Sunday, February 8, 2009

All Work and No Play... as if I would let that happen.

A couple weeks ago I was shipped off to the UK on business. Knowing that I was going to be staying in the town of Chippenham, I figured I would check if there might be a local Morris side that was dancing out during my stay. A quick Google search took me to the site of the Chippenham Town Morris Men. There I found that, on the day that I would arrive, they would be dancing out at The Mermaid Inn in nearby Christian-Malford. (How lucky is that?) A few clicks and some friendly emails later and it was arranged that I would be picked up by one of their members (thanks again Richard) to not only watch, but also dance with them.

The Chippenham Town Morris Men consist of a couple of dozen very friendly and welcoming dancers and musicians. They dance in the Cotswold tradition, which is fortunate for me, since it meant that I knew some of their dances. You can see a couple of videos of them dancing outside of The Mermaid here and here. The former being "Young Collins" and the latter being "Vandals of Hammerwich". The dancer that is not 'in kit' is yours truly.

Later that week I joined them at their practice (literally around the corner from the hotel where I was staying). There I captured, on video, a stick dance that the Chippenham side had learned from a Spanish folk dancing team. The folks on our local Breathless in Berthoud Border Morris side found these videos very interesting. Hmmm, I wonder when I'll be seeing (and practicing) that dance.

One last thing: the sweater that I'm wearing in the above Vandals video was knitted by Linda, one of the Maroon Bells dancers. She recreated it from an existing sweater of mine that was starting to fall apart from age and excessive use.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Wait, Wait... We're Not Dead Yet!

Rumors of the pending demise of Morris Dancing have now been covered by that esteemed public radio news show "Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!". Yes folks, Peter Sagal has been duped into reporting that Morris Dancing will die out in a generation because today's youth find it embarrassing.

Now to be fair to the good folks at "Wait wait", their job is to find the ridiculous, yet news worthy items from the preceding week's news and mock them further. And a fine job they did! We laughed, we feigned indignant responses, we laughed, we forward the link to everybody on the Maroon Bells mailing list and then we laughed some more.

And why were we laughing? Well, because this rumor is far from true. Perhaps the Morris Ring just wanted to generate some press, but here along the Front Range of Colorado our Morris sides are alive and capering, including our youth "farm team" the Tommyknockers. My daughter was a "tommy" and after ferrying her from gig to gig for a year I figured that I may as well be dancing too. (Okay, there was also the allure of some mighty fine home brew.)

We just danced out at the Berkely Community Church's Epiphany Celebration - Our dancers ranged in age from 16 to 70+. Several of those dancers were new to Morris within the last couple years. Morris Dancing dieing? Ha! Who's spreading these rumors!?!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Celebration of Epiphany

While there is no proof that Morris dancers accompanied the Magi on the trek to see the baby Jesus, there is also no proof that they didn't. After all, Kings, even two centuries ago, rarely traveled alone. So it is quite possible that Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar brought with them dancers as entertainment and a slightly smaller probability (slightly greater than zero) that those dancers were Morris dancers!!

But whether there were or weren't Morris dancers at the first Epiphany is of little consequence. However, there most certainly will be Morris dancers when the Berkeley Community United Church of Christ (at 3701 West 50th Ave., Denver CO, 80221) holds its Epiphany Celebration on January 10th.

This years events include a 14th century French feast, sword dancers, a mummers play and morris dancing. Fine cuisine and fine entertainment together.

Cost is $20 per person ($10 for seniors and students). If you plan on attending please, please, please contact Rebecca at 303-422-1659 by January 8th 2009.

Here is the schedule for the evening ...
  • 6:00 : Dinner - 14th Century French cuisine
  • 7:10 : Sword Dance
  • 7:15 : Mummers Play
  • 7:35 : Short welcome by Rev. Kate Rose
  • 7:40 : The Maroon Bells Morris Dancers
Note also that this feast is Vegetarian Friendly. It is also requested that you need to bring your own table service (please, no paper or plastic). And period dress stressed.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Morris Dancing For The Winter Solstice

The Maroon Bells along with our border dancing brethren will be in Fort Collins, Colorado to help celebrate the Winter Solstice. We will be dancing at noon followed by Breathless in Berthoud. So come support this event put on by Downtown Fort Collins and then enjoy lunch and libation at one of the local restaurants.

We hope to see you there!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Winter Solabration

The Maroon Bells Morris Dancers will be performing at the annual Winter Solabration in Denver on Saturday December 20th. This annual event is a celebration of the Winter Solstice in music, community dance, singing and entertainment. In addition to the Maroon Bells, our border morris dancing brethren from Breathless in Berthoud will also be performing along with a our youth team "The Tommy Knockers".

The nights entertainment also includes a traditional mummer's play, dancing, carolling, dancing, a desert pot-luck, the Cirque du Awesome Jugglers, more dancing, story telling, dancing and finally the evening will conclude with The Abbot's Bromley Horn Dance. Truly there's something for almost everyone, so bring your family and friends.

More inforation can be found at the Winter Solabration's web site

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Welcome One and All ...

... to the official blog of the Maroon Bells Morris Dancers. Yes the rumors you have heard are true, we have slid down the slippery slope of Web 2.0 publishing and have added a self indulgent blog to the quasi-static list of topics found on our web page ( Assuming that this works as envisioned, you will be able to follow the most recent adventures of the Maroon Bells: learn details about upcoming events, read our squire's comments about past gigs and you can comment on these as well.

So stay tuned and visit often. Heck, subscribe using the RSS feed on the right. That way you won't miss a single exciting entry.