Dancing, Damsels and Dragons

For our second public dance out of 2022, on Saturday 23rd April, Shrewsbury Morris Dancers were invited back to the lovely market town of Newport, Shropshire to celebrate the day that all self respecting Patron Saints enjoy…St Georges Day.

We took a big team back to one of our most loved towns, following the fun we had at the Food Frenzy in 2021, (which, incidentally we’re doing again this year!) and were immediately struck by the fun, friendly atmosphere.

Our first spot was outside a very popular coffee shop, (always a good position for us!) and we started with some of our favourite dances, right next to a Punch and Judy Booth which was later surrounded by laughing children…laughing at Mr Punch, not us, thankfully.

After narrowly avoiding a falling model of St George and watched closely by a very prominent dragon skull we had a good first dance spot, before a quick change in the programme (not unusual) saw the team forming up further down the High Street with a varied assembly of participants and then processing back up to the town centre (our banner displayed very prominently) where none other than St George himself, assisted by some suspiciously tiny mini Georges, fought with, and defeated, the ominous and very green Dragon…..who was assisted by some equally suspiciously tiny mini dragons!

Very Green, Ominous Dragon

The damsel, previously imprisoned by the Dragon, right in the middle of the roundabout was thus rescued from her captor (and the cold, one assumes) and they all proceeded to mix with a large and very family-oriented crowd before we began our second dance spot, the dragons apparently having been marched off to be turned into dragon sausages.

Victorious St George

Our mixed dances, honed in post-Covid practice conditions, proved very popular at this spot and were well received. 

Overall, our performances on the day led to our kindly being described by the organisers as “exceptional”.

Next stop is Todmorden Folk Festival on Saturday 30th April followed by Perton Carnival on Monday 2nd May.

“You dancing?”, “You asking?”, “I’m asking!”, “I’m dancing!”

….and so it was that Shrewsbury Morris Dancers took up the mantra of the famous TV series and, along with 36 other Morris teams (or sides), became Liver Birds and Boys for a day as we attended the Joint Morris Organisation Day of Dance in Liverpool, the self styled world capital of Pop.

It didn’t really start off with a “Pop” though because IT WAS COLD! Having stepped out of the warmth of the Boulton’s coach that got us there and with registering in the City Library, a great deal of furious warming up was necessary before The Shrewsbury Lasses finally got us underway in the lovely surroundings of St John’s Gardens.

So began a busy and fun day of dance which saw us perform in a total of six separate City Centre locations, along with a mixture of super and different Morris sides, all vying for attention along with the great, the good and the very smartly (and interestingly) dressed Aintree crowd and, later, the Hen Party crowd! The Shrewsbury Bull and Pump Morris Men should really memorialise the day by inventing a new dance and entitling it Peaky Blinders!

We all had fun, despite the occasional pitch (or set) invasion by the odd bystander and everyone danced extremely well (we were even on time at each spot……..which caused Bev not a little consternation….or was it confusion?)

Despite some sad personnel omissions due to Covid (we hope you’re all getting better), the team pulled together really well and the musicians kept everything on track all day…..well done as always Ray! 

It was a very tired but happy little group that arrived back in Shropshire at the end of a long Liverpudlian day.

As the Liver Birds might say…….”If you’re standing on the corner, all alone and feeling low, Shrewsbury Morris will come and grab you, dancing ee I ad ee o!