Mr Dolly

Mr Dolly was written by Andy Anderson of the Red Stags. A simple but interesting dance for 4, this is what we usually teach to beginners. Along with Dilwyn, it seems to be the most commonly done mass Border dance in our neck of the woods.

Source: Written in 1984 by Andy Anderson (Red Stags). Taught to the Hounds in 1992 by James Allwright (Red Stags). The Hounds added the “stick flips” in 1994, having pinched the idea from Merrie Mac Morris. (See also Red Stags dance notation)

Tune: George Green's College Hornpipe (traditional) as A(AB)4A (A=sticking, B=figures).

T:Mr Dolly, with chords
T:Tune: George Green's College Hornpipe
H:Used as tune for Red Stags Morris dance "Mister Dolly"
Z:abc-edited-by Bill Owens May 31, 2014
|:"D"((3DEF) | "G"G>BA>G "D"F2 ((3DEF) | "G"G>BA>G "D"F2 d2 | "C"c>BA>G "D"F>DE>F | [1 "C"A>GF>E "D"D2 :| [2 "G"G2 "D"B2 "G"G2 ||
"G"GA | "G"B2 d2 B2 d2 | "C"e>dc>B "D"c4 | "C"c>BA>G "D"F>DE>F | "A"A>GF>E "D"D2 ((3DEF) |
"G"G>BA>G "D"F2 ((3DEF) | "G"G>BA>G "D"F2 "G"d2 | "C"c>BA>G "D"F>DE>F | "G"G2 "D"B2 "G"G2  |]

Variants: The Hounds have performed this as a double-short-stick dance.

Formation: A square set of 4, each with one short stick.

Sequence: Once to Yourself, Chorus, Cross and Swing, Chorus, J-loops, Chorus, Mini-Brook, Chorus, Dragonsbane, Chorus.

Chorus: No stepping. Face across the set. Tap your stick on the ground to your left, flip it end-for-end, tap it on the ground to your right, flip it end-for-end, stand up and clash forehand with your partner 3 times. Clash backhand to your diagonal right, forehand to your diagonal left, then backhand with your partner 3 times. The rhythm is L-R-FFF-R-L-BBB-. Repeat.

Cross and Swing: Hitch back (step backward, then forward), pass right shoulders across the set, twiddle (circle your stick a few times above your head) and turn over your right shoulder to face back into the set. Hitch back and approach your partner at the centerline of the set, transferring your stick into your left hand. At the beginning of the phrase, reach around your partner's waist with your right arm and swing, ending back in place.

J-Loops: Hitch back, then do 3/4 of a right-shoulder back-to-back with your partner, ending on the centerline of the set at the middle of the phrase. Hitch back, pass your partner by the right, twiddle and turn over your right shoulder to face back into the set, ending in your partner's original place. (If you go beyond your partner's place, you'll have too far to go in the repeat.) Repeat to get back to your original place.

Mini-Brook: First corners (the diagonal pair that includes the person closest to the musician's right hand) hitch back, cross by right shoulders, twiddle and turn over your right shoulder, ending in the other's place and facing inward. Second corners do the same. Everyone turn into a tight clockwise circle (elbows in) and go around one and a half times to your original place.

Dragonsbane: This is a “square hey with altered priorities”. No twiddles. Hitch back, then go across the set (the pair to the musician's right goes between the other two) and turn out (270 degrees) to face someone up or down the set. Hitch back, go up/down the set (the pair closest to the music goes between the other two) and turn out (270 degrees) to face someone across the set. Repeat to get back to place.