Form a circle of children and number them alternately 1 and 2 or ‘apples and oranges’, ‘slugs and snails’ e.t.c. Stretch out arms to rest on the nearest shoulder of the child on either side (very small children may do better simply holding hands).
1 – 4 (a) All together, travel to the right by moving the right foot to the right and catch up with the left foot 4 times, kicking the left foot across the right on the final step.
5 – 8 (b) Repeat, beginning with the left foot and travelling to the left, kicking the right foot across the left on the final step.
9 – 12 (c) Repeat (a)
13 – 16 (d) Repeat (b)
17 – 24 (e) Number 1s (apples or slugs) take 4 steps to the centre and clap on the 4th step. Then take 4 steps back to place.
25 – 32 (f) Number 2s (oranges or snails) take 4 steps to the centre and shout ‘HOY’ on the 4th step. Then take 4 steps back to place.
Repeat the dance as often as desired.
This version of Newlyn Reel is fun as the complex progression has been removed, but the hypnotic rhythm maintained. It is particularly good for teaching listening skills and ability to follow a caller by altering activity in the centre, e.g. hop to the centre and clap or jump to the centre, Number 1s ‘HOY’ Number 2s clap, the possibilities are endless.
Esme Francis of St Just collected Newlyn Reel in 1981 from Mr John Williams of Boscreggan, then in his mid 70s. It may encourage the boys in your group to know that it was originally danced only by men (fishermen).