Cornish Folk Tradition: Songs Music Dance and Associated Customs
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Cornish Dance: Fer Lyskerrys - Liskeard Fair

Liskeard fair days (originally St Mathews Feast, St Mary's and Ascension Day) were granted by Richard, Earl of Cornwall, in 1266. AlIen's History of Liskeard245 makes sev-eral references to these fair days and the processions around the town during the mid-18th century, involving music and begging for cider or beer. The procession finished with a dance on the 'frolic green'. We do not have any information about this dance but Baring Gould collected a tune called Liskeard fair from Nichol May in 1891 and we have borrowed from quadrille figures in order to recreate these elements for Fer Lyskerrys.

 

Formation:Four couple square set.

Steps

'One two three hop' step throughout

Bars
Fer-Lyskerrys
1-2 Head couples moving at same time taking one step to face the couple on their left, and one step backwards to the opposite side of the set (thus changing places).
1-4 Side couples repeat bars 1-2.
5-8 Couples form a wheel by men (still holding their partner's hand) placing their left hand on the shoulder of the man in front. Dance one full turn of the wheel, returning to original places.
9-16 Repeat bars 1-8, but at the 8th bar remain in the wheel formation.
17-20 Head couples only, men join hands and all take one step to first lady's right, then one step to her left, then turn partner's right hand back to places.
21-24 Side couples repeat 17-20, but step to second lady's right
25-32 Grand ladies chain.
  The dance is usually repeated once more by setting to the first lady's then the second lady's left respectively in bars 17-20 and 21-24 to complete the cycle.
Tune: Fer Lyskerrys/Liskeard Fair (click for midi file)Nichol May's original tune has an additional two bar refrain at the end making it 18 bars long. This has been shortened to 16 bars to fit the dance.
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