The Black Box Band and Pete Coe – 18 March 2017

Last night’s  barn dance at Waring Green featured the stalwarts of Ryburn 3 Step the Black Box Band with caller Pete Coe, and highlighted the organisation’s commitment to keeping English Country Dance alive in West Yorkshire. Declining numbers attending (and consequently revenue from) the Waring Green dances have meant that we are now focussing on booking local bands (and on occasions local callers) to reduce travelling costs. Since West Yorkshire has several excellent bands we have been able to maintain the quality of the dances.

The crowd who came to the dance last night certainly did not leave disappointed. Pete Coe has decades of experience playing and calling for barn dances and he used that expertise to construct an interesting and varied programme. The evening was topped and tailed with old favourites the Boston Two Step and Soldiers Joy. In between we had dances from Scotland (Foulla Reel), Lancashire (Lancashire Reel) and, closer to home, Jack the Lad, which was collected in Barkisland and (uniquely, I think) has a curious “window wiping” clapping sequence. Interspersed were some of Pete’s own dances (Black Hole, 200 Not Out – extemporised at a birthday dance for four fifty year old friends and Athelstan’s Crown -which was devised with the help of pupils from Athelstan’s Junior School).

The Black Box Band provided a solid musical platform for Pete’s dances and while many of the tunes were old favourites (e.g. Bielbie’s and the Kirkgate Hornpipes, the Hesleyside and Roxburgh Castle reels, Captain White’s and Four Seasons jigs), they were perfectly matched to the dances in terms of lift and speed. The musical highlight of the evening was the set played for 200 Not Out which comprised the Sadler’s Wells and Butcher’s Hornpipes. These lovely old tunes cascade lyrically over two octaves and were ideally suited to what is a rather stately dance.

So, another great evening of music and dance for which we should be very grateful to the skill and generosity of the Black Box Band and Pete Coe.

The last dance of the Ryburn 3 Step series before the summer break takes place on Saturday April 15th and features caller Sue Coe together with the Tenterhooks Band MORE INFO…

The Black Box Band consisted of:
Steve Harrison on melodeon and harmonicas
Chris Partington on fiddle
Alice Jones on piano

Pete’s Dances included:
The Boston 2 Step – couple dance
The Lancashire Reel – couples in a big circle, progressive
Black Hole (Pete Coe) – 4 couple longwise
Jack the Lad – couples longwise for as many as will
Heartbreaker – couples square sets
Aethelstan’s Crown – multiple couples in a circle
200 Not Out -Sicilian Circle couples (Pete Coe)
Flowers of Edinburgh – longwise for as many as will
Quarndon – Sicilian Circle couples (Roger Watson)
The Rock and the Wee Pickle Tow – 4 couple longwise
Foula Reel – 4 couple longwise
Three Meet – Sicilian Circle triples
Soldiers Joy – couples in a big circle

Steve Jones March 19th 2017

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