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Cock in Britches

Children need plenty of room around them for this solo harvest dance. They will also need a basic understanding of some antique tools before they begin (see pictures below).


Bars

1 - 2 (a) Clap 4 times

3 - 4 (b) Imitate action of sowing seed from a seedlip moving gently forward(1)

5 - 6 (c) Imitate action of a rake covering seeds as they move gently back (2)

(d) Chorus (with little bouncing steps)

7 Weight on left foot, point right and return to centre

8 Step back with left foot, bring right back to meet left, forward with left,
right foot forward to meet

9 Turn on the spot

10 Weight on right foot, point left to side and return to centre
Weight on left foot, point right to side and return to centre

11 - 12 Turn twice on the spot

(The chorus may sound complex on paper but is relatively simple for a child to copy from you once you have mastered it. Alternatively see the accompanying video).

(e) Repeat the complete dance imitating a scythe in bars 3 – 6 (3)

(f) Repeat the complete dance imitating a pitchfork in bars 3 – 6 (4)


Extra Information

This very old Cornish dance uses the verse and chorus pattern and a good deal of mime to tell a clear story of a harvest. Some of the more complex step patterns have been removed and the 'weapon', which makes a very adaptable dance. Jack, a recent 6-year-old pupil of mine made his own story of a modern harvest, including a combine harvester which many a much older dancer would have been proud of.

When the Seagull comes on land,
Take the seedlip in your hand,
Sow one for the rook and one for the crow, One to rot and one to grow,
If that old crow eats more than his share, Rake the stack on, he won’t be there.

Chorus
The weeds must go the corn to grow so keep the paddle growing,
Keep the paddle going
Keep the paddle going
The weeds must go, the corn to grow
So keep the paddle going

Take the zwy and swing’en high
Take the zwy and swing’en high
If you can whet the zwy yoursel
Take the zwy and swing’en

If thees don’t whet the zwy yourself
I will whet en fer ee

Swing en high and swing en low
and we’ll be there before ee
We’ll be there before ee
We’ll be there before ee
Swing en high and swing en low
And we`ll be there before ee

The corn it is for we to keep
Up on high we’ll toss the sheet
The wind’ll blow the doust
away
So say good bye to gertie grey
White bread and sweet milk
If ee don`t come out I’ll break
The hilt.

We’ll thrash away, we’ll
Thrash away
So keep the threshel going
Keep the threshel going
Keep the threshel going
We’ll thrash away, we’ll thrash away
Till we again start sowing.