The Witchmen

Our Dances

Almost nobody dances sober, unless they happen to be insane (H. P. Lovecraft)

linocut of The Witchmen dancing 'Black and Amber'
Illustration © Karen Cater - Hedingam Fair

All Witchmen dances were written and choreographed by Terry Dix, with the exception of ‘Maiden’s Prayer’ which is an adaptation. Please do not copy these dances unless Terry’s taught you them at a workshop.
As Terry dug deeper into England’s culture our dances have changed: from the traditionally styled ‘Maiden’s Prayer’ and ‘Hunting the Hare’, thru to the Sweeps ‘Thistle’ and ‘Tide’. In turn these lead to our Other Dances. These are from the Daarkside (we spell it with two ‘A’s here, ’cause that’s how we pronounce it - AARGH!). These are from the Dark Ages of man and stem from Terry’s interests in myth and magic. Obscure minor tunes are used to give the dances a shadowy, moody feel.

Maiden’s Prayer
An interpretation of the Much Wenlock dance. Has a nice little song about bananas and monkeys especially for the kids.

Just as the tide was a-flowing
Our first tribute to the dancing sweeps of Kent and Terry’s first self-penned dance.

Rochester Thistle
Another sweeps dance, the dance notes were found scrawled on the khazi door in the Royal Victoria and Bull Hotel, Rochester, written in that very wide jumbo felt tip you can get. Terry hastily copied the instruction on the nearest piece of paper and produced this very fine dance.

Black and Amber
A witches’ fire dance. Imagine, if you will, a raging bonfire in the midst of a great wood. It is Beltane and the coven is celebrating the coming of the May. They dance naked around the flames and make a powerful magic. Now try to imagine us as those dancing witches and prove what an excellent imagination you have.

Grim Reaper
A death dance - the name says it all. Heavy Terry Pratchett influences.
A dance in honour of all the folk of Summerisle. The symbolic wicker figure is burnt to herald in the new harvest. Also Terry’s favourite film (The original version!) which he watches RELIGIOUSLY every Sunday evening. The burning of a Christian is optional.

Joanna Lumley
Started its life as ‘Not for Joe’, an early dance written by Terry. A few teams nicked this wholesale thinking it was traditional, so he revamped it. The new dance is about the Boggits of Wisbech Fen, the murder of lovely Joanna and the subsequent hunt and dismemberment of said Boggits by the angry townsfolk.

To see a video clip of us dancing Joanna Lumley on stage at Sidmouth in 2002 on Tony Barrand’s website - follow the link, type ‘witchmen’ in the search field then use the ‘CLICK TO VIEW VIDEO’ link

The Wild Hunt
Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, on the forest planet of Endor.......sorry - wrong story.
This recounts the tale of the Lord of the Forests, called Herne by some, Cernunnos by us. He leads the other Faerie Lords on magical steeds through the woods in search of the elusive white hart (that's a deer not a pub). These riders are accompanied by a pack of white hounds with bloody red eyes. Cernunnos is easily recognisable by the stag antlers growing from his head. To catch sight of the Hunt courts disaster - the lord will take you back to his realm - never to return.

To see another video clip of us dancing 'Wild Hunt' on stage at Sidmouth in 2002 on Tony Barrand’s website - follow the link, type ‘witchmen’ in the search field then use the ‘CLICK TO VIEW VIDEO’ link

Seven Up
Started life as ‘Hunting the Hare’, but the hare got shot. Terry changed it after we acquired a new tune from Barry Goodman when we took part in ‘Grandson’ at Sidmouth. New tune, change of step and new figures. Hey presto - a new dance with 3 variations (for 6, 8 or 12 dancers). It tells the story of Coke sniffing Snow White and her abuse of the Seven Dwarves: cf. Rammstein’s ‘Sonne’

Old Bones
First danced out at Rochester Sweeps festival, Beltane 2005.

New dance for 2010. First danced out at Rochester Sweeps festival, Beltane 2010.

The Bradshaw Mummers Dance
New dance for 2014. First danced out at Rochester Sweeps festival, Beltane 2014.

We do have a processional, it’s a blasted nuisance to do it's hardly ever danced.