Upton-on-Severn Hanky Dance

The Upton-on-Severn dances were originally collected by Dr Maud Karpeles in Upton in 1925, when one of her informants was a Mr Little from Hanley Castle, a few miles away. He told Maud Karpeles, that the dancers were referred to in the area as 'the unemployed' and were like himself, mostly fishermen. Apparently the Upton dancers only had one dance, which they performed once with sticks, and once with handkerchiefs, to make more of a performance. They usually only performed at Christmas time, mainly at the big houses in the area, particularly Croome Court, seat of the Earl of Coventry. (better 'cadging'?) Although the dancers were usually men, quite often women made up the numbers if they were short. The tune used by England's Glory today for the handkerchief dance is 'The Girl I left Behind Me' or 'Brighton Camp'. The tune has been dated fairly exactly by William Chappell to 1758/59. 'First Nowell' at Christmas.

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