As the dance out season approaches, more and more events are coming up, such as the Rhubarb Festival on the 23rd February. On Thursday the 21st we were invited to show off our skills and to show off some of the history and culture of Morris dancing for a WI group called Buns and Roses. The talk took place at the Cosmopolitan hotel near Leeds bridge just off Briggate. Several dancers arrived from Leeds, Briggate Morris, Rhubarb Tarts and Wayzgoose Border Morris. The hotel offered one of their rooms where the powerpoint presentation was projected onto a wall explaining briefly about the history and myths of morris dancing. There was also a demonstration of the different kits and styles of dancing.
After the meeting each side danced one or two dances as a demonstration including the new(ish) Ascott tradition for Leeds. As the time comes up where we will be dancing out more reguarly it’s important to get this streamlined as much as possible.
After demonstrating the dances it was time for the ladies of the WI to take part. First they were taught the North-West dance Plymouth Reel by the Briggate women. The clogs made a great resounding clonk on the wooden dance floor, which was full of dancers learning the moves. After this Leeds taught the clappy bampton dance Glorishears with a room full of women holding paper napkins as handkerchiefs.
At the end of the night as the room cleared Liggate Breeds, the new(ish) rapper side with members from both Briggate and Leeds took to the floor to perform their dance, albeit to a much smaller crowd.
One myth that was explored during the evening was the superstition that a woman, after wearing a Morris dancers hat will become pregnant by Christmas. Several months ago during another WI meeting, Ali and little Jonny danced several jigs for a crowd in the centre of town. Many members were trying on the hats unaware of the superstition, and were quite shocked about it when told. Little Jonny was held outside the meeting room, until the meeting to be used as an example of a morris dancer, but during the lecture when little Jonny was mentioned a woman stood up at the back; the woman who had worn his hat at the previous event was rubbing a bump. Little Jonny was speechless, however she wasn’t actually pregnant, and it was all just a big ruse to wind him up. Mirth was shared by all. Little Jonny bears no responsibility for any pregnancies experienced in the months following the wearing of his hat.