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A Sword Dancer

The Sword Dance

- Highland music drama

by Jens E. Hansen

100 min / 6-15m / 8-15w / +children / simple sets.
/ Optional CD w. music and sound effects - 100 DKK

The Sword Dance is also published in Danish - read more here

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The Sword Dance takes place in the Scottish Highlands in the year 1658, the time of Cromwell's death, his son's unsuspected abdication and the crowning of James II.

The story acts on two levels:
1. among ordinary Scotsmen
2. among elves, witches and ghosts!

At the human level
The English and some renegade Scots have been pestering the ordinary Scotsmen during the ruling of Cromwell. Every attempt to fight the suppressors have failed. The English army is much too strong for even the brave clansmen.

'The Sword Dance' begins with a small intermezzo eight years earlier. The 12 year old flute player, Jack, is playing with his best friend, the girl Wendy, when his father comes to take him to join the war against the British. This battle is also lost, Jack's father is killed, and Jack must slave for eight years in a coalmine.

Eventually, he escapes and hurries home - almost getting killed by his own family, when he gets there!

Extreme poverty rules. A local scoundrel, McCrum, supported by the British, is doing all he can to rob his countrymen of their land and property.

Now he even plans to marry his son to Jack's childhood sweetheart, Wendy. Jack and Wendy still love one another but McCrum has practically bought Wendy from her parents.

Jack tries to correct this, but, alas, others wish him harm as well!

A secret rival reveals to the authorities that Jack is an escaped 'convict'. He is arrested and must be sentenced.

Jack is saved by a general pardon following the crowning of James II - but Wendy's parents will not let Jack near his beloved!

Now, Jack decides to try the unspoken: it is possible to protest against a bethrothal, although noone has ever dared to challenge the church on this delicate matter.

Jack stands up against the priest and gets his will: the right to meet his rival in a Sword Dance!

At the sub-earthly level
The Elves are dancing merrily to Jack's flute. One Elfgirl even falls in love with him. Her love has not faltered at his return eight years later.

Confronted with the poverty and misery of his family, Jack vows not to play his flute until the farm is on the family's hands again. The Elfgirl rescues the flute but the old Witch would very much like to get her hands on this "Flute of love".

Luckily, Jack's father comes to the aid - up from the Dead!

For the final fight with Jack's rival, his father swaps the flute for his own sword. Which saves Jack, of course.

As the Elfgirl realises that Jack only loves his Wendy, she renounces her own love. Therefore, Jack's father gives her back the flute so she can bring it to Jack who has finally defeated the villains.

The Witch, on her part, is furious - and she loses her mind over the loss of the Love Flute.

The Music for the Sword Dance

Is a mixture of classical music for few or many instruments and modern rhythms. Fighting and evil minds, in particular, seem to fit rock'n'roll...

There are two lovesongs but the highlights are the big dancing scenes where every honest Scotsman takes part.

Music excerpts as MP3

Listen to excerpts from the Sword Dance
The music has been recorded without voices but most of it is instrumental anyhow.
Everything is made in MIDI which gives a thinner sound. These 'recordings' are only meant as guidelines for how to perform the music - not for publishing on CD.

The sound quality on these excerpts are NOT optimal! (- almost a joke!)

The Elves are dancing - interrupted by Jack's father [instr.]

Castle builders' dance [instr.]

Ma Nellie's lullaby - alto voice in the cello

Witch's intro and dance [instr.]

Wendy's lovesong - soprano voice in the harpsichord

Jack's Sword Dance [instr.]

Sword fight - interrupted by the Elfgirl's dance [instr.]

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