Northumberland Gypsy

Northumberland Gypsy is a versatile dance, as it can be done with any number of dancers from 4 on up. Similar to Bledington “Saturday Night”, it begins with two dancers and then adds dancers during each chorus (a “gypsy and slide” done while sticking!). It's quite difficult to learn - both because the chorus requires moving in a complicated pattern while sticking, and because each dancer's position in the set changes each time through the chorus. The payoff is a tightly interlocking dance that looks impossible to survive but feels great.

Source: Written in 1996 by Mike Miller (Bassett Street Hounds).

Video: September 21, 2008 – this is the 8 person version, but done with only 6 dancers.

Tune: Byker Hill as AB(ABB)4 (A=figures, B=sticking).

Variants: The Hounds dance this both for 5 dancers with dancers entering singly and for 8 dancers by having two dancers enter each hey.

Tune: Byker Hill

This is one we like to sing accompanied by fiddle or other instruments. You would have to come up with more lyrics to do it completely acapella.

Sticking is on the B music, which uses the familiar Byker Hill tune. It is not doubled the first time (there are only 2 dancers in the set at this point) but is doubled on all the other choruses. If sung, do not sing on the second repetition of the B part. The A part, set to a less common version of the tune that David Smukler discovered, is used for the figures, including the “dance on” by the first 2 dancers.

E minor setting

X:1
T:Northumberland Gypsy
T:Tune: Byker Hill
R:reel
M:C|
L:1/4
P:AB(AB2)4
K:Em
P:A
BBBA|BddB|A>AAG/A/|BddB|
e>eed|efg2|gdBA|GFE2|]
P:B
eeed/e/|gee/d/B|AAAG/G/|BddB|
eeed/e/|gee/d/B|eBde/d/|BAB2|]

B minor setting

X:2
T:Northumberland Gypsy
T:Tune: Byker Hill
R:reel
M:4/4
L:1/4
P:AB(AB2)4
K:Bm
P:A
FFFE|FAAF|E>EED/2E/2|FAAF|
B>BBA|Bcd2|dAFE|DCB,2|]
P:B
BBBA/2B/2|dBB/2A/2F|EEED/2D/2|FAAF|
BBBA/2B/2|dBB/2A/2F|BFAB/2A/2|FEF2|]

Chorus:
Byker Hill and Walker Shore
Collier lads for ever more
Byker Hill and Walker Shore
Collier lads for ever more

If I had another penny
I would buy another gill
I would make the piper play
The Bonny Lass of Byker Hill

Chorus

When I first went to the dirt
I had no trousers and no pit shirt
Now I've gettin' two or three
Walker Pit's done well by me.

Chorus

Geordie Charlton had a pig
He hit it with a shovel and it danced a jig
All the way to Walker Shore
To the tune of Elsie Marley

Chorus

The poor coal carter gets two shillings
The deputy gets half a crown
The overman gets five and six
Just for riding up and down

Chorus

The pitman and the keelman trim
They drink bumble made of gin
Then to dance they all begin
To the tune of Elsie Marley

Chorus

For 5 Dancers

Formation: A rectangle of increasing length, each dancer with one long stick.

Sequence: Dance on, Chorus for 2, J-Bone Hey, Chorus for 2&3, Perpendicular Hey, Chorus for 3&4, Square Hey, Chorus for 4&5, Star-Shaped Hey, Chorus for 5.

Chorus: Dance a counterclockwise circle around your partner, sticking backhand high with your partner, backhand low in line, backhand high with your partner, backhand low in line, forehand high in line, forehand low with your partner, then slide left along the set and stick forehand high and backhand low with your new partner, and repeat. Your body must rotate to accomplish all this (first to the right, then to the left) - just follow the direction of your stick when turning your body. When you are partnered with Harvey (an imaginary invisible dancer) at the end of the set, stick backhand high with Harvey, backhand low in line, backhand high with Harvey (behind you), backhand low in line, forehand high in line, forehand low with Harvey and then slide left and you're back in the set. The chorus for 2 will have 16 clashes. In the remaining choruses, you will dance each chorus for 16 clashes, then a dancer will join at the bottom of the set (with their right/left shoulder towards the musicians if they're an odd/even number) and you will continue for another 16 clashes. You will (usually) end a chorus in a different spot than you started. Remember where you end!

J-Bone Hey (for 2): Do a right-shoulder back-to-back, but continue around to pass right shoulders a second time. Swerve to the right, then loop around to the left. Repeat.

Perpendicular Hey (for 3): The top two dancers back away from each other as the dancer furthest from the musician cuts between them and begins a left-shoulder hey for 3, perpendicular to the line of dance.

Square Hey (for 4): Pass right shoulders across the set, turn out 270 degrees to face someone up or down the set, pass left shoulders up/down the set, turn out 270 degrees to face someone across the set, and repeat.

Star-Shaped Hey (for 5): Start as in (1) below. 3 backs away from 1, then 4 does a half-hey with 1 and 5 (starting by passing 1 by the left), then a half-hey with 2 and 3 (starting by passing 2 by the left). At this point, the set looks like (2). Repeat, ending with dances back in original (1) positions.

                2   4   5
      (1)   M            
                1   3    
                3       1
      (2)   M       4    
                5       2

For 8 Dancers

Formation: A rectangle of increasing length, each dancer with one long stick.

Sequence: Dance on, Chorus for 2, J-Bone Hey, Chorus for 2-4, Square Hey, Chorus for 4-6, Mirror-Image Hey, Chorus for 6-8, Cloverleaf Hey, Chorus for 8.

Chorus: Dance a counterclockwise circle around your partner, sticking backhand high with your partner, backhand low in line, backhand high with your partner, backhand low in line, forehand high in line, forehand low with your partner, then slide left along the set and stick forehand high and backhand low with your new partner, and repeat. Your body must rotate to accomplish all this (first to the right, then to the left) - just follow the direction of your stick when turning your body. When you are partnered with Harvey (an imaginary invisible dancer) at the end of the set, stick backhand high with Harvey, backhand low in line, backhand high with Harvey (behind you), backhand low in line, forehand high in line, forehand low with Harvey, then slide left and you're back in the set. The chorus for 2 will have 16 clashes. In the remaining choruses, you will dance each chorus for 8 clashes, then a dancer will join at the bottom of the set (left shoulder towards the musician) and you will continue for 8 more clashes, then the next dancer will enter at the bottom of the set (left shoulder toward the musician) and you will continue for another 16 clashes. You will (usually) end a chorus in a different spot than you started. Remember where you end!

J-Bone Hey (for 2): Do a right-shoulder back-to-back, but continue around to pass right shoulders a second time. Swerve right, then loop around to the left. Repeat.

Square hey (for 4): Pass right shoulders across the set, turn out 270 degrees to face someone up or down the set, pass left shoulders up/down the set, turn out 270 degrees to face someone across the set, and repeat.

Mirror-Image Hey (for 6): This is just the “usual” Cotswold hey.

Cloverleaf Hey (for 8): Begin as if in positions A, C, E, G, I, K, M and O in the diagram below. On each beat, move to the next letter of the alphabet (or from P to A). You'll be following the person who started two letters ahead of you. Those who start on the middle square are crossing that square on beats 4 and 1; the others are crossing on beats 2 and 3. You'll be back to your original place after 16 beats.

         L       G    
      K              H
          JM   FI     
          AN   BE     
      P              C
         O       D    

Tune: Rakes of Mallow

We used to do this to Rakes of Mallow and other teams who've adopted this dance probably still use this tune.

X:1
T:Northumberland Gypsy
T:Tune: Rakes of Mallow
R:reel
H:Used for Northumberland Gypsy
C:Traditional.
M:4/4
L:1/8
K:G
G2 B2 G2 B2 | G2 B2 cBAG | F2 A2 F2 A2 | F2 A2 dcBA |
G2 B2 G2 B2 | G2 B2 d3 B | cBAG FGAc | B2 G2 G4 :|
g2 fe d2 c2 | B2 c2 d4 | g2 fe d2 c2 | B2 d2 A4 |
g2 fe d2 c2 | B2 c2 d4 | cBAG FGAc | B2 G2 G4 :|