The Hornpipe

Was chating to an ex cadet today and she said the girls sea cadets used to have a contest each year for hornpipe dancing, I said she should come down and teach the cadets, she said she couldn't really remember the dance ( could be an excuse mind)

Could anyone give me the finer details of what the hornpipe dance should include?
The Hornpipe Recipe


A willing mess of agile matelots
Tropical rig for same
Sennit hats for same
Bootneck band


First take your matelots and place them on a deck with sleeping stokers below decks.

Select big, heavy matelots ONLY.

Place boots on their feet and make them don tropical rig with straw sennit hats.

Get booty band to play that tune.

Spend many hours drilling them in dancing and pretending to haul on ropes (or erect, super-long snakes, out of baskets).


This would have been possible if the sleeping matelots below hadn't stormed on deck and thrown every last hornpiper into the oggin.

Hornpipe Dance History

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Streetswings Dance History Archives: Hornpipe Hornpipe

The lively Hornpipe is really very characteristic of the Englishin nature and is a very old Celtic solo dance that is very much based on the sailor's abilities during the dancing with the sailors originally performing it with folded arms. The steps are clearly shipwise such as hauling in the anchor, climbing or rigging ropes etc. The Sailor's Hornpipe was most popular during the 16th to 18th Centuries but the original (Hornpipe) goes much farther back and was originally done by men only.

It is said that the English sailing ship and Royal Navy Captain James Cook (1728-1779) thought dancing was most useful to keep his men in good health during a voyage. When it was calm, and the sailors had

consequently nothing to do, he made them dance -- usually the hornpipe -- to the sound of a fiddle; and to this he attributed much freedom from illness on his ship.

Today, mainly due to competitions, there are basically two kinds of hornpipes - 'fast or traditional' and the 'slow or advanced'. It is somewhat difficult to master this dance as a beginner and usually is taught dances like the light and Slip Jig and some reels before progressing on to the Hornpipe. There is much written on the net about the origins having to do with the ancient Wind Instrument called the' Hornpipe' which I will leave to the other sites to detail.
Was taught the Hornpipe at St. Vincent many moons ago for a show. About a dozen of us all dressed in the old gear up on the stage with lots of Admirals with their wives in the audience...Was great when we got to the part when you were "looking through the telescope" when you put two fingers up on each hand and raised them as though you were looking through the scope!! How to tell an Admiral to fcuk off without getting in the shite!! Happy days!


Lantern Swinger
I'm an instructor at a Sea Cadet Unit and our Club Swinger was taught the hornpipe onhis course. We have a Junior section (10-12) year olds and he taught them the hornpipe for our annual inspection.

It was also used at the Trafalgar200 celebrations in Portsmouth, one or two of our cadets were in the team.

So its still going strong and being taught in the SCC
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westwinds31 The Quarterdeck 9

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