What Do the Simple Folk Do?
Wearing a colorful, beribboned dance costume, Tames Alan, an actress, historian, and dancer gives a short talk about the pleasures of English country dancing and the singing of rounds. She then teaches the audience how to properly greet each other before teaching a simple English country folk dance called Gathering Peascods, a circle dance for as many as will. The program is interspersed with historical anecdotes, the singing of Rose Red, and the Renaissance version of God Save the Queen, which can be sung as rounds. The audience will also learn a question song, If All the World Were Paper, and a drinking song, God Bless the Human Elbow. Many of the songs and dances performed in the 16th century by the country folk had been adopted by the nobility by the early 17th century, so these forms of entertainment crossed the class barrier.
Please note: If there are very small children, Tames will teach them a simplified version of Gathering Peascods, play a Medieval skipping game, and do a very simple second Medieval bransel (pronounced “brawl”) dance called Peas Porridge. She will also include the story of Dick Whittington and His Cat. If the children are extremely young, they will play London Bridge Is Falling Down and Ring Around the Rosy and learn the historical background to both games. If the audience is older, they’ll dance Gathering Peascods in full form in time to the music, as well as sing the songs. Program length is 1 hour.