AM
Manitas_at_home 30 Aug 06 - 02:15 AM
sian, west wales 30 Aug 06 - 04:23 AM
fogie 30 Aug 06 - 06:22 AM
GUEST,Mike Gott 30 Aug 06 - 06:40 AM
Trevor 30 Aug 06 - 06:53 AM
Snuffy 30 Aug 06 - 09:06 AM
greg stephens 30 Aug 06 - 09:58 AM
GUEST,Rattler 04 Sep 06 - 07:43 PM
Bunnahabhain 05 Sep 06 - 11:11 AM
sian, west wales 05 Sep 06 - 11:44 AM
DannyC 05 Sep 06 - 12:05 PM
Mo the caller 05 Sep 06 - 03:03 PM
DannyC 17 Oct 07 - 05:12 PM
open mike 17 Oct 07 - 06:00 PM
GUEST,Cats at Work 18 Oct 07 - 04:16 AM
GUEST,Gadaffi 18 Oct 07 - 04:19 AM
GUEST,strad 18 Oct 07 - 07:15 AM
Bill S from Adelaide 18 Oct 07 - 09:02 AM
GUEST,Gadaffi 18 Oct 07 - 10:55 AM
Fidjit 18 Oct 07 - 01:17 PM
Tradsinger 18 Oct 07 - 05:11 PM
mg 18 Oct 07 - 11:18 PM
GUEST,friulana 22 May 10 - 01:49 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 22 May 10 - 03:57 PM
Tradsinger 22 May 10 - 06:40 PM
Jack Campin 22 May 10 - 07:04 PM
open mike 23 May 10 - 04:19 PM
Tug the Cox 23 May 10 - 07:49 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 24 May 10 - 09:20 AM
GUEST,vern brewer 21 Feb 18 - 09:27 PM
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Subject: origins of broom dancing
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Aug 06 - 06:06 PM

Abut twenty years ago, at a pub called the railway, in finningham suffolk, the landlady danced the broom dance.
Does anyone knows the origin of the broom dance .


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Subject: RE: origins of broom dancing
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 29 Aug 06 - 06:11 PM

I remember seeing Taffy Thomas dance the broom dance at Bromyard more than 30 years ago. There's also still a broom dancing competition at Dartmoor festival.

Kitty


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Subject: RE: origins of broom dancing
From: Kaleea
Date: 29 Aug 06 - 06:24 PM

When I sometimes have played in bands for civil war & other reenactors, there is often a dance which calls for one more gentleman than the number of ladies, and when the Music stops (it's usually a waltz), the gentlemen find a new partner. The odd man out has to dance with the broom. I take it that you are not referring to this quite fun dance?
As I recall, Fred Astaire & Gene Kelly (& other dancers) danced with a hatstand, a mop, & a mic stand, a broom, & probably a few other things I can't recall in various films--but not all at the same time of course.


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Subject: RE: origins of broom dancing
From: open mike
Date: 29 Aug 06 - 11:18 PM

in Swedish tradition there is a dance where a woman holds a hat on the end of a broomstick as she stands up on a chair. The man jumps and kicks the broom off of the broomstick. This might be a wedding ritual.


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Subject: RE: origins of broom dancing
From: Azizi
Date: 30 Aug 06 - 12:39 AM

I've never heard of broom dances as a folk dance tradition. This thread prompted me to check out what google has to say about the matter. The first website I visited was http://www.an-daras.com/dance/d_danceindex_p_broomdances.htm

That website provided this information:

"An E Thompson writing in the Old Cornwall Society Magazine 1931 to 36 mentions the Broom dance in relation to the Goldhys at North Hill: "?I must not forget to mention the dance over the Broomstick. This is most interesting especially if someone is present with a concertina. The Dance, I think it is to the tune of So Early In The Morning. It's fine when you hear the heavy boots beating a tattoo on the stone floors, as the dancers first lift one leg then the other, to pass the broomstick from hand to hand, as if they were weaving. What a wonderful time too. As the dance proceeds the musician plays faster and faster and the dancers have to dance faster. It is a marvel how these men, some big and well built, can jump so nimbly as they do in this dance."

-snip-

To demonstrate how customs throughout the world are similar, the comment about "the heavy boots beating a tatoo across the stone floor as the dancers...pass the broomstick from hand to hand" sounded somewhat like a description of a Kappa Alpha Psi, Inc. step show routine. "Steppin" is a choreographed dance form in which a group of males or females produce syncopated & synchronized bass sounding foot stomps, alternating with {individual} handclaps, and body pats {pattin juba}. Traditionally, steppin is done to the accompaniment of group {usually unison}chanting. However, nowadays these movements may be done to the accompaniment of recorded R&B music, particularly when entering and exiting the performance floor.
I should also note that step shows are highly competitive events. The fraternities compete against each other, and the sororities against sororities with judges deciding the winners.

The Kappas are an African American Greek letter fraternity whose step routines usually involve twirling canes. Often the canes are passed or thrown between members of the step team. I hasten to say that other fraternities & sororities include canes in their step routines, though it seems to me that the Kappas are best known for that routine.

Although this is not the same as the broom dance, some readers here might be interested in the similarities between the description I read and this African American university tradition which in the last 5 years or so is also becoming an integral performance art & competitive event among community and church groups of teens and groups of children.


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Subject: RE: origins of broom dancing
From: Mo the caller
Date: 30 Aug 06 - 01:48 AM

There is a similarity between the Scottish sword dance (danced over and between crossed swords laid on the floor), English 'Bacca pipes' (danced with crossed 'churchwarden' clay pipes) and the broom dance that is often danced as a solo interlude in an Irish Ceili (started by step dancing round and over a broom on the floor then gradually raising one end and dancing as described above)


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Subject: RE: origins of broom dancing
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 30 Aug 06 - 02:15 AM

The broom dance referred to above is a solo (sometimes double) jig danced over a broom. I have seen the Irish version and Welsh version but to me the classic version is that of East Anglia. The dancer dances into the performing area rattling the head of the broom on the floor, drops it and proceeds to dance up and down the length, crossing feet over the broom in ever more complicated steps, sometimes holding the broom up at an angle and passing it underneath the legs in a figure of eight and often picking it up and passing the whole broom through the legs. It has elements seen in Scottish crossed sword dance, Cotswold stick jigs, step dance and mild athleticism.


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Subject: RE: origins of broom dancing
From: sian, west wales
Date: 30 Aug 06 - 04:23 AM

As Manitas mentioned, Welsh cloggers - traditionally the men - dance with a broom in much the same style as the Cornish, above. Considering the to-ing and fro-ing between Cornwall and Wales, by sea, until fairly recently, that isn't a big surprise. Dancing with the broom is one of the basic feats a dancer needs to master to be considered worth their salt. The other classic gambit is jumping up and over a candle and snuffing it out with a click-together of your feet in passing.

The Welsh Traditional Music series on Radio Wales has its programme on Welsh dance today at noon as it happens. Don't know if it covers this dance in particular but it certainly talks about the Welsh clogging tradition. A lot of the clog steps were kept alive by Welsh gypsies and some of the older instructors today learned directly from them.

sian


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Subject: RE: origins of broom dancing
From: fogie
Date: 30 Aug 06 - 06:22 AM

Theren is a local lad called Terry Tandler from Ludlow that regularly dances the broom dance, and also has dancing dollies and a choice repertoire of local funny songs. He also dances the morris and calls for dances. Well worth seeing -he is one of a kind.


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Subject: RE: origins of broom dancing
From: GUEST,Mike Gott
Date: 30 Aug 06 - 06:40 AM

As a child in North Lincolnshire we lived next door to an old chap who'd played melodeon in the pubs when he was younger and I remember him saying that he sometimes played for "stepping and the broom dance" (though I didn't then really know what he meant). The late Luke Stanley, a trad musician from Barrow upon Humber is also on record as recaling broom dancing, so it seems to have been in Lincolnshire too along with step dancing.


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Subject: RE: origins of broom dancing
From: Trevor
Date: 30 Aug 06 - 06:53 AM

Fogie, do you remember the hedger and ditcher called Ken, who used to come to sessions at The Miners Arms in Priestweston? I remember seeing him do the broom dance as described above.


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Subject: RE: origins of broom dancing
From: Snuffy
Date: 30 Aug 06 - 09:06 AM

In Warwickshire members of local Morris sides still perform the broom dances collected in Ilmington and Bickmarsh


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Subject: RE: origins of broom dancing
From: greg stephens
Date: 30 Aug 06 - 09:58 AM

Best broom-dancer I knew was Miklos Menis, who was a mixture of Italian and Hungarian. I imagine that historically the first broom dance ever was performed within a few hours of the first construction of a broom. And probably utiliseed the steps previously appropriate to the stick-dance, which was in use shortly after the invention of the stick. And I'd guess that the Cornish steps arent that different to the Uzbek ones. And also that, in most cutlures, I wouldn't be surprised if people are more prepared to have a go, and the steps attempted get more ambitious, as alcohol intake increases.


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Subject: RE: origins of broom dancing
From: GUEST,Rattler
Date: 04 Sep 06 - 07:43 PM

Broom dancing was certainly part of local tradition in parts of the East Midlands as Mike Gott recalled. Rattlejag Morris have a dance gathered from local material but still hope to find more bits of the "jigsaw". Mike - I'd be interested to hear more. cheers, R.


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Subject: RE: origins of broom dancing
From: Bunnahabhain
Date: 05 Sep 06 - 11:11 AM

I generally think of it first as East Anglian, but have seen variants from several parts of the British Isles.
Whist at a Folk dance festival in Germany this summer, I also saw a Danish side doing a slow broom dance, with several elements in common with 'standard' British broom jigs.

Broom dancing is old, so it's very hard to tell if someone knows about it as they saw it a few years ago, and thought 'we can do that', their ancestors saw someone doing it hundreds of years ago and though the same, or if it was drempt up locally, or indeed any combination of these...


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Subject: RE: origins of broom dancing
From: sian, west wales
Date: 05 Sep 06 - 11:44 AM

I don't quite see how one can draw a conclusion that broom dances of the British Isles are variants of the East Anglian. I'm with Greg on this one, but feel he should give us dates re: the invention of the stick. I have heard a presentation by the man who invented string, but have no reference points for sticks.

many thanks
sian


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Subject: RE: origins of broom dancing
From: DannyC
Date: 05 Sep 06 - 12:05 PM

I first saw this danced here (as described above) in Central Kentucky (only 5 years ago) by a woman named Theresa from Dingle, Co Kerry in Ireland (She's here working the horses.). She prefers a Kerry polka played with steadily increased tempo to accompany her dancing - quicken and quicken until you can go no more.

I later saw it danced in a similar fashion here by a fella named Martin from a townland near Mallow in County Cork.

Having provided the music for the dancing in each of the above instances, my wife Beverly Buchanan states that she saw it danced in her youth in Appalachia (well, she's still young - let's call it her younger youth). She says it was exclusively danced by men in the Kentucky mountains, and she understood that the dance gave the men a chance to show off their physical prowess - a bachelor sort of thing. She says that there was an competitive element to the Kentucky version.


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Subject: RE: origins of broom dancing
From: Mo the caller
Date: 05 Sep 06 - 03:03 PM

Do you suppose it has wedding connotations, as in 'jumping over the broomstick'


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Subject: RE: origins of broom dancing
From: DannyC
Date: 17 Oct 07 - 05:12 PM

There's a discussion of brush dancing on this Clare FM House Party podcast.   The brush dance piece occurs about 40% to 50% into the broadcast.

The brush dance discussion is in the Irish language:

Clare FM House Party


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Subject: RE: origins of broom dancing
From: open mike
Date: 17 Oct 07 - 06:00 PM

there is also a dance/game from asia or the phillipines
where the dancers jump over and around a pair of long bamboo sticks
which are held and moved by a person on each end.


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Subject: RE: origins of broom dancing
From: GUEST,Cats at Work
Date: 18 Oct 07 - 04:16 AM

In Cornwall there are at least 2 different types of Broom dance, as opposed to dances, one for solo and one for a pair who dance over both ends of a held brooom at the same time.


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Subject: RE: origins of broom dancing
From: GUEST,Gadaffi
Date: 18 Oct 07 - 04:19 AM

I have many references (and notations) to this over the south of England and East Anglia.

Obviously, this is/was an indoor dance - usually performed in pubs or anywhere there might be an audience. Harvest homes seem to recur as a theme in history. Most of the sequences seem to be the same whichever part of the country you tend to be in: step up the broom and back on either side, possibly across the broom alternating feet, pick broom up and pass beneath legs. Other versions include the Bampton Fool's Jig version, balancing the stem on your hand. Then there's Cyril Papworth's hobby horse figure.

The Mepal Molly Men performe two set dances using figures from broom dances remembered in Little Downham. The dane can also be seem on the streets in Bampton on Spring Bank Holiday Monday.


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Subject: RE: origins of broom dancing
From: GUEST,strad
Date: 18 Oct 07 - 07:15 AM

A group of dancers from Iceland visiting Shetland did a dance where the odd man out danced with a broom. They'd toted that broom all round Scotland on their tour/holiday!

The Norwegian dance where a dancer kicks a hat off a broom or stick is to impress those lovely Scandinavian lasses and show how high he can do it.


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Subject: RE: origins of broom dancing
From: Bill S from Adelaide
Date: 18 Oct 07 - 09:02 AM

I noted a mention of jumping over the broomstick, from memory, this was a navvy custom where a common law marriage was recognised by jumping over brush and broom.
In my dissolute past, I used to describe my status as living ower't broom and people understood, at least in Manchester.
Broom dancing is commonly seen in the morris and usually ends by jumping through the two hands holding the handle, back and forth, not easy when I was young, impossible now
Cheers


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Subject: RE: origins of broom dancing
From: GUEST,Gadaffi
Date: 18 Oct 07 - 10:55 AM

Jumping the broomstick is a wedding custom - not to be confused with broom dancing!

I have heard of West Country instances of this custom. It may even by part of gipsy folklore. It was certainly part of the wedding feast among members of the Seven Champions molly dancers. The spouse and I did so in 1984.


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Subject: RE: origins of broom dancing
From: Fidjit
Date: 18 Oct 07 - 01:17 PM

From: open mike - PM
Date: 29 Aug 06 - 11:18 PM

in Swedish tradition there is a dance where a woman holds a hat on the end of a broomstick as she stands up on a chair. The man jumps and kicks the broom off of the broomstick. This might be a wedding ritual.

Ok. It's not Swedish as far as I know, but Norwegian. And the man kicks the hat off the broomstick.

Several men try to kick it off one at a time.
The man is trying to show off to his girlfriend.

Chas


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Subject: RE: origins of broom dancing
From: Tradsinger
Date: 18 Oct 07 - 05:11 PM

There are versions of the broom dance all over England. The Bampton Morris Men have a broom dance in their reportoire. Someone has already mentioned the broom dance workshop at the Dartmoor Folk Festival, and I have seen the dance done in Cornwall. Scan Tester in Sussex used to play for the broom dance. The favourite tune appears to be the Keep Row. I have also seen it in Wales as a clog dance. I used to dance it myself, but anno domini gets in the way no (no 'leg over' jokes, please). There are all sorts of local variations but no evidence of an 'original' version. The link to the Scottish sword dance and Bacca Pipes jig is fairly obvious.

Tradsinger


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Subject: RE: origins of broom dancing
From: mg
Date: 18 Oct 07 - 11:18 PM

I have seen the Filopino dances in a high school I worked at..they sort of click these bamboo sticks in a complex manner on the floor, against each other, and the dancers, high school boys, would dance in between the clicking bamboo..it was quite a feat...mg


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Subject: RE: origins of broom dancing
From: GUEST,friulana
Date: 22 May 10 - 01:49 PM

Two notes to greg stephens,that's right,in most folk-cultures there's something similar to broom dance.For example in Hungary is a folk-dance gone by swineherds with sticks.It's a male's dance,without women. The second note: Miklos Menis was originated from Friulian and Hungarian.(Friulian is a different people, a minority with its own cultural and historical identity,even its own language,living in region of Italy, Friuli-Venezia-Giulia.)


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Subject: RE: origins of broom dancing
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 22 May 10 - 03:57 PM

The brush dance is quite popular with energetic youngfellas and youngwans in Co Clare. It's danced to a reel. It's essentially a solo dance (although you may get two or more dancers doing the same routine at the same time).


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Subject: RE: origins of broom dancing
From: Tradsinger
Date: 22 May 10 - 06:40 PM

To add to what I said above, an old chap told me that a friend of his used to do the broom dance every New Years Eve in the middle of Gloucester (UK) to see the New Year in.   

A search on "broom dance" on YouTube will come up with a number of versions from England and Ireland (and something similar from Canada), including a cute kid at the Wimborne folkfest who looks about 7 years old doing the dance. I have a number of references to the broom dance in Gloucestershire and I presume that variations of it were done all over the UK and Ireland. Forget the idea of an 'original' version - it's lost in the mists of time but there must be scope for someone to log all the references and see if a pattern emerges.

Tradsinger


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Subject: RE: origins of broom dancing
From: Jack Campin
Date: 22 May 10 - 07:04 PM

I've seen a broom dance done by the Csango Hungarian minority in Moldavia - seemed to be mainly for children. The broom was used as a sort of partner in a kind of musical-chairs routine. It's taught by revivalists in Hungary, like Tamas Tundik and Lehel Foldi (both of whom speak English and are reachable via the web).


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Subject: RE: origins of broom dancing
From: open mike
Date: 23 May 10 - 04:19 PM

definately not the type of dance that other posts mention,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVrWDPi12zE
but a dance with a broom never-the-less.

here is an irish version' http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oB7tZ5904NM


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Subject: RE: origins of broom dancing
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 23 May 10 - 07:49 PM

From the 'Ilmington Morris' web page.

Another dance with an interesting history is the Broom Dance, performed by one man with a household broom to the 'Greensleeves' tune. This was taught by Sam Bennett to Arnold Woodley of Bampton, probably during a period in the 20's or 30's when Sam Bennett played for one of the Bampton sides, and was performed regularly by Arnold's side. When Arnold discovered that there was a new side in Ilmington he made a point of teaching us the dance and ensuring its return to its 'native heath'. This dance is thought to have originated in the neighbouring village of Blackwell.


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Subject: RE: origins of broom dancing
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 24 May 10 - 09:20 AM

We get an awful lot of this . One of the young locals by the way.


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Subject: RE: origins of broom dancing
From: GUEST,vern brewer
Date: 21 Feb 18 - 09:27 PM

have played country music from 1940s up to this day. including round. square, and yes, broom dances. and as someone else described. an extra man was on the dance floor. dancing with a broom, and when the music abruptly stopped, everyone quickly changed partners, always leaving ,and usually a different man dancing with the broom


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