May Day 2018

One of the “duties” of a working Morris dancer is to go out on May 1st to dance up the sun and we weasels have been fulfilling this task these last few years. Is not that the responsibility is so pressing, or that the work required is unpleasant, it the fact the sun refuses to wait to rise at a more sensible time.

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This year was again a challenge, it is far easier to convince Weasels to come out on the weekend mornings than before a busy day of work and Weasels of the drunken variety can hardly be expected to climb out of their comfy burrows in the early hours!  Nonetheless, three managed to stagger to our usual rendezvous.

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Judy prepares to knock the moon out of the sky…

We also were forced to rely on recorded music played on my car’s speakers, less than preferred.  our regular musicians insisted that they were unable to play for us due to a previously scheduled gig opposite our dance out.  I suspect they were lying….

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We danced a few three hand dances and then oddly ignoring any of our two hand dances we went straight to two of our favorite four hand in complete defiance of our lack of a fourth! If BrainTrust Morris can dance a six with five in traffic we can certainly dance a four with three in a parking space.

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Afterward, Judy killed King winter with her sword and we feasted, as is the tradition in these parts.

We did have a small audience of three, which is the largest we have had since the Weasels took up this responsibility.  Two of them, John and Cathy Millar saw us two years ago, apparently, that was enough time for them to recover and risk it again.  All the pictures on this post have been stolen without even so much as a by your leave from Cathy (thanks Cathy!).

Cheers until next time,

Dance on!

Easter Fools Ale 2018

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One of our annual traditions is joining with a number of our Morris friends for a day of dance at the Easter Un-Parade on Monument Avenue in Richmond.  Our hosts for this event in More of Less Morris from Richmond.

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More or Less Morris

 

The Un-Parade is a very popular event with large crowds of people and dogs showing off their Easter finery.  There is a carnival atmosphere which adds food, live music, and clowns.

This year the weather was perfect for our dance out.  Not overly hot like last year, nor raining as the year before.

Another aspect of this event that makes it a highlight of our admittedly limited Morris Calendar, is that we get to meet, dance and chat with members of several other local sides.

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More or Less in Rags

This year included not only the usual suspects, our hosts More or Less,  the formidable talents of the Albermarle Morris Men from Charlottesville and our Border Morris cousins from Sheppardsville, West Virginia, but this year we were also joined by the fabled Mason Dixon Morris from Maryland.

Mason Dixon, for those unaware are an ancient side whose origins are lost in the long shadows of time and legend.  There are some who believe that it was the Mason Dixon Morris whose bells were found in the archeology of Jamestown Fort!

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Mason Dixon Morris

Today they dance mostly Molly while wearing a kit inspired by Steam Punk.

As to the Weasels, we brought six of our dancers, and in an unusual situation for us, or OWN musicians! We owe a great debt of gratitude to our friends Hudson and Clark for having joined us and played for us.  I hope they do so again!29792258_1945393012147342_2952675527432102640_nWe owe a great debt of gratitude to our friends Hudson and Clark for having joined us and played for us.  I hope they do so again!

We danced most of our favorites, Shropshire Morris, Sheepskins, Not Not For Joes, etc, but we also added a new dance for the first time in public.  This was THE BURNING OF THE PIPER’S HUT by Breathless in Berthoud.

 

The event ended with two mass dances.  A Cotswold dance called Highland Mary and the traditional Border Dance Dilwyn.  The Dilwyn was particularly silly.

 

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Massed Dilwyn

 

 

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The Musicians Massed for Dilwyn

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A great deal of fun was had by all, and we look forward to next year!

Cheers!

 

2018 Easter Ale

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This Sunday we will once again be dancing out in Richmond in celebration of Easter.  This is a yearly event with our friends Albermarle Morris Men, Hicks With Sticks and the hosts More or Less Morris.  This year we will also be joined by newcomers Mason Dixon Morris.

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The Ale coincides with the Richmond Easter parade on Monument Avenue.  We will be dancing somewhere around the 2200-2300 blocks between 1 and 5 with the exception of a lunch break somewhere in there.

I hope we will see some of you there!

 

May Day 2017

I just noticed that I completely forgot to make any report on our dance out at for May Day.  I most o=hve lost it all in the excitement of the Pirate fest.

 

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For anyone who may not be aware, it is a Morris custom to dance up the sun on May Day, so as to enable the return of Spring.  It is one of the very few responsibilities of a Morris Man (Person).

 

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I had a great deal of difficulty with the “band” and therefore we ended up dancing to the quiets tones of an Ipod in my pocket.  This created a bit of a challenge as the volume was far too quiet and we had to rely mostly upon our humming!  did I mention how desperate we are for some full-time musicians?

 

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This was the best attendance that we have had for a Mayday.  Apparently, Drunken Weasels aren’t really morning mustelids, but this year there were four of us and a small audience of two.

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Even with our Band troubles we still managed to get the sun back up,, though Judy did have to help a little.

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Our job here finished, we killed the old King (in the form of a loaf of bread) who we ate with jam and continue merrily off to our regular jobs…..

Easter Ale 2017

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Last Easter found the Weasels dancing out in Richmond as part of the Easter Ale.  This was a third year participating in what has certainly become a tradition and one of our most enjoyable events.

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Our hosts for this is More or Less  Morris, based out of Richmond, VA who have the odd distinction, probably unknown to them until now, of being the only Morris Side I have ever played for.  It was several years ago at the Harvest Faire in Newport News, I think the tune was Bean Setting and I played it on a pipe and tabor.

 

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More or Less Morris, Richmond, VA

We were also joined by the marvelous and skilled dancers of the Albermarle Morris Men.

 

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Albermarle Morris Men, Charlottesville, VA

and our West Virginia cousins, the Hicks With Sticks.

 

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Hicks With Sticks, Shepherdstown, West Virginia

For those unfamiliar with the traditions, Hicks With Sticks are like us, a border morris side, we also share some similar taste in dances and British Morris side influences.  It is always a pleasure to see them and dance with them

The easter Ale is a very interesting little event.  downloadIt is attached to the Richmond Easter Parade which is a lively and colourful Richmond tradition.  There are many different musical acts, clowns on stilts, some very crazy clothing and, many over the top hats.  Quite a bit of colour, flowers, and excitement for people of all ages right there on Monument Avenue.  The fun is in no way limited to the two-legged creatures either.  A dog costume or hat contest (I am not certain which) is included.  I didn’t see any categories available for Weasels, however, typical.

The day begins with the Morris sides and their entourages arrive at a beautiful flat not far from the scene of the crime for some brunch, 18033009_1579296068757040_2352888972248014652_ncoffee and general reuniting after the long cruel months of winter, all to the dulcet song of the Bullfinches.  At the appointed time we all make our way over to Monument Avenue and scope out a likely place.  This year we danced in some very pleasant shady little areas, though for a while are musicians were engaged in a futile battle with a brass jazz band.

 

Speaking of musicians, we found ourselves again in our too frequently occurring dilemma of no musicians!

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Nate

We again owe a debt of gratitude to the musicians of the other sides who so kindly played for us.  Jim Morrison, Pete Kleeman, and Nick Blanton.  All three were very supportive, helpful and kind not to mention talented, but our better dances have more unusual and in some cases original tunes not well known. Nick very bravely offered to learn and play one and did a great job with Shropshire Morris (which sounds phenomenal on the English Border Pipes by the bye).  To get the weasely band started has to be the goal for this year.

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Pete

 

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Jim

 

 

18010706_1579295942090386_2608614644921814841_nAfter dancing for a bit we break for a picnic lunch in a nearby backyard and then continue for some more dancing, usually in a different place than where we began.  finally, at five we end with a mass Cotswold dance and back to the start for a pleasant dinner and jollification with some very interesting and intelligent folk.  What an interesting and diverse eclectic people Morris Dancers are!

 

 

 

We were missing one of our reliable dancers due to a “modeling emergency”  but most of 17991079_10154474869330980_6318658064782853279_n (1)the usual culprits were present.  As mentioned, our repertoire was curtailed due to musician difficulties ( did I mention we need to start our band?)  We danced Cuckoos nest, both by ourselves and mutually with Hick with Sticks, as well Shropshire Morris, Tinner’s Rabbit, Donkey riding and Not, Not For Joes.  There was also an Irish Reel by Mark.   In the end, a splendid time was had by all.

In the end, a splendid time was had by all. We give our thanks out to the musicians I mentioned earlier, and all of the other sides who have been so kind and gracious to welcome our fledgling group under your wing.  We all look forward to next Easter!

 

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Mark Getting some air time

 

 

 

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Megan of the Hicks displaying what it’s all about!