The Wakefield Day of Dance in Mirfield

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This Saturday was the Wakefield day of dance in Mirfield.  Starting off, the day was absolutely miserable.  Rain had continued from the Thursday, and while it wasn’t as bad, it had still made the floor slippy, and the weather pretty miserable.

Leeds had a very small side for this event.  A few people dropped out at the last minute, but luckily a few joined in and we had enough to just about make it with a few people joining in.

We were meant to meet in Mirfield at the parade grounds.  The great thing about Mirfield…and when I say great, I mean the horrendously confusing thing about Mirfield…is that it has two fields, both called the parade grounds.  These two fields aren’t even far apart.  They’re pretty much on the same bloody road!  This made finding the location quite difficult, but luckily, due to the rain, there wasn’t as much of a desperate need to get there for 9:45.  Because of the rain, and the Mayor not closing the road (or so I heard) we couldn’t process through the streets, so we just walked.

With a bit of tea and biscuits and a few changes (one of the pub owners first wouldn’t serve us food, and then wouldn’t even open) we updated our sheets and set out for our first couple of dance spots.  Leeds were with Briggate all day, so there were lots of familiar faces.  We started out at the Library just next to the church where we started with Wakefield.  Other teams went off to different locations on old-fashioned buses, which we would be getting on later.

The dance spot outside the Library was incredibly muddy…and wet…and slippy. How to get morris white's dirty Our own Alastair unfortunately fell over and caked his arse in mud.  Not always the best thing to do when wearing all whites, but he got back up, and carried on the dance straight away without anyone having to stop.

After a short while Christa Ackroyd turned up to discuss things with a few  people.  She didn’t seem to stay long, and I didn’t hear anything about any of this afterwards.  Our Brian had a bit of a chat with her.

We went across to the Old Colonial pub.  The Old Colonial was a great pub.  This pub then kind of served as the base of operations.  It was the pub that people seemed to come to and go from.  Buses would come and go, and drop people off, and pick people up (as buses generally tend to do).  There was a decent dance spot just outside the pub, so people could watch from the comfort of near the pub (and near the bar, and near the toilets etc.).

Later on we moved to a Hungry Horse pub where the sun started to shine a little bit.  We had a couple of dances outside this Greene King pub.  It was an old working man’s social beforehand apparently.  It was a huge pub, that only seemed to do Greene King IPA.

After a few practices at the Jockey to the Fair Ducklington Jig (the one that looks great if 2 people, 3 people, or as many for which room can be found dance it) we moved back to the Old Colonial, at which point we unfortunately lost 2 of our Side, as they had to go home.  This was understandable, but did leave the side short (and I’m not just talking about me being 5’2).  The plan to get around this was to play a few jigs, and just work from that.  We knew the Jockey Jig all good and well, which we did, but the Oh Dear What can the Matter be jig that I do was a touch difficult.

Wakefield Day of Dance - Oh Dear what can the matter be

Preparing for oh dear what can the matter be

I’m still not 100% confident in doing it, and while I can, I can’t really tell other people what I’m going to do.  I just do it.  This makes it exceptionally difficult for the musicians who don’t know how many As and Bs to play in the music.  I unfortunately sprang this on the musicians, who did an exceptional job in playing.

After a few more dance spots we were all herded back to the church where we performed one dance each for the audience.  After realising that Morris sides don’t have competitions, the mayor instead offered the cup to the team that got the loudest reaction from the audience.  He nearly missed out Leeds’ turn, as he thought we’d gone home, but instead, the 3 remaining dancers and 1 musician did the Jockey to the Fair Jig again.  I’d been doing jigs all day, and was absolutely knackered.  We all seemed to do quite well, as several people commented that we’d got quite high of the ground.Mirfield Wakefield day of dance - Jockey to the fair Leeds Morris Men

In the end, Wakefield got the biggest reaction from the crowd and won the “competition”.

It was a great day, if it was a bit wet.

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