The Bear Dance

The Bear Dance

Someone taught me the Bear Dance the other day and I was wondering if anyone else knew any tunes along the same lines as it seems to have a different feel to all the english tunes I have been learning. Im pretty new to this so not sure if its a period/date thing or a mode etc etc

Re: The Bear Dance

The Bear Dance, or ‘Berendans’ was recorded by Flemish group ‘Rum’ during the seventies. And id the rounds in the Flemish and Dutch folkworld like an epidemic during that time (and into the eighties). Basically it was played as one part and everybody seemingly making up a second part for it. They may well have made up the whole thing altogether. Which explains why it isn’t much at all like English music.

Rum also introduced (through their Argentinian group member) La partida to Europe’s folkscene, during the early eighties.

Posted .

Re: The Bear Dance

Pyewacket used to play it in the following set:

The B de B / Borborygmi/ The Bear Dance.

I can’t find a free recording of this for you, nut the following gives an idea of the sound:

http://www.ianblake.net/music-13.html

Re: The Bear Dance

It’s a flemish dance, that adds extra actions with each pass, so the tune shou8ldn’t be put into a set, but played:
2A/B,2A/2B,2A/3B,2A/4B2A/5B.

The dance is explained in ‘Encyclopaedia Blowzabellica’ (which has just been reprinted and is available from Jo Freyer’s website) The same book has a wealth of other Flemish and English dance tunes with a similar feel. Or listen to some of the early Blowzabella recordings.

Re: The Bear Dance

Try out some French and Breton tunes (as they’re played in English sessions). Many English musicians (in the south) are self-consciously moving away from the influences of the Irish revivals of the 60s and 70s, and towards those of the French and Breton dance music traditions. There’s definitely a hybrid tradition emerging, just as there seems to be quite a lot of crossover between English and Scandinavian music taking place further north.

Also, it’s probably better to play the tune the same way everybody else plays it, rather than the way it would supposedly have been played in Antwerp in 1639.

Re: The Bear Dance

Goes well it with simply because they’re two foreign tunes that a lot of English players know. Susato’s "Mourisque" is another tune that gets thrown in with one or the other for no very clear reason.

The dance is weird enough that if you do have somebody who can lead or call it, following the original tune structure, it makes for an experience nobody present is likely to forget.

Re: The Bear Dance

"Try out some French and Breton tunes (as they’re played in English sessions). Many English musicians (in the south) are self-consciously moving away from the influences of the Irish revivals of the 60s and 70s, and towards those of the French and Breton dance music traditions. There’s definitely a hybrid tradition emerging, just as there seems to be quite a lot of crossover between English and Scandinavian music taking place further north."

Aka "Franglonavian" - A lot of it about!

Re: The Bear Dance

Scanglofraton?

Re: The Bear Dance

Jack C - yes, that’s why gave it as information rather than opinion. I have heard a klezmer tune (I think) making up a set of three. I ducked out of suggesting a oddly matched Irish and Scottish pair that might come together in an equivalent situation.

Re: The Bear Dance

https://thesession.org/tunes/10453

So is it originally from Asturias in northern Spain then, rather than northern Europe or maybe just common across both traditions?

Re: The Bear Dance

It is practically the only one of the Miller’s Tale / Mediaeval re-enactment stable of buttock dance tunes that I can bear to listen to.