Clog dancer from Alnwick, Northumberland. b.1922.

Learned clog dancing from Cuthbert May, the son of clog dancer Eddie May.  Alex went every week to Cuthbert’s house in Alnwick for lessons learning steps in waltz, schottische, hornpipe and fast 4/4. Alex always called the latter his “quickstep routine” and his schottische steps his “foxtrot routine”.

Although taught in clogs Alex in later years often preferred to wear tap shoes.

A fuller biography of Alex together with step notations have been published in the Newcastle Series:

C. Metherell,  Alex Woodcock. The Waltz Steps, Newcastle: Newcastle Series, (1991). Biography and notations for the waltz steps collected from Mr Woodcock, originally of Alnwick, Northumberland.

I. Craigs and C. Metherell, Alex Woodcock. Schottische Steps. Taught at the Sidmouth Festival, August 1994, Newcastle: Newcastle Series, (1995). Biography and notations for six schottische steps, as taught in 1994.

I. Craigs and C. Metherell, Alex Woodcock. Schottische Steps 2, Newcastle: Newcastle Series, (1997). Biography and notations for six further schottische steps from Alex’s repertoire.

I. Craigs, C. Metherell and J. Smith, Alex Woodcock. Rag Steps, Newcastle: Newcastle Series, (2003). Biography and notations for nine steps in fast 4/4 rhythm.

Alex’s hornpipe steps remain unpublished.

Information derived from interviews with Alex on 3/2/1990 (when the interview was recorded on film – unfortunately now lost), 1/8/1994, 3/8/1994, 4/8/1994 and 22/2/1997. See also the film list below.

Alex was an extremely accomplished entertainer and this is reflected in the many performances which he gave at folk festivals and elsewhere.  The following films are available:

  1. Alex performing a selection of his waltz steps, filmed at the Newcastle Weekend of Dance, in Gateshead, 13th October 1990.
  2. Alex performing a selection of his rag steps steps at the Newcastle Weekend of Dance13th October 1990.
  3. Alex performing a selection of his waltz steps at the Reading Day of Dance in 1990.
  4. Alex dancing ragtime and schottische steps, filmed at the Reading Day of Dance on 11th November 1991.
  5. Alex dancing a selection of hornpipe steps at the Reading Day of Dance 23 October 1993.
  6. Alex dancing a selection of ragtime steps (with Kay Nightingale) at the Reading Day of Dance 23 October 1993.
  7. Alex performing a selection of his schottische steps, Sidmouth Folk Festival, August 1994.
  8. Alex teaching schottische steps at the Sidmouth Folk Festival, August 1994.
  9. Alex teaching schottische steps, Midhurst in 1997.
  10. Alex teaching his ragtime steps, Newcastle in 1997 Part 1
  11. Alex teaching his ragtime steps, Newcastle in 1997 Part 2.