Smalls, Halls and Stalls

Since our last blog I’m ashamed to say that we’ve had three more fabulous dance-outs – so for the sake of brevity I am encapsulating all of the three into one blog……I know, terribly lazy but needs must when the devil stamps on your bells….or something like that….

First of the three was the really lovely Bayston Hill WW1 Commemoration Fayre on Sat 3rd May (Oh no was it THAT long ago?). A hot day and one that saw two brand new ladies (Sue and Beryl) make their very successful debuts in the ranks of the Shrewsbury Lasses. Brilliant to see our new dancers (men and women) doing so well so quickly. Our two performances on the school playground went well and some keen children danced alongside us imitating our moves….(sign them up quick!!) This was a nice event to do, especially given the context of the day and was clearly well supported by the local community. A good day made perfect by the fact that we also met…..Magic Kev!!….my life is complete:)))

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After a break on the Sunday we were (like Davey….OK, maybe too early) on the road again on Bank Holiday Monday, this time to the amazing National Trust property at Dudmaston Hall, near Bridgnorth. The lovely Nikki Hook had been organising this at the Dudmaston end for a while and being a bit of a Twitter buddy of ours we were looking forward to meeting her at last. We were firstly impressed by the fact that we had our own hut, complete with drink making facilities (no, only tea and coffee sadly!!), storage and rest area……don’t always get THAT!! The place is beautiful and we were dancing in a walled orchard where all sorts of activities were taking place around us. The day started well when Ray completed his road sweeping duties to clear our dance area and Bev then asked us all to line up…..which of course we did (you don’t argue with Bev). She then asked us…..no, actually ORDERED us to cross the dance area clearing every last stone. So, if any local police forces require any finger tip searches of crime scenes completed, who you gonna call?…..Shrewsbury Morris!

The day itself was absolutely great, we had three dance spots, huge crowds at each spot (all very appreciative), the team danced and played their little socks off, we managed to get Nikki involved in a Steeple Claydon (she’s a great sport), the men danced a ten man Upton and Ralph’s Reel (unheard of for years) and Ray and Bev led a huge Farandole (it’s a procession) at the end which culminated in the raising of the decorated May Tree. A lovely day – and we’re going back in October….get your finger tip searching rubber gloves on folks! :))

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The third of our recent dance outs (Sunday 11th May) found us rather more local to Shrewsbury, in the village of Minsterley at The Rea Valley Produce Market, a super local event held in one of the largest village halls in the country. We were able to catch up with a few of the stall holders who were social media friends and the dancing, in a reasonably tight space was really good (I think small spaces are better) – in particular the lines formed by both the women and the men were really impressive, and I have the photographic evidence to prove it….Bev! (so the gruelling training pays off then?). In between our three dance spots the local stalls, in particular for some reason the food stalls…..took a bit of a pasting from the team and I think the Scotch Egg lady may have had to re-stock completely!

Three lovely dance-outs, new dancers ‘blooded”, big crowds (in fact a record crowd day at Dudmaston we were told) and all in very different but very nice local areas. Good times!!

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Next stop – Aston on Clun on Sunday 25th May for Arbor Day celebrations…….I promise the next blog will be on time…….or I’m not a police finger tip searcher……..oh wait! :)))

VG at the WI

When the Women’s Institute asks you to go and dance for them, the only real question is “where do you want us”……I mean….we’re talking tea….we’re talking cake…we’re talking being looked after………*sigh*…………………………oh sorry!!….ahem…..

…and so it was when Bridgnorth WI asked us to dance for them at St James’ Hall in their lovely town at the end of April.

We have a special show, a sort of Morris Roadshow (I call it) which we have taken round for a number of years now to perform in small venues such as village halls, community centres etc. It’s compact, energetic, busy and full of music and dance (bit like us really) and it’s so much fun for us to do.

We can fit about 11 dances into it, some Morris/dance education, a bit of a sing-song and some mock interviews with team members (that’s when we all try to hide) and sometimes members of the audience.

The evening at Bridgnorth was great. We were warmly welcomed by the very cheerful and friendly women there (always a bonus when you turn up and people actually know you’re coming!) and made to feel very comfortable before we got going. We had a good number of team members available so were able to put out a nice mixture of new and seasoned team members and musicians into a nicely informal atmosphere.

Ray (Our Squire) began proceedings with our traditional Calling On song “Staines Morris” then the Bull and Pump Morris Men got things underway with a very spirited “Upton” followed by an excellent “Severn Steps” from The Shrewsbury Lasses.

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For our new members this was only their second dance-out ever and they coped extremely well with warm and slightly space-restricted conditions (all part of being a Morris Dancer, just got to get your Morris radar right).

The evening went brilliantly, the dancers were fabulous, our musicians were, as always awesome and the audience were really great as they clapped, even cheered in some places and joined in at the end with a communal (and, as always chaotic) Steeple Claydon dance. Bull and Pump also debuted (for most of us anyway) an eight man Shrewsbury Gallop which is when………well, you’ll just have to come and see it! :))

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The legendary hospitality of the WI was very much in evidence at the end of a super evening when sponges, cakes (lemon drizzle – personal favourite of many of us….hint…hint)), tea coffee and other goodies were produced and we had a good chat with many of the WI members before returning to Shrewsbury.

If you are interested in booking us for one of these events just email [email protected]……but don’t forget….lemon drizzle…..OK?? *winks*

Tick VG for Shrewsbury Morris :))