Local morris sides this year were represented by Pretty Grim, Green Dragon, Danegeld, Westrefelda and Treacle Miners with Green Dragon and Westrefelda also running workshops. For the first time another East Anglian side Chelmsford Ladies Clog were there and out in force. In addition to their stage performances they ran 2 excellent simultaneous workshops for adults and for 5-10 year olds and had performance spots at the ceilidhs: I was sorry to miss Chelmsford’s routine to “Till the Sun Goes Down” by David Jordan.

They were energetic, colourful and above all seemed to be hugely enjoying themselves which is very attractive – no wonder they have so many members.  As they say themselves “along with quality dancing, fun is a priority”.  They have also got 2 mothers in their side who between them have 4 very young daughters; they all dance and there was even a special Mothers and Daughters routine which stole the show.

 Insert photos; Treacle Miners at FolkEast 2017 & Chelmsford mothers & daughters clog dancers

 Sides from away included, Crooked Moon - a fantastic Appalachian side from Brighton with some members from the old Broken Ankles group, maintaining that side’s dances and energetic style – and Anstey Morris and Oakenyouth Rapper.   This is a new young side from Littleborough, Lancashire.  They have already won the youth section of the Dancing England Rapper Tournament (DERT) 2016 and in 2017, the Open, best newcomers and Sword Dance Union prize for best second dance style.  They also do a mean clog step routine.  Both Crooked Moon and Oakenyouth also ran workshops.

 Insert photo; Crooked Moon Appalachian & Oakenyouth

Local step dancing was represented for the first time with Ella Beal running an East Anglian Step Dance workshop which was taught in a very encouraging and fun way.  Local cloggie Pam Ross taught the Durham Waltz and there were also Scandinavian, French and English social dance workshops.

The number of Morris sides this year was half that of a year ago when there were so many that there were 2 dance stages and overflow venues at local pubs.  This year there was only one on-site stage which was so unstable it compromised some of the dancing.  It was a particular problem for the percussive stepping rapper and Appalachian sides and so bad that at one point it had to be re-assembled.  Also, it was just about large enough for a 6-man Cotswold or Border side, but for a Northwest side of 14, it was hardly adequate. 

All in all, there was plenty of opportunity to learn a new style or a new dance, though regretfully I had to choose which to do as I no longer have the energy to go straight from one to the other – the spirit’s willing, but …!

 Gill Brett

Suffolk Folk

Norfolk Folk Association

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