When you dance the Sailors’ Hornpipe so much depends on the character of your dance. All the steps performed during the Sailor's Hornpipe imitates sailors on a boat and represent the typical shipboard activities carried out on ships, for example, rope hauling and climbing the shroud lines etc. When dancing the Hornpipe you have to dance like a sailor at work, showing precision, vigour and strength, and as the ship is never at rest, even when tied up in harbour, you must always show a nautical roll of your body where suitable.
In 1752 a dancing master and celebrated fiddler, Mr John McGill, set down on paper a Hornpipe consisting of sixteen, yes sixteen steps, and many of the movements are reflected in the dance we perform today. It’s believed that many of the dances were performed by sailors on the decks of the ships as a form of exercise.
The Sailors’ Hornpipe is now part of Royal Navy training!