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Morris Dances

Since becoming involved in morris dancing I have put together a number of new and 'rediscovered' morris dances.

  • High Sharpley - This was the first dance I wrote and is a Northwest Morris style dance. It is danced out regularly by Sergeant Musgraves Dance but was written originally for Anstey Royale Chalfont.
  • Low Row - This is another dance written in the Northwest morris style. It is designed to be a slightly simpler dance to teach to beginners. It is also a dance for 6 rather than the more usual 8 dancers in a set.
  • Newton Mayfields - This is a cotswold morris tradition that I 'discovered' and worked on a number of dances that I hoped Anstey Morris might take up, but the dances don't really suit Anstey's style.
  • Long Bunnington - This is another 'rediscovered tradition'. I ran a workshop for The Bunnies From Hell to work out if what I had put together from the original notes worked and was danceable. The dance has proved popular with some of the side, but is not liked so well by others. We have danced out one or two of the dances, but Bunnies don't really get together often enough to practice the dances properly, so I probably need to organise another workshop sometime.
  • Bang On The Wall - This is a cotswold morris dance written in the style of the Bledington tradition. It is designed to fit to a tune that I composed some years ago.


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Morris Dancing
I have been bagman, squire and foreman for Anstey Morrismen, and foreman for Sergeant Musgraves Dance. I also occasionally dance with The Bunnies From Hell. My first side though was, and still is The Hinckley Plough Bullockers.
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High Sharpley
The dance, High Sharpley was written around about the turn of the Century (in either 1999 or 2000) and at the time I was dancing with Anstey Royale Chalfont. They are a womens side, but I learned their dances so that I could help them out if they were ever short of a dancer. I was inspired to write a dance with lots of polka steps after seeing various mens Northwest sides dancing at Saddleworth at the Rushcart weekend. I had also been practicing some Playford tunes to play with The Bang On The Wall Band and it suddenly occurred to me on the way home from Saddleworth that you could do a polka step to the tune, Gathering Peascods that I happened to be playing a lot at the time. I also liked the idea of making different shapes with the set, and this idea probably came from seeing Sergeant Musgraves Dance, in particular the diamond figure I had seen in one of their dances (most likely Portland Hill). Anstey Royale Chalfont danced High Sharpley out in 2001. When I joined Sergeant Musgrave Dance, it was suggested that I teach them the dance, and it is now a firm fixture in the repertoire.
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Sergeant Musgraves Dance
Sergeant Musgraves Dance are a mixed Northwest Morris side based in Nottingham and Derby. We meet to practice at the scout hut on Hanley avenue in Bramcote. I was foreman (dance teacher and choreographer) for many years until recently moving away from the area. I hope to still be able to join the side to dance occasionally.
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Anstey Royale Chalfont
Anstey Royale Chalfont are a women's Northwest morris dance side from Leicestershire. I joined originally as a musician, but they also taught me some of the dances when they were looking to boost their number in order to be able to attend more festivals and dance events.
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Low Row
This dance was composed whilst I was on holiday in the village of Low Row in Swaledale, North Yorkshire. The dance is designed to be danced by six rather than the normal eight person set. It is performed regularly by Sergeant Musgraves Dance. I also taught this dance to The Bunnies From Hell and we did dance it out a few times, but Bunnies are really a Cotswold side, and not everyone was really bothered about doing it.
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Newton Mayfields
When I 'discovered' the notes for the long lost Newton Mayfields morris dancing tradition, I managed to piece a few dances together and was given permission to try teaching them to Anstey Morrismen.
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Anstey Morris
Everards Brewery Anstey Morrismen meet for practice on a Wednesday evening every week from October until around the end of April (except over Christmas) at The Church Rooms in Anstey. 8-10pm then afterwards entire to The Old Hare and Hounds. Over the summer we dance out at a different pub every Wednesday, and also visit the occasional dance weekend, festivals and other events.
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Long Bunnington
When I 'discovered' the notes for the long lost Long Bunnington morris dancing tradition, I thought it would be great to try the dances out with The Bunnies From Hell.
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The Bunnies From Hell
The Bunnies From Hell are easily recognisable from the attire of the dancers which is basically whatever each individual dancer chooses, but is limited in colour to black, grey, and of course, pink.
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Bang On The Wall, Bledington
This is a new cotswold morris dance written in the style of the Bledington tradition. Many years ago I wrote a tune called Bang On The Wall which is named after the ceilidh band I play in. I originally thought we might be able to use it as a tune for dancing but realised it is perhaps more suited to a morris dance than a ceilidh dance.
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Ceilidh and Barn Dances
I have written a number of dances some of which I use when calling for ceilidhs and barn dances. I love dances that are fairly simple but great fun to do, but occasionally I get an idea for a more complex dance.
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