Oakworth Weekend

I’m finally recovered from the Oakworth weekend – an extravaganza of morris dancing Up North, where a number of fortunate sides got taken on a coach tour through spectacular Yorkshire countryside to dance at a number of villages on the Saturday. Then we got taken on a steam train to dance at different villages on the Sunday.

Saturday alternated between pouring down and too sunny. Sunday settled down to a steady diet of rainy and cold. But nevertheless this was a wonderful weekend and I’d like to thank our hosts, Oakworth Village Morris Men, for laying it all on.

We started out in Skipton, dancing outside the town hall, and the programme went very much like this:

 

Weekend of Dance Programme

The sides on the first day were Persephone Women’s Morris, a North West clog morris side:

Persephone

Who had apparently recently redesigned their kit to attract younger members. It’s very appropriate to their name, with the black for Hades and the green and yellow for Persephone’s returning in the spring. They have a yellow underskirt which shows through as they twirl and makes for a nice touch. They were very impressive – both precise and energetic. Normally a side will be one or the other, it’s rare to get both. Also they made a wonderful noise in their clogs :)

Kinnerton Morris Men, a Cotswold side:

Kinnerton

Rainbow Morris, a mixed North West clog morris side:

Rainbow

Oakworth Village Morris Men, our hosts, who are a Cotswold side:

Oakworth

And of course, us – the Coton Morris Men (with their fabulous –and controversial- lady musicians.)

CotonMusos

I am rocking the pirate look here entirely because it was raining at the time. I went prepared for various atmospheric conditions, in black trousers, white shirt, black waistcoat, white jumper, black coat, black and white scarf. With judicious putting on and taking off of each of these elements, I more or less stayed equipped for the weather throughout.

As Gerard says in his introduction, Coton Morris’s kit is black and white ‘because colour hasn’t reached the Fens yet.’

This is Gerard, in case you wondered how far to take him seriously:

Gerard

On the Sunday, we lost Persephone and Rainbow Morris, but we gained Leeds Morris Men:

Leeds

whose owl waistcoats I rather envy. They are another Cotswold side and were accompanied by (I think) a Fool borrowed from Oakworth.

And Briggate Morris, another North West clog morris side

Briggate

with a little girl who was an absolute star. She was a really good dancer and looked like she was having a great time.

Curious not to have any Border sides at all, but then often, down here, we’ll have events with Border and Cotswold only and no Clog, so it was nice to see the native dance of the area was so well represented.

I may be enjoying being a musician more than I enjoy being a dancer, which makes my future with the Riot a bit problematical. At the moment I’m trying to do both, but if I can’t fit both in, I would probably choose to carry on playing rather than dancing.

A bonus photo, taken about a fortnight ago when Coton danced at the garden party of St.Edward’s College, Cambridge. What’s notable about this one is that the entire side was in attendance, every single one of us:

CotonAll

that doesn’t happen often!


Comments (4)

HarrietAugust 1st, 2012 at 8:20 pm

For info and clarification; Moss is The Fool for Leeds Morris Men but usually adopts either the bell pads, baldrick or both of the host side of any weekend / festival etc they are invited to dance at.
We also have plenty of Border sides ooop north! The young girl who dances with Briggate is the daughter of a lady who dances with a border side called Wayzgoose. And yes, she is a rather marvellous dancer!

Alex BeecroftAugust 1st, 2012 at 10:01 pm

Oh cool! Thank you for letting me know :) And I’m glad to know that Border is all over the place too. It was strange to see a day of dance with no border sides at all, but it made for an interesting new (to me) mix.

CatherineAugust 1st, 2012 at 10:33 pm

For info and boasting: the little girl (9 next week!) who is an absolute star is my baby girl. Her name is Mary Nell but she’s known to all as Nellie Briggate and has been shortlisted as The Junior Face Of Morris. She absolutely LOVES her dancing and we’re all so proud of her. Thanks for the compliment- glad you enjoyed her dancing!

Alex BeecroftAugust 1st, 2012 at 10:57 pm

Oh, thanks for letting me know! You must be very proud of her. I’ve certainly known adults who don’t dance as well, and it would be lovely to see someone who obviously has that much fun as well as being good at it, even if she wasn’t also not even 9 years old. There’s clearly hope for the future of morris after all :D

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