Your starter for 10 – University Challenge asks this question ...

The final of University Challenge between Edinburgh University and St Edmund Hall, Oxford held on the 22nd April which might be described as the eve of St Georges Day asked the following topical question as it opener;

 “Bean Setting, Leapfrog and Laudnum Bunches are among specific examples of which traditional dance form?  Often accompanied by symbolic figures such as the Hobby Horse and Maid Marion; its name is thought to derive from an adjective applied historically to North West Africa and Islamic Spain”.

The first answer given suggested Maypole Dancing but as this was an interruption it cost Edinburgh University a deduction of 5 points.  After a surprisingly long delay, which seemed to surprise Jeremy Paxman the correct answer came from Fry of St Edmund Hall.  Despite their good start the Oxford college lost out to Edinburgh in a closely fought final.

Someone behind the scenes at the Beeb knows his Morris dancing stuff and it was great to see Morris featured in a "prime-time" slot on national television.

Dave Evans

 

All My Life’s Buried Here – New Film of The Story of George Butterworth

The Diss Corn Hall will be showing this new documentary film about George Butterworth, the English composer, Morris dancer and folk song collector who was killed in 1916 at Pozières, France during the Battle of the Somme aged just 31. In the chaos of war Butterworth was buried where he fell and his remains were never subsequently identified.

The film will be shown on Wednesday 27th February 2019 at 10.30am and at 7.30pm.  Following each performance there will be a Q & A session with the director Stewart Hajdukiewicz

A trailer for the film is available at www.georgebutterworth.co.uk

Tickets are available from the Corn Hall box office.

Read more: All My Life’s Buried Here – New Film of The Story of George Butterworth

The 2019 Whittlesea Straw Bear Festival.

Whittlesea Festival - Part 2

The festival dance programme began at the Manor Leisure Centre at 10.30am on Saturday morning with the spectacle, music and colour of the procession of morris sides led by the Straw Bear and his “driver".

Read more: The 2019 Whittlesea Straw Bear Festival.

The (new) Whittlesea Straw Bear Festival is 40 years old

 

Background to the Straw Bear Festival

The Straw Bear is a very old fenland icon which goes back well into the nineteenth century at the very least.  Straw Bear parades took place on Plough Monday, the first Monday after Epiphany or Twelfth Night; the day when local farm workers were supposed to return to their work, ploughing the land. 

The Straw Bear dances in the Market Place, Whittlesea January 2016

As they had not been working or paid during the Christmas holidays the agricultural workers and “ploughboys” toured the locality to perform molly dances, plough-plays or sing and entertain with acts of “mischief” and would beg for money.  To avoid recognition, they would black their faces to disguise themselves as their aim was essentially to intimidate in order to obtain money: those refusing to donate would have some trick played upon them.  In her book “Fenland Chronicle” (Sybil Marshall, 1963) she recounts that her mother, had told her “very often these were real nasty tricks, and they’d wait until Plough Monday to get their own back on somebody what had done them some injury during the year” for example, they would plough up a doorway or take gates off their hinges so that the livestock escaped.

The Straw Bear is not exclusively a Whittlesea custom and some of the earliest newspaper reports date from 1880 where in Ramsey, a few miles south of Whittlesea there are reports of an “individual dressed from top to toe in straw … (who) capered before the houses … to the merry strains of the accordion”

Read more: The (new) Whittlesea Straw Bear Festival is 40 years old

Updated! Morris Autumn & Winter Tours 2018 - 2019

There may be other sides performing in the area who have not contacted us.  Contacts for morris and clog sides appear elsewhere in Morris On!  If planning to see a performance please check with the contact or website beforehand as sometimes, for unavoidable reasons, performances are cancelled or re-arranged.

 GROUP(S)

DAY

DATE

VENUE/EVENT

TOWN/VILLAGE

OG

Sat

26th Jan 2019

Dance England, Nottingham Playhouse

Nottingham

OW

Sat

26th Jan 2019

10.30 6pm Mark Jones Day of Dance (see side website)

Ely, Cambs

OM

Sat

30th Mar 2019

Oxblood Molly 5th Day of Dance (see side website) with other invited sides

Halesworth, Suffolk

BMM

Sun

28th April 2019

12.30 St Georges Day Celebrations, Rose & Crown, with many other sides from Suffolk & further afield

Hundon, Suffolk

 

Key                 TBC = to be confirmed            TBA = time to be arranged

BMM = Belchamp Morris Men (Cotswold and Border)

OG = Old Glory Molly Dancers and Musicians (Molly)

OM = Oxblood Molly (Molly)

OW = Ouse Washes Molly Dancers (Molly)

 

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