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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Penny S. (elsewhere) What is it with the English? (127* d) RE: What is it with the English? 02 Jun 00

I was going to say "Who are you calling French?" when I remembered the Huguenot component. Us peasants, though, can still distinguish the Norman types - taller, hawkier, clearly Norse in origin. They have managed to last down the millenium without being subsumed into the melting pot. I know this is a bit late to contribute, but I've been away.

I went on a course about teaching country dance once. Note the last word. I was viewed with shock because a) I taught 8/9 year olds - too young to appreciate a social form of dance apparently, b) I allowed boys to dance together - no reason given and no answer when I quoted Morris - they were all no women in Morris types, and c) I didn't insist on correct handholding and footwork. I hope I've had a cohort of children including boys who regard it as fun, and while not preferable to football, at least an acceptable alternative.

Another occasion I remember which led to some people being put off the dance aspect of our folk culture occurred in an oast house on the upper floor. We started off with a long chain dance, exploring a number of figures of the threading a needle and spiral type. Unfortunately, topology doesn't seem to be part of the English folk tradition, and someone didn't realise that is you wind a lot of people into a spiral, and then attempt to unwind it by going through arches, when you are doing it around the machine which presses the hops into the pocket through a hole in the floor, there are going to be problems. It all ended in tears, and a number of children who felt they were being pulled apart in the attempt to complete the dance.

And the BBC do didn't just omit folk music - there didn't seem to be many performances of the sort which would have attracted my Dad - Cole Porter etc, nothing much between high brow opera and pop, though I did hear a brief snatch of shanties from Bristol.


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