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Deeds Not Words

This dance was commissioned by the Friends of Cecil Sharp House to celebrate the centenary of British women's suffrage and Mary Neal, whose advocacy of suffrage was tied to her belief in participatory folk dance.  The tune contains a motif from the song “The March of the Women” which activists sang during marches and prison hunger strikes.  The title comes from their motto.

Click here to see, hear and print the tune.

Symbolism
A1:All set and turn single to partnerTraditional
 First corners go straight across the set and cast round partners to change places (women above the men).
 Women will dance with women and men with men for most of the dance from now on.
A2:Women lead down four steps while men move up.Marching
 Women face and set while men give right hand, let go and give left hand, let go.Obstacles
 Women lead up through the men and cast to second place.Marching
B1:Circle left half-way; turn single left.Negotiating
 Women 2 hand turn while men turn towards women, step right and briefly acknowledge, step left and acknowledge.   Triumph and Acknowledgement
B2:First corner positions (W1 and M2) go straight across the set and cast round opposites to change places.Change
 Right hand star with joined hands raised.Celebrating
 Men have the option of joining in the star or stepping back with arms folded.Acting out some of the reaction of the time

Hazel Moir is a dance choreographer, and a delightful caller.  As an energetic and committed dance organiser — of Fried de Metz Herman's UK tours, various annual dance week-ends and the Pat Shaw Legacy Group, for example — she has played a key role in the British dance scene.

Rebecca King is a classically trained pianist and composer with strong roots in jazz and folk music.  A sought-after musician for contra and English Country dances, she performs solo and with small ensembles, including the band Persons of Quality.

Dancing “Deeds Not Words”