Steven (unzeugmatic) wrote,

The Wisconsin Day of Dance: A Photo Post

When Rick left the Twin Cities for rural Wisconsin it was a great loss indeed to the local Morris dance community, but I also thought it would be a loss for Rick and I wondered how he would handle that. The way he handled that was to found a Border Morris team in Prairie Farm Wisconsin. I'm not really sure how he managed it, but he got a great team together, with amazing teenage girls serving as musicians. Here's a picture of Rick's team -- General Hardware -- in their Wisconsin-centric kit (beer cans filled with stones instead of bells around their shins):

For a long time Rick has been talking about how much he'd like it if the Twin Cities teams could come out to where he lives, how he'd love an opportunity for our teams to get to know each other. So this year Rick and his hard-working loyal teammates organized what he called a "Day of Dance" -- in essence a mini-Ale, with dancing and pub stops in and around the town of Menomonie Wisconsin, followed by a night of camping. As it turns out -- and this didn't become clear until the last minute -- all of the Twin Cities teams were able to send full contingents (and more), including the teenage team The Gypsies. And also as it turns out, it was just a wonderful bangup fabulous day in all its particulars. On Sunday none of us could believe that the event had been only one day -- so full of memories and happy moments were we.

Dean and Andy of Minnesota Traditional Morris got some great pictures, which give a sense of the day. When I look over these pictures in retrospect, what I believe I see is faces that get happier as the day progresses. By the time of our last stop -- the Brewfarm, an artisan brewery powered by wind-energy -- there is pure happiness floating in the air.

We met up in the morning at the Menomonie Public Library. Here's a picture of my team dancing at a moment when I am evidently about to fall off the edge of the earth's gravitational pull. We pulled Rick in to dance with us.

Note the beautiful setting along Lake Menomin. This comes up again later.

There were six Morris sides in rotation all day: General Hardware, The Bells of the North, MTM, the Gypsies, Ramsey's Braggarts, and Uptown-on-Calhoun. Here's a good shot of the Bells while we are still at the library. Nice lines, ladies.

Before the heat overcame us all we drove to downtown Memonomie. First we scattered about to various lunch establishments, with most of us going to a German restaurant and beer hall called the Bierhaus. We did some nice singing while waiting for our food, which was good because many of us had to wait quite a bit -- the poor little restaurant (despite being warned) wasn't quite prepared to handle a big crowd for a Saturday lunch. ("I"ll go wake up the cook" said the man behind the bar when we arrived.)

Here are (for the most part) the Gypsies, taking over their corner of the restaurant. Don't they look sweet and angelic? Hah! Fooled you.

After lunch was the core dancing of the day: In a sort of town square by a clock tower we danced some as teams and we danced some dances together. Despite the heat, the dancing was just first rate all afternoon. Here's MTM, dancing a bit of Brackley:

And here's my own team, showing what happens when you spend half a practice working on your hooklegs: Four months later, out of nowhere, you suddenly all get it right. Or at least you all seem to be moving together.

And now here comes the most amazing Morris photography sequence I've seen -- how Dean managed to get all four of these shots exactly right, I don't know, because it's very very difficult to get even one at just the right moment. Dancing this three-person jig are Ted, who hasn't lived in the Twin Cities for years and who wrote this dance. And Temple, who dances with MTM. And Elise, who dances on the Bells.

First Elise does an x-caper. Beautifully, I probably don't even have to point out.

Then Temple hooks his hankies to the imaginary skyhooks to which he has given corporeal form and hoists himself in the air:

Then Ted:

Then all three:

Wasn't that lovely? Did you ooh in appreciation?

Then we walked off to another pub, with a back patio overlooking the most breathtaking view of Lake Menomin. Really, this was just gorgeous. You can sort of see in the back of this picture what I'm talking about:

Finish up your beers and dances folks because it's time to head to the Raw Deal, where's there's lots of space for dancing indoors. Here's me, in flight:

I could post lots of photos of dancing at the Raw Deal, but all too soon Rick deemed it time to move on to the Brewfarm. So Rick gathered me and Tim to walk up to a sort of balcony overlooking the restaurant and we sang Seaman's Hymn to get everyone's attention and announce our departure:

Now comes the drive through Knapp and Wilson and up to the Brewfarm:

We sampled lots of beers and we were very happy. Here's a happy Temple and a happy Michael:

Here's a happy Douglas and the other happy Michael:

When Douglas and Steven really get happy, they take to the air:

That was pretty good, but I bet that was a fluke and you can't do it again. And Steven, try not to look so hard down at the ground this time.

When Matt is happy, he wants to make the ladies happy, so he dances Maiden's Prayer:

And so does Michael:

Then, alas, the dance day is over and we head off to the most beautiful farm in Wisconsin to set up camp:

Thank you Rick and your buddies on General Hardware for a great, great day.

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