Steven (unzeugmatic) wrote,

Off to the Ale!

Instead of coming in to work on Friday I'm heading off to the airport to fly to St. Louis to attend this year's Midwest Morris Ale, the weekend that Morris dance teams from the Midwest(+) gather to dance and sing and drink beer. My team is down in numbers this year, but we've got our quorum plus one. In general I think the numbers are a little down all around for this year's Ale -- and particularly for Minnesota's teams -- but I look forward to staying up half the night trying to dance figures and traditions I do not know with folks I see once a year.

Despite several weeks of planning and team coordination, I hadn't gotten particularly excited about this trip until last night's practice. It was, in general, a decent practice. Some folks were a little late and others had to leave a little early, but as it happened right at the end of practice we were left with the subgroup that will be going to Ale. We danced as the group of six that will be dancing as a group throughout the weekend. For reasons that are difficult to explain, a swirl of energy inspired us, and we danced together -- as we should and as we dance when we are at our best. There was a moment during rounds -- perhaps the simplest of the figures, when we double-step in a circle -- when I felt us all flying, as if we were on wheels, like a Lionel train set.

A couple of the guys who haven't been dancing with us this year are very impressive and flashy dancers, in a physical prowess sense. They move and leap strong and high, and their solo figures yield oohs and aahs. I do miss them and wish they were joining us at the Ale. But the group of six dancing last night, to my sense of things, conveyed the sort of team movement that makes the dance sublime. Even though we are (generally) getting older and stiffer and slower and more easily exhausted.

We've got to get new blood on the team, and soon. We worry about this all the time. But just for now, just for the upcoming weekend, we will be the sort of Morris team that I am delighted and privileged to squire.
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