Severn Bore

Severn Bore is an English Country Dance. It was devised by Fried de Metz Herman (website) in 1977 and published in Fringe Benefits. It is a proper Duple Minor dance. The minor set lasts 32 bars.

A tidal bore is a large wave that moves up a river from the sea as the tide comes in. The Severn has one of the largest in the world reaching heights of over 6 feet.

The Bristol Channel acts as a large funnel which takes the tidal energy spread over a hundred miles or so and concentrates it all into the mouth of the Severn River giving the Severn one of the greatest tidal fluxes in the world with changes between high and low tide of almost 30 feet.

When the tidal difference is greatest, near the new and full moons, bores are most likely to occur. About a third of the high tides on the Severn are accompanied by significant bores.

At low water the Severn flows out into the sea, in the dance this is represented when the 1s and 2s lead down.

When the tide changes the water from the sea starts pushing the river water back upstream, in the dance the 1s (representing the ocean) push the 2s backwards up the hall.

Finally the turbulence of the bore is represented by the vortexes on the sides and finally the hey.

This was written by Fried Herman in honour of Robert Moir, a British ECD caller, who lived near the Severn.

A good set of dance notes on what Fried intended from her dancers is here.

Note: The transition from the gypsy to the hey is easy for the men, but the women need to make an abrupt turn. Easy progression for W2 requires her to end the hey slightly prematurely.

The animation plays at 120 counts per minute normally, but the first time through the set the dance will often be slowed down so people can learn the moves more readily. Men are drawn as rectangles, women as ellipses. Each couple is drawn in its own color, however the border of each dancer indicates what role they currently play so the border color may change each time through the minor set.

The dance contains the following figures: set, turn single, gypsy, circle, cast, lead, hey, hey for four, cast and lead (and probably others).

If you find what you believe to be a mistake in this animation, please leave a comment on youtube explaining what you believe to be wrong. If I agree with you I shall do my best to fix it.

If you wish to link to this animation please see my comments on the perils of youtube. You may freely link to this page, of course, and that should have no problems, but use one of my redirects when linking to the youtube video itself:

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The dance is copyright © 1977 by Fried de Metz Herman. My visualization of this dance is copyright © 2019 by George W. Williams V and is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

This website is copyright © 2021,2022,2023,2024 by George W. Williams V
Creative Commons License My work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Most of the dances have more restrictive licensing, see my notes on copyright, the individual dance pages should mention when some rights are waived.