Thursday, September 18, 2008
In the end of August this year, our local Border Morris Team, Breathless in Berthoud, celebrated their 5th anniversary. For those who may not have heard of it, Morris Dancing is a very old English folk dance that was old even in Shakespeare's time, and it involves clashing sticks, waving hankies and wearing bells. Border Morris comes from the area around the border between England and Wales. It tends to be more wild and energetic that other Morris dance styles and the dancers often wear colorful rags.
An "Ale" is what Morris dancers call a party where various teams (called "sides") get together to dance and drink beer. Lots of beer. At this Ale, we had our two local teams - Breathless of Berthoud Border Morris out of Berthoud, Colorado, who put on the Ale and Maroon Bells from Denver. Visiting teams were Prairie Waves from Omaha, Nebraska, Morton Bay Figs from San Diego, California, and Blackthorn Morris from St. Louis, Missouri.
I first heard about Morris dancing from my father, who danced it as a youth back in the 1930's in England. When I finally saw it for the first time here in Colorado, I finally understood what the heck he had been talking about. Since my legs don't work very well, I can't dance, but my spouse and younger daughter both dance for the Maroon Bells. I've just recently started playing for them as a musician.
I've including some videos from the Ale so you can get an idea of what a Morris party looks like.
Here we are in Oscar Blues in Lyons, Colorado, drinking beer and dancing. This dance is a Molly dance - usually done to someone singing acapella. This is Raggle Taggle Gypsy:
Here, all the teams are dancing "The Idiot" in the park across from Oscar Blues:
And here they are dancing "Donkey Riding":
More information on Breathless in Berthoud can be found here.