Bear Dance

Bear Dance (2012)

Edwin Beasant as the Bear, and costume by Lucy Wright.

Performance with Edwin Beasant (2012)

Contemporary re-imagination of the historical Lancashire "bear dance" with Edwin Beasant:

The lad who was elected to be the bear wore an old sack over his head. There were holes to enable him to see. The bear’s face was indicated by chalk marks; the ears were the stretched corners of the sack tied with string. To the bear was attached a few yards of string. The lads stopped at street corners and the lad holding the string put the bear through its paces. The bear ran in a circle, and the traditional song was: “Arry om, pompay; arry om pompay; arry, array om pompay,” with the first part at speed and the latter somewhat slower… After the performance, the collecting box was taken round.

(Mitchell, 1977: 72)