Cornish Folk Tradition: Songs Music Dance and Associated Customs
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Cornish Dance: Phoebe
Cam Kernewek was one of the first groups to form in Cornwall in the late 1970s for the express purpose of reviving interest in Cornish dance. As well as providing displays of dances from living tradition they sought out dances that had been forgotten. Whilst researching the origins of the dialect expression “to dance the Phibbie” (a horse whipping) they came across a reference in Halliwell-Phillips “Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words” to the Phoebe as a nursery Rhyme for an old dance game with the words “Cannot you dance the Phoebe? Don’t you see what pains I take, Don’t you see how my shoulders shake, Cannot you dance the Phoebe?” No description of the dance was provided here but they did find a dance called “Phoebe’s Delight” in John Johnsons '200 Favourite Country Dances' (published in 1750). Cam Kernewek adapted this dance to one of the tunes in Dunstan’s Cornish Songbook, “Off She Goes” and called it the “Phoebe”
Formation:Three couple long ways set
Steps Skip step throughout Phoebe
Hold Gentleman takes Lady's left hand in his right
Bars  
1-8 First couple cast to bottom of set, dance up the centre and cast off one place
9-10 Right Hand Star with Third Couple
11-14 Rights and lefts with second couple
15-16 First couple continue to finish facing first corners.
17-20 First couple 'foot it' to first corner and turn.
21-24 First couple 'foot it' to second corner and turn.
25-32 First couple dance out through bottom, cast up one place, then cross to own sides of dance as they return bottom of set, Lady crossing first. Repeat twice more to complete dance.
   
Tune: given here is the tune from John Johnsons "200 Favourite Country Dances" 1750 Midi but any reasonably fast jig would be suitable and Cam Kernewek used this in a set with "Off She Goes" and "Ker Syllan"
   
The most comprehensive collection of country dances popular in Cornwall was made by John Old of Par in the early nineteenth century. A collection of these is published in "Dancing Above Par", available from the An Daras Shop
     
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