Cleckheaton Folk Festival

This saturday, some of the Leeds Morris men went to Lobster Potties, and some went to the Cleckheaton Folk Festival.  Hopefully some of those morris dancers that went to the lobster potties festival will provide a little post for me to insert into this blog.  Otherwise all the information that you’ll get is already in this post.  If anyone did go to the lobster potties fest, and has any pictures/text for me to put into this post, it would be greatly appreciated.  Send them to morrismenleeds@googlemail.com.

Cleckheaton was ridiculously hot!  It was roasting.  It was so hot.  It made the dancing very difficult.  It was just getting everyone dehydrated, and the constant moving around made it difficult to grab a bottle of water…beer and coke of course being terrible for rehydrating!

A Morris Dance in a procession

Processional Morris Dancing

The first act of the day was the procession.  It involved 2 types of Morris Dance Tradition.  Sneakily moving slightly out of the parade to post a letter or two (not morris dance related though).

There were lots and lots and lots of people in the parade and it seemed to go on forever.  In the end the Leeds Morris Men had to drop out and move onto the next area where we were dancing.

This was the Rose and Crown pub where we were joined by Wakefield Morris (with our own John Earnshaw taking part), and the Raving Maes, who were from Hessle.  A small village near Hull.  Anyone who also follows the mudskipper beer blog (which is also ran by me) will know that I’m also from Hull, and it’s always nice to meet other sides doing morris dancing from Hull.

Several dances later, we moved to another spot in the middle of town, and then had to try to find the commercial pub, where we again met the Raving Maes.

Wakefield Morris Dance

Wakefield

Raving Maes Morris Dance
The Raving Maes

It’s always interesting to see other sides dance.  They all have their own style and they all dance different traditions and have their own slant on them.  Wakefield for example are a north west side and had a trombone player…as did the Raving Maes.  It definitely had a great added beat to the whole thing, and in the case of the sliding notes for the Raving Maes added a great effect.

The Raving Maes also danced with brooms which was something I had not previously seen.

All day, Leeds only had 5 men to dance. (Hence the lack of pictures.  There were no able bodies able to take pictures).  We had 2 musicians, who played fantastically, and our 5 men dances didn’t seem to go too amiss.  It just involved a slightly higher level of organisaion, shouting at people to make sure that they were her, and they were there, when we needed people to stand in (in the middle of the dance mind) for the gap.

Some dances that Leeds did, I would say look better in a 4 than they do in a 6.  Hays are good in a 6, but circle dances in a 4 add more of a square, than a hexagonal shape to proceedings, and it appears more of a twist of the dance arena, than just some men dancing in a circle, however this may just be my opinion, and I’m happy for other people to tell me otherwise.  Anyone that wants to leave something in the comments about this, then please feel free 😀

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