Steven (unzeugmatic) wrote,

Mayday Anticipation

It sort of surprises me that I'm excited about Mayday. You'd think that by now it would be the same-old same-old (up before dawn, dancing in what will likely be cold and wet sunrise weather with all the Twin Cities Morris dancers, dancing at some schools attended by children of my Morris team, evening processional through downtown Minneapolis...), but to say that I'm tired of Mayday would be like a character in a HallMark Holiday Presentation sighing "I'm tired of Christmas". For to be tired of Mayday is to be tired of life itself. Virginia, your little friends are wrong.

Counter to tradition, Mayday will not mark my team's first danceout of the year. We performed three sets at an "Urban Expeditions" program a couple of Sundays ago at Landmark Center in St. Paul, in a Salute to Great Britain. This turned out to have been a good thing to do, as it focused our practices on an actual performance for which we were being paid. Plus: Every current active member of the team was there, which was reassuring and heartwarming because really this is one fine team. I need the occasional reminder that we are still a vivid dancing group, and that our slightly depressed number of members still leaves us with a solid core.

Here's something that intrigues me about Ramsey's Braggarts Morris Men: The members of the team, as individuals, are notably sweet guys. For the most part they are not aggressive personalities. Eccentric, yes, and opinionated, but not aggressive. And yet as a team we dance aggressively -- with power and enthusiasm and hard-working energy, at least in the ideal. We certainly work hard at practice, which is an inspiring thing, or perhaps just a sweaty thing. Then we go out for beer.

We have one new team member this year (our goal was to have three), and he's working out very well and seems to just love the team which is key. It also helps us see ourselves through new eyes. At many of our practices this year we were graced with the visit of one former team member or another, and in one case springiswrath. So it seemed as though every week somebody whom Michael (the new member) had never seen would show up and then the whole team would greet this visitor with great excitement and enthusiasm and affection. (Now that I think about it, in one case it wasn't an old member at all but a current member who had missed the first four practices.) We pointed out to him last night that it must seem as though there is an infinite number of people who are key to the team who will show up on occasion, and he will never meet them all. He agreed with this. Then people started saying things like, "Oh but you haven't met Finkle!" "...or Brickwidde!" and "You've never been with us when Rick danced with us as a member of our team." "...or h!". And so it went. Poor Michael just smiled sweetly and took it in.

But wow, if we could get everybody who had ever danced with the team all together for one massive set we could probably stop the earth on its axis and drink the seas dry, assuming the seas were artisanal beer.
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