Ben introduced Spirit of the Dance to us and it’s quite straightforward to play and has a good lilt. Ben says he learned it from the Bishops Arms session in Stockholm. As it is an English tune, travelled to Sweden and now back to Oxford, it has acquired a few changes along the way, so it is slightly different to one of the (several) versions on TheSession.Org, but I think we are pleased to adopt Ben’s version and embrace its development as part of the way that folk tunes evolve. Jon Fletcher helped me with some chords and we ended up having a long discussion about how the sense of the bar-lines seem to move in the B-part so we put some of the chords on the second beat of the bar rather than the first. I think we need to try it out to see how it works.
Ben says that “this is a so-called Hardy tune, i.e. collected by Thomas Hardy, and I have also played this at a session in Dorchester including someone who works at Hardy’s Cottage (now a museum), and while I can’t swear every note was the same, I didn’t notice that I was playing anything that clashed.”
On Youtube, I’ve found a 20yr old video of Andy Cutting and Chris Wood playing it (at 3.06mins into the video). Here’s a simple rendition on the melodeon and here on a banjo. The few videos I could find on Youtube, however, is, I think, more indicative of how hard it is to search for something with a common name. I’m pretty certain it’s a fairly popular and well-known tune.