A few weeks ago I wrote about how my Morris team is meeting up weekly during this out-of-season time to dance different traditions, just for the heck of it. The first week we danced Brackley, joined by many children, and had a heck of a time.
It turns out I was wrong about the intentions here. We are not learning a new tradition each week, we are learning a new tradition each summer. So we've had a few weeks to get the fine, low, snappy tradition of Brackley under our belts. We've learned long figures and short figures and stick dances and the knackering Brackley "hey" and the Brackley Princess Royal jig. We even learned a linked hankie dance, "Old Woman Tossed Up in a Blanket". Each week we've had a different set of visitors, so each week felt different. The first week felt like pickup dancing at the Ale. The second week felt like a workshop at a dance camp. The third week felt like a danceout with the Bells. Last night briefly felt like marching band, as we practiced the somewhat informal Brackley stick-twirling. But we've got the feel down and we're having sublime moments and we've eaten lots and lots of pizza.
I wish we'd started this ten years ago; I'd be familiar with ten traditions by now! But we're starting now, said Bob W, and we can go on until we run through all the traditions. I guess this is my excuse to keep dancing until I'm past 60. It's certainly a good deal easier to dance Brackley, even the knackering hey, than to dance our spine-crushing version of Bledington.
I think our plans are to work through all the traditions that begin with the letter "B" first, although I doubt we can find somebody who knows Bromsberrow Heath. Badby is not out of the question (it's not really Badby, it's just drawn that way). It is, however, decidedly not our plan for Ramsey's Braggarts Morris Men to dance out in any tradition but Bledington.