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Cushion Dance


Informants Davies Gilbert 'Some Ancient Christmas Carols' 2nd ed. 1823

Old Cornwall Society Magazine 1925 31 This dance is from a similar era to the Cornish Squire and is included in Playford's 'Dancing Master' 7th to 18th Editions. Davies Gilbert provides evidence that it was still popular in the Duchy in the early 19th century and the Old Cornwall Society Magazine of 1925 31 confirms its continued use in the 20th Century. A 'Cushion Dance' is also included in Walshe's 'Complete country dance master 1718' which contains "…a variety of dances both old and new particularly those performed at Masquerades. Together with all choicest and most notable country dances performed at court, the theatre and public balls". Walsh notes the same tune as Davies Gilbert. Sharp records the Gloucestershire Round and the Staffordshire round in his 'Folk Dance Notes' (1 p 3) describing it as the cushion dance in its almost original form, they played Greensleeves when they did this dance "Maude Karpeles collected same dance in Newfoundland which also went by the name of Kissing dance. A Handkerchief was carried rather than a cushion: 1) Man Walks around the Room

2) Selects and Kisses a woman or elaborately kisses the handkerchief he carries

3) Arms on her shoulder they then process around the room she selects another man.

4)Then on until all in the room are involved.

5)Last person sits on chair others dance around

6)He then chooses and kisses a lady Reference: JFDSS 1936 p 133 4 VW, Library no QL6 Although it's origins as a Cornish dance may be uncertain, the cushion dance has clearly been in the Duchy for a very long time. If not of Cornish origin, the dance certainly become popular when puritan influences in England discouraged dance. DANCE NOTATIONS Formation

A gradually extending line Step

A 'One two three hop' Furry Dance Step Hold

Hands simply held in the line There are no 'set' bars for this dance, the changes in the dance are determined by the lead dancer in the line. 1

Man dances round the room with a cushion 2

They sing dance it will no further go musicians sing 3

The cushion is laid down in front of a woman (or man as the case

might be) and kiss. and so until all the company is taken. 4

The cushion is laid down before the first man or woman who sing: "this dance it will no further go" but instead of Joan Sanderson come to they sing "Farwell Joan Sanderson" and so they go out one by one as they came in. The Women are kissed by all the men in the ring at their coming and going likewise the men by all the women. TUNE/SONG The suggested tunes for this dance are The Cushion Dance, and the song Joan Sanderson. click here to play the midi file click here for the noteworthy file