Cornish Folk Tradition: Songs Music Dance and Associated Customs
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Cornish Dance: Mr Martin's Reel
This dance was initially collected from Mr Hedley Martin, Morval Nr Looe in 1980 and also Mrs Gwen Masters of Blisland in 1997. Hedley Martin was born in Camelford and brought up on a farm near Bude. He said that this dance was once known all over North Cornwall and performed at family parties, usually in a kitchen on the slate slabs. Young people would travel from farm to farm during festive seasons, such as Christmas, and drink cider, socialise and perform the dance as entertainment.
Formation: Dancers stand in a tight circle with hands resting on the nearest shoulders of dancers on either side
Steps (Travelling Step)Using the ball of the right foot, kick the floor, and then step a pace to the right with the right foot and follow by bringing the left foot to meet the right. Mr_Martins_Reel
   
Bars  
1-4 The above step is repeated seven times to right then stamp on the left foot (i.e. last part of seventh step) and then on right foot.
5-8 Repeat above steps to the left.
9-10 Repeat the above steps to the right again, this time with only three shuffles, and then the ‘stamp stamp’ at the end
11-12 Repeat bars 9 — 10 to the left.
13 Repeat the above steps to the right again, this time with only two shuffles and no ‘stamp stamp’ at the end.
14 Repeat bar 13 to the left.
15-16 Repeat bars 13 — 14
Repeat as often as wished, with the music gradually getting faster. As the music speeds up the stamp step can be used to ‘brake’ for the change in direction.
Hedley Martin could not recall the tune for this dance and the authors tried to prompt his memory by humming examples from Morton Nance’s Cledry Plays which belonged to this genre of step dance in Cornwall . He seized upon Marriage May Become a Curse and this tune has since become inseparable from Mr Martin’s Reel. With hindsight, of course, we do not know the extent to which is memory was prompted or whether he simply seized upon a tune with a rhythm that fitted his dance. Mrs Gwen Masters emphasised the rhythmic nature of the dance and a hornepipe style ending to phrases: "and that's that".
Tune: Mr Martins Reel / Marriage May Become a Curse (Trad)  
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