Dance Reviews

BUXTON DAY OF DANCE - Chapel-en-le-Frith Morris Men and Guests

Seventeen dance sides brought colour and energy to the streets of Buxton drawing hundreds to the finale at the bottom of The Slopes by Turner’s Memorial. Dancing had taken place all day - in the Market Place, in front of the Opera House and down the main shopping street Spring Gardens.

The event had been expertly organised by the Chapel-en-le-Frith Morris Men and the well designed flyer enabled us to identify the different sides - not all of whom danced the Morris. One of the new dance sides to Buxton - Regency Rejigged - danced social dances that went back over 300 years and might have been danced at the time of Jane Austen. All dressed in fine costume and some of the dances were among those associated with Henry Playford.

One of the other sides new to Buxton was Knots of May an all-women Morris side specialising in garland dances. The dancers had travelled up from south Sussex where they rehearse regularly since forming over 40 years ago. All of this contributed to their excellent dancing - clean steps and movements with complex shapes and patterns well managed and maintained. Their dresses and aprons also contributed to a very smart looking set of dances throughout the day.

Old Speckled Hen, from Abingdon, were another side to catch the eye bringing their north west clog dancing back home in one way. The Poynton Jemmers are loyal to the clog dancing of the region and the Maids of Clifton dance a similar style. Blackadder from Birmingham and Duke’s Dandy from Retford also displayed fine clog technique. The Appalachian dance of Fiddle n Feet from Shipley clearly pleased the crowds. Manchester Morris Men also brought some clog dances from Lancashire, Cheshire and Derbyshire.

The vigorous Border Morris tradition was well represented by Domesday (from Penkhull) and Powderkegs (from Whaley Bridge). Cotswold stylings - with bells and hankies - were evident in a number of teams including Buxton regulars such as Adlington, Chapel, Harthill, Leek and Mendip. New to Buxton this year was the all-woman Cotswold side Glorishears of Brummagem.

Talking to some of the dancers they were saying that this was the best Day of Dance in Buxton yet. It was the driest in recent memory and the large crowd properly thanked the 200 dancers and musicians who had entertained so well.

Keith Savage