Cornish Folk Tradition: Songs Music Dance and Associated Customs
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Cornish Dance: Broom Stick / An Welen Scubel

Informant Mr Evan Tripp, Boscastle, April 1981 Evan Tripp communicated this dance to Merv and Alison Davey at the Napoleon Inn when visiting Charlie Jose. He could tell little about the dance except that along with Boscastle Breakdown it was done as a competitive dance for men although he used a lady to demonstrate the dance. Comparing notes with Ian O'Leary, a dancer from Killarney, the following year it was discovered that the same step was used in very old Irish dances where they danced with a broom, or a woman!
Formation: Two Dancers, facing each other, holding either end of a broomstick.
Steps   Whip-The -Cats
  The basic step for this dance goes as follows: Right foot is crossed over left and (still stepping on left foot) tapped:
 

1. Beside left foot

 

2. In front and to left of left foot

 

3. To right of left foot

 

4. Stepping finally on both feet at once side by side.

Bars  
1-4
Both dancers begin with the basic step (as detailed above) repeated four times.
5-8
Dancer 'A' now does eight steps over the broom stick, weaving the stick under and over alternate legs while dancer `B` repeats basic step as per 1 4 above
9-12
Dancer 'B' does weaving step whilst `A` does basic step.
13-16
Dancer 'A' now turns slowly using the basic step and passing the stick from hand to hand behind back
17-20
Dancer 'B' turns while 'A' does the basic step
21-24
Dancer 'A' goes down on haunches and kicks alternate feet out eight times whilst dancer 'B' does the basic step.
25-28
Dancer 'B' goes down on haunches to kick alternate feet whilst 'A' does the basic step
29-32
Dancers finish doing the same basic four steps they started with. The whole process is now repeated using the weaving step over the broomstick as the base step alternating with the turning step and the 'haunches' step (bars 25 - 28). In recent years the 'haunches' step has often been substituted with the slightly less athletic 'kick' step, in which each dancer kicks the right foot, followed by the left foot in front of the with the heel to the floor and the ball of the foot facing upwards (as per Mrs Parkyn's Jig). This is repeated twice on each foot alternatively
 
The suggested tune for this dance is Whip The Cats. (Click for Midifile)
     
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