Cornish Folk Tradition: Songs Music Dance and Associated Customs
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Cornish Dance: Plethen A Dri / Three Hand Reel

 

The basic step and pattern for the Three Hand Reel was provided by Mrs Baker of Rilla Mill (1980). She described it as a progressive dance, and as such each dancer would take a turn in the middle. Although this was all the information she was able to provide, the remainder of the dance was easy to work out from this formula. Mrs Gwen Masters , of Blisland (1997) also recalled a form of dance specifically for three people. Although she did not state directly that it was a reel, the description does seem to fit with that of Mrs Baker’s. Gwen explained that, Just the three of us - would twist in and out, and added that where she grew up in Blisland they would also turn under each others arms.
Formation:The dance begins with three people standing in a line, 'A', 'B' and 'C'. The dance begins with 'A' and 'B' facing each other, 'C' facing 'B's' back.
Steps Step onto the left foot and hop, whilst at the same time bringing the right leg forward with the knee straight so that the heel of this right foot strikes the ground. Repeat, hopping on the right and kicking with the left foot. (TRAVELLING STEP) Plethen_a_dry-Three_Hand_Reel
   
Bars  
1-16 Reel of three ('A' and 'B' passing each other right shoulders), to finish with 'A' in centre facing 'C'. Unlike the Four Hand Reel, this reel requires wide sweeping loops.
17-24 'A' turns to face 'B' and sets. The ‘set’ in this case is simply the step outlined above danced eight times. ‘A’ will dance four steps facing ‘B’, and on the fourth step turn around and face ’C’ to dance the other four steps.
The reel then begins again from this position ('A' and 'C' passing right shoulders). This time 'C' will finish in the middle.
As collected bars 1 — 24 should be repeated six times, during which time each dancer will have done the dance from each position twice. However, at present most Cornish dance groups only perform the dance three times, so each dancer has had one turn in the middle.
   
Tune: Three Hand Reel as communicated to the Old Cornwall Society by Mr W Arthur Pascoe, St Neot, 1929. Midi
   
   
   
    Midi
     
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