Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Molly Dancing

GUEST,Eliza 03 Feb 13 - 02:21 PM
michaelr 03 Feb 13 - 03:45 PM
Megan L 03 Feb 13 - 03:52 PM
GUEST,Eliza 03 Feb 13 - 04:02 PM
maeve 03 Feb 13 - 05:53 PM
Lizzie Cornish 1 03 Feb 13 - 05:57 PM
GUEST 04 Feb 13 - 11:12 AM
GUEST,Eliza 04 Feb 13 - 12:16 PM
VirginiaTam 04 Feb 13 - 01:43 PM
GUEST,leeneia 04 Feb 13 - 10:12 PM
GUEST,Eliza 05 Feb 13 - 04:59 AM
Les in Chorlton 05 Feb 13 - 07:41 AM
Pete Jennings 05 Feb 13 - 07:42 AM
Les in Chorlton 05 Feb 13 - 07:51 AM
Manitas_at_home 05 Feb 13 - 08:09 AM
severed-head 05 Feb 13 - 08:25 AM
GUEST,Jon Heslop 05 Feb 13 - 09:44 AM
IanC 05 Feb 13 - 10:27 AM
Les in Chorlton 05 Feb 13 - 01:14 PM
Les in Chorlton 06 Feb 13 - 07:44 AM
GUEST,Eliza 06 Feb 13 - 02:19 PM
treewind 06 Feb 13 - 06:25 PM
Les in Chorlton 07 Feb 13 - 03:15 AM
Les in Chorlton 07 Feb 13 - 03:28 AM
GUEST,Eliza 07 Feb 13 - 06:13 AM
Les in Chorlton 07 Feb 13 - 02:10 PM
GUEST,JohnB 07 Feb 13 - 05:57 PM
GUEST,crazy little woman 07 Feb 13 - 08:08 PM
Joe Offer 08 Feb 13 - 01:09 AM
Alexis 08 Feb 13 - 04:43 AM
GUEST,Eliza 08 Feb 13 - 04:48 AM
SteveMansfield 08 Feb 13 - 05:38 AM
selby 08 Feb 13 - 08:23 AM
Les in Chorlton 08 Feb 13 - 09:21 AM
GUEST,Eliza 08 Feb 13 - 09:23 AM
GUEST,crazy little woman 08 Feb 13 - 10:00 AM
Harmonium Hero 08 Feb 13 - 10:50 AM
Les in Chorlton 08 Feb 13 - 10:54 AM
Harmonium Hero 08 Feb 13 - 11:05 AM
SteveMansfield 08 Feb 13 - 11:10 AM
Harmonium Hero 08 Feb 13 - 11:25 AM
Morris-ey 08 Feb 13 - 12:17 PM
GUEST,Eliza 08 Feb 13 - 12:20 PM
GUEST,crazy little woman 09 Feb 13 - 10:10 AM
selby 09 Feb 13 - 11:11 AM
Manitas_at_home 09 Feb 13 - 11:23 AM
GUEST,Morris-ey 09 Feb 13 - 12:42 PM
GUEST,Ted Crum 10 Feb 13 - 06:01 AM
treewind 10 Feb 13 - 09:30 AM
GUEST,George Frampton 10 Feb 13 - 11:03 AM
pavane 11 Feb 13 - 03:46 AM
GUEST,Eliza 11 Feb 13 - 05:50 AM
treewind 11 Feb 13 - 06:46 AM
GUEST,Eliza 11 Feb 13 - 07:06 AM
Les in Chorlton 11 Feb 13 - 08:30 AM
treewind 12 Feb 13 - 02:58 AM
GUEST,Eliza 12 Feb 13 - 04:41 AM
Les in Chorlton 12 Feb 13 - 06:16 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: BS: Molly Dancing
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 03 Feb 13 - 02:21 PM

I have become obsessed with Molly Dancing and have watched these two videos on Youtube dozens of times. Does anyone else like them too, or am I alone in my addiction? They are:- Ouse Washes Birds-a-Building and Gog Magog Criss Cross. I find it so strange the way they clench their fists and skip in slow motion. Also the bizarre costumes with men dressed as women. Please watch them and tell me what you think!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Molly Dancing
From: michaelr
Date: 03 Feb 13 - 03:45 PM

Link?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Molly Dancing
From: Megan L
Date: 03 Feb 13 - 03:52 PM

Eliza not sure if this link is to the one you were watching? Magog


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Molly Dancing
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 03 Feb 13 - 04:02 PM

It's Gog Magog dancing Criss Cross at Whittlesea 2009. I can't do clicky things.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Molly Dancing
From: maeve
Date: 03 Feb 13 - 05:53 PM

Criss Cross at Whittlesea 2009


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Molly Dancing
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 03 Feb 13 - 05:57 PM

Music Section too, for you'll get more answers oop there, no doubt, Eliza...

I love the Molly Dancers.. :0)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Molly Dancing
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Feb 13 - 11:12 AM

Those two clips are great street theatre but sod all to do with traditional molly dancing.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Molly Dancing
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 04 Feb 13 - 12:16 PM

Could you explain please, Guest? What is true, traditional Molly Dancing?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Molly Dancing
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 04 Feb 13 - 01:43 PM

Yep this thread should be above the line

Yep Guest is correct re Molly Dancing from its inception as this snip from Wikipedia article indicates.


Modern Molly Dancing demonstrates the clearest distinction between "re-enactment of tradition" and "modern interpretation of tradition" of modern morris dancing. Elaine Bradtke wrote a PhD thesis on the inherent post-modernism of the Seven Champions, one of the first and best examples of Modern Molly dance. Many other teams have developed Molly, inspired by the unhistorical but very effective military formations of Seven Champions (e.g. Ouse Washes, Gog Magog, Handsome Molly in New Jersey) whilst others have taken it in new directions, equally unhistorical but at their best equally effective in very different ways; e.g. Norwich Shitwitches (now renamed Kit Witches), Pig Dyke Molly.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Molly Dancing
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 04 Feb 13 - 10:12 PM

Thanks for bringing this up, Eliza. I enjoyed watching.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Molly Dancing
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 05 Feb 13 - 04:59 AM

I hesitated about whether it should go above or below the line. But I rather like reading posts from those I already 'know' and am a bit wary of a lot of very knowledgeable music buffs who might despise my obvious ignorance. I adore Cotswold and Border Morris, and only met with Molly about four years ago at Whittlesea Straw Bear. For some reason I was absolutely captivated. It's such an odd way to dance, with clenched fists, everyone in most strange clothes, colourful and bright. (although Pig Dyke are all in black and white!) Also, the dancers seem to be mainly young folk, which is so encouraging for the future. I like to see the younger ones taking part in things like that. I'm now obsessed with these two videos and watch them every day, once each, on Youtube. They seem to cheer me up no end!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Molly Dancing
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 05 Feb 13 - 07:41 AM

Have any Molly Dances been collected or are they all recent creations?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Molly Dancing
From: Pete Jennings
Date: 05 Feb 13 - 07:42 AM

I had a pint with the blokes from Gog Magog Molly - in full regalia - after their performance in St. Neots back in May 2001 (St. Neots FC Festival). I designed the festival poster and programme and the notes from the latter read:

"Gog Magog Molly a colourful and lively mixed side who mainly dance their own interpretation of Cambridgeshire Molly dances."

They were thirsty!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Molly Dancing
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 05 Feb 13 - 07:51 AM

Did someone 'collect the said Cambridgeshire Molly dances?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Molly Dancing
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 05 Feb 13 - 08:09 AM

I think it was Russel Wortley who published an article on the Cambridgshire Feast Dances.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Molly Dancing
From: severed-head
Date: 05 Feb 13 - 08:25 AM

The dances were noted down, with brief descriptions, and also the attire of the dancers. There are several Molly Teams who try to keep as close as possible to those descriptions. There are several others who have developed the dances and the attire in their own ways. In terms of participation, I prefer to keep to the "traditional" style, dancing with Fowler's Molly. In terms of watching, I enjoy both styles and particularly enjoy Gog Magog. I agree with an earlier comment about seeing people from the "younger" age group taking part - it is to be encouraged.
Garry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Molly Dancing
From: GUEST,Jon Heslop
Date: 05 Feb 13 - 09:44 AM

Whatever the ins and outs of how "authentic" Molly Dancing is (or isn't), the "Festival Moment" for me at Sidmouth last year was watching 7 Champions dance to an unaccompanies female voice quietly singing "Lillie Marlene" in the half light of dusk outside the Anchor. Beautiful, powerful, graceful (yes I'm still talking about the 7 Champions!) precise and everything that a performance should be. Authentic or not, it achieved the goal of every performance in any field of the arts which is to emotionally engage the audience. A totally unforgettable moment for me and a lot of others around me at the time no doubt.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Molly Dancing
From: IanC
Date: 05 Feb 13 - 10:27 AM

Cyril Papworth was still dancing the Comberton dances in the early 20th Century and wrote a load of these down, so you might say he "collected" them from himself. See (e.g.) this short article.
Cyril

Wikipedia appears to be fairly accurate too.

It's hard to know what's "traditional" and what's "modern" anyway in this context as it was always a living thing and Cyril not only taught a number of Morris teams his dances, he also appears to have written some too ...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Molly Dancing
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 05 Feb 13 - 01:14 PM

I too, am fascinated by all this and have seen a number of 'Molly Dancers' including Pig Dyke - who take some beating for costumes and dramatic effect - although creating some distance between themselves and the Molly Dancing farm workers of the 19C don't you think?

One of the greatest morris traditions of the last 100 odd years seems to be claiming alsorts of historical 'facts' based in almost nothing at all - is this tradition still alive?

Best wishes


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Molly Dancing
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 06 Feb 13 - 07:44 AM

Is that the end of this discussion then?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Molly Dancing
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 06 Feb 13 - 02:19 PM

Well, I did want to add that it appears Molly Dancing is mainly an East Anglian thing, but I may be wrong. I've also seen Molly Dancers with sweeping brooms, and some dressed in tweed jackets with ribbons attached. And some don't do the clenched fist thing, they seem to lift their knees up rather high and shake hands. I must be going senile, as I find it so lovely to watch!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Molly Dancing
From: treewind
Date: 06 Feb 13 - 06:25 PM

Les, there are about half a dozen collected Molly dances, though some of those (e.g. described in Papworth's book) are "feast" dances which were also done at other times of the year by people who weren't molly dancers. The other main publication based on collected material is by Needham and Peck.

The collected dances are very simple, repetitive and get a bit boring after a while. That's why the revival teams have only used them as a starting point and developed their own, more elaborate dances.

Molly dancing is quite likely to have been a rather approximate and made-up tradition at the best of times - the dances were basically parodies of social dances. Unlike Cotswold Morris, there is no canon of respected and lovingly preserved tradition; nobody can really say you're doing it wrong.

It is mainly an East Anglian thing, though the "Molly" name also comes up in connection with a dance form from Derbyshire. I've always associated it with the Cambridgshire Fens. Old Glory Molly who are based in East Suffolk and formed in 1994 ago seem to think it was done in Suffolk too, but I don't know what evidence they rely on for that.

Interestingly, The Old Glory dances are not written down: they are passed on by word of mouth and demonstration at practices. We only dance in the winter and the practice season starts in October. If we can't remember some detail of how to do a dance, I guess we'll invent something and that will be how we do it that year.

Old Glory don't have bright colours. Women (musicians) all in black, men (dancers) in brown corduroy trousers, waistcoats and preferably hob nail boots. The "tweedy" molly dancers Eliza saw at Whittlesey could have been Old Glory or Mepal - the idea is to look a bit like 19th Century ploughboys, I suppose.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Molly Dancing
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 07 Feb 13 - 03:15 AM

Thanks very much A. that was most informative. I have enjoyed morris and all the other forms of what we used to call English Ritual Dance for around 50 years and I have danced with 2 sides.

I still feel that in the right context and in the right physical and social setting ERD can be a very moving spectical and at ther times and in other places in can be a bunch of, usually blokes, dancing badly with no sense of drama and making up history for which their is no known evidence.

I think we have some evidence of a Pace Egging Play in Chorlton, Manchester. What should we do?

Best wishes


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Molly Dancing
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 07 Feb 13 - 03:28 AM

On a sort of related point; I was chatting to a friend of ours who was explaining that different morris dances were for different purpose - some were intended to encourage crops to grow and some to encourage animals to be fertile. I have never heard anything quite so specific and she couldn't recall where she got this information.

She is not a folkie at all and I don't think she had read anything about morris. She is a teacher with 30+ years of teaching and learning in multicultural Manchester Classrooms. When were talked about kids dressing up and going from door to door collecting money - she said they did that in 1940/50s Hulme, Manchester - the old Hulme - which was knocked down soon after - she said it was called .........


.............. "Going out N*ggerin" ......... that word - one of the most powerfully offensive words around, but at all uncommon - an much more common then.

Intresting? I believe it has associations with 'Border Morris'? And a link to the world of Music Hall and popular entertainment that some/ many of those involved in BM seem unwilling to acknowledge or discuss.

Best wishes


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Molly Dancing
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 07 Feb 13 - 06:13 AM

Re the 'N' word, my African husband (very, very black!) saw Border Morris for the first time at Whittlesea Straw Bear. He was mesmerised, but wanted to know "Why do they make themselves look like Africans?" I explained that I thought it was traditional, for anonymity purposes. Old Glory members and Witchmen were thrilled to meet him and he had many photos taken standing beside them. He kept laughing and boasting "I am blacker than you!" He even danced with some sides, who handed him a stick and dragged him into a dance. As you can tell, no racism whatsoever and no offence. Just lovely people with a warm welcome and friendship all round. He has watched the Coconut Dancers on Video and laughed like a drain. I told him some folk were concerned about insulting black people and he laughed even more. He reckons there isn't any racism in this part of the world. Wrong probably, but he hasn't come across it yet, and he never will among Morris folk. I'll try and post some photos of him with Old Glory and Witchmen if I can manage it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Molly Dancing
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 07 Feb 13 - 02:10 PM

Blacking up certainly goes back along way in English Folk Plays and related customs. The practice seemed to get a big influence and a resurgence from the 19C Music Hall acts that incuded white people, blacked up, mocking black people.

None of this is secret but some dancers who black up make no reference to the influence of the music hall on their websites.

The vast majority of English People know little or nothing of morris and care even less. The vast majority of Black People are probably in the same position and would be indifferent to white people blacking up. But some feel uncomfortable and some are offended.

Some respondents on here have said it's only a few, which of course - we don't know, and anyway they don't care. So, this is people putting on entertainment in a public place, they don't know how many people they offend and they don't care.

They dance dances they have made up, to tunes that were almost certainly never and on instruments sometimes invented in the 20C. They wear costumes sometimes unrelated to the custom they claim to be reviving. But they hang on to the a bit of tradition that has one foot in 19C music hall racism.

To be fair many sides in The Border Tradition - Bollin here in Manchester - go and see them they are brilliant - use a range of colour on theie faces

Best wishes


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Molly Dancing
From: GUEST,JohnB
Date: 07 Feb 13 - 05:57 PM

...(e.g. Ouse Washes, Gog Magog, Handsome Molly in New Jersey) whilst others have taken it in new directions, equally unhistorical but at their best equally effective in very different ways; e.g. Norwich Shitwitches (now renamed Kit Witches), Pig Dyke Molly....
Our Border Morris Team Orange Peel Morris from Ontario Canada have strangely enough danced out with 4 of the above mentioned 5 Molly teams.
Another great team here Seven Champions also mentioned above.
We also have a Molly side in Ontario called Wolf at the Door Molly although the only video I could find of them was either dancing with us, or doing the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance (where I was the one in the dress even though I do not dance with them)
JohnB
ps. this should be ABOVE the line IMHO


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: Molly Dancing
From: GUEST,crazy little woman
Date: 07 Feb 13 - 08:08 PM

It's good show biz, but I cringe when I see them slamming their joints (esp. knees and ankles) on hard surfaces such as concrete and asphalt while wearing shoes that don't seem to absorb shocks.

I bet an orthopedist would advise them to modify their act.

Long ago, I went to a podiatrist because my heels hurt, and he told me, "Years of walking on concrete have turned your Achilles tendon into a steel cable, and now it's pulling on your other muscles." If mere walking does that, what does that energetic dancing do?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Molly Dancing
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Feb 13 - 01:09 AM

I moved this thread up into the music section - seems to fit better there. Eliza sent some photos to share - you'll find them here (click)

There's a similar set of photos from May of last year here (click). Anyone care to comment on either set of photos?

Thanks, Eliza.

-Joe-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Molly Dancing
From: Alexis
Date: 08 Feb 13 - 04:43 AM

A lone voice perhaps, but Molly doesn't do anything for me I am afraid. I had the pleasure of watching Ouse Wash at Holmfirth Folk festival may be 10 or so years ago and was really impressed with the theatrical nature and atmosphere they produced, but since then it appears - in my opinion - to have gone down the route of so many border sides, less emphasis on dance and more on outfits. Slack border dancing but with funny arm movements -at it's worst.

Back when I first saw Ouse Wash, and I didn't have anything to compare them with, the standard of dance did stand out as being good.

However, I think none of the Molly that I have seen recently can compete, in standard, in their genre with, say the Witchmen, in Border, who are, in my humble opinion, the best Border side at present, even though they are not in the first flush of youth!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Molly Dancing
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 08 Feb 13 - 04:48 AM

I'm a great fan of Witchmen and sit all day on my little folding seat at Sheringham Pottie Festival watching their every move. There's nothing to beat them. But Molly has somehow captured my interest as it's very different, uses no sticks and seems to attract the younger ones. The costumes are so colourful and the movements bizarre. I'm definitely hooked.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Molly Dancing
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 08 Feb 13 - 05:38 AM

The Rhubarb Tarts are worth seeing as well - perhaps not quite up to the standard of the Ouse Washes in their pomp, but pretty good.

Many years ago the good Lady Mansfield and myself did a workshop with the Ouse Washes - jeez that arm-and-leg-up-at-90-degrees step is tiring, but despite the fact it was a Sunday morning taster session at a festival no shirking was allowed ...

We also very recently had the, er, pleasure, of sharing a stand with a team we unanimously declared the World's Worse Molly Team, but I wouldn't dream of naming *them* :)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Molly Dancing
From: selby
Date: 08 Feb 13 - 08:23 AM

There is a Morris Federation book on Molly by Tony Foster published in 2002 ISBN No 0 948383 13 5 that gives a history of Molly and recollections combined with the dances.
It is worth noting that blackened faces is as good disguise and that Molly Houses existed in London in the 1700,s where men went to dress up as women, have sex, drink and dance.
Keith


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Molly Dancing
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 08 Feb 13 - 09:21 AM

"It is worth noting that blackened faces is as good disguise and that Molly Houses existed in London in the 1700,s where men went to dress up as women, have sex, drink and dance. "

So which bit of this tradition is currently being kept alive then?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Molly Dancing
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 08 Feb 13 - 09:23 AM

Hahaha Les. Probably all of it!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Molly Dancing
From: GUEST,crazy little woman
Date: 08 Feb 13 - 10:00 AM

"jeez that arm-and-leg-up-at-90-degrees step is tiring"

Dancers should:

Lose the stiff, heavy boots. If they want to make sounds with the beat, use cleats or something.

Don't dance on concrete, whether it's on the street or in a public building with a layer of tile over a concrete floor.

Take small steps.

Folk dance is supposed to be enjoyable.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Molly Dancing
From: Harmonium Hero
Date: 08 Feb 13 - 10:50 AM

CLW: "Folk dance is supposed to be enjoyable" .....it is, or we wouldn't do it. Perhaps I'd better say nothing about North West Morris, which is danced mainly on streets, and predominantly in clogs, using polka steps. And at the moment, almost exclusively - in the case of the mens' dance - by old geezers like me. And there's nowt wrong with our feet!
John Kelly.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Molly Dancing
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 08 Feb 13 - 10:54 AM

It's not so much the feet as the bits between there and the groin, so to speak


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Molly Dancing
From: Harmonium Hero
Date: 08 Feb 13 - 11:05 AM

All right - there's nowt wrong with the bits between our feet and our groins, so to speak. It keeps yer bones strong.
John Kelly.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Molly Dancing
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 08 Feb 13 - 11:10 AM

GUEST_crazy little woman - just out of interest, and also assuming you're not just taking the piss - have you ever actually seen any Molly? Have you got the merest hint of a inkling of what we are talking about?

Presumably you'd also like to remove the sticks from Border in case someone gets their knuckles hit, and as for those dangerous hankies in Cotswold flicking around, they might have someone's eye out. As for the clogs in NW, they're a podiatrist's nightmare, and those dangerous bendy swords in rapper, Christ they're just an accident waiting to happen.

And the music's far too loud, maybe everyone ought to wear ear defenders as well.

Take small steps and avoid concrete - blimey what an exciting spectacle your dance display side will make, always assuming you can find a nice bit of carpet, or some rubber matting, to dance on ...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Molly Dancing
From: Harmonium Hero
Date: 08 Feb 13 - 11:25 AM

Now now, Steve! Don't be at it. Actually, I was just looking at the Public Liability Insurance thread, and somebody was saying something about discussions in Brussels about making PLI compulsory for everybody who goes out of the house. Not sure whether it was a wind-up. It would make some claims interesting. Suppose you get your knuckles grazed doing rapper; how do they determine which of the other dancers was responsible?
JK


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Molly Dancing
From: Morris-ey
Date: 08 Feb 13 - 12:17 PM

Molly dancing was either a re-invention or purely an invention of the Seven Champions.

As with Border, it appealed to those who could not be bothered to learn Cotswold, Clog, North West, Sword, Rapper.

It is easy to learn, enables you to dress bizarrely, black your face and whoop and holler.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Molly Dancing
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 08 Feb 13 - 12:20 PM

Morris-ey, it doesn't look easy to learn to me. The Criss-Cross dance by Gog Magog is incredibly complicated. They turn and change places in all directions. I've watched it dozens of times, and I still don't know it completely.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Molly Dancing
From: GUEST,crazy little woman
Date: 09 Feb 13 - 10:10 AM

To answer Steve's questions, if you can call them that:

I've been watching videos of Molly and observing the style.

I have a sister, a former professional dancer, whose joint injuries are related to over-doing it.

I have done folk dancing and was repeatedly told to take small steps.

You can read about the podiatrist's to me comment upthread.

I take exception to the idea that tradition or the wishes of entertainment promoters are more important that a dancer's long-term well-being.

The Molly dancers should ask to dance on grass, on a stage, on a Marley floor or maybe even on plywood. Not on concrete.

Believe me, what with the costumes, the make-up, the music and the patterns in the dance, people will watch Molly even if the dancers stand up for themselves and dance wisely. That means to dance without pain, without exhaustion and without damage to joints.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Molly Dancing
From: selby
Date: 09 Feb 13 - 11:11 AM

There is sense in what is said above. If you where to do any Morris dancing with a fitness guru involved the first thing you should do is stretching and a warm up before going full tilt. Plus at the end of the day a couple of pints have been accommodated not the best for heavy morris dancing. It is also interesting to see ourselves as others see us, I saw a risk assessment at a council assisted festival for a rapper side, there was a lot of negotiations before they could dance and a promise that they would not touch any alcohol which after the first dance they ignored and the council official had a a muttering fit!!!
Keith


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Molly Dancing
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 09 Feb 13 - 11:23 AM

Grass is terrible to dance on! It sucks all the momentum out of you. These dances were never danced on grass but on the streets whether paved or packed earth. Most of the dancing to this day is still done on the streets and you either have to put up with the surface available or not do it. At festivals stages are usually provided and these days are of quite good quality although likely to bounce a bit much and what suits a molly or cotswold team may not suit a step or rapper team. At one (large and well-established) festival in Belgium I badly cut my ankle when my foot went through the plank stage and stuck so we moved to the grass. The next year we were put on a full-sized professional stage.
In the end you can always use Sorbothane insoles.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Molly Dancing
From: GUEST,Morris-ey
Date: 09 Feb 13 - 12:42 PM

The best surface is a sprung wooden floor; the next best unsprung wooden floor. Outside tarmac is good, concrete less good, grass is lethal.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Molly Dancing
From: GUEST,Ted Crum
Date: 10 Feb 13 - 06:01 AM

Seven Champs? Whoop and holler? Surely not. Haven't seen them for a year or so but my recollection is that they dance in a threatening impervious silence that makes the hair prickle on your collar.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Molly Dancing
From: treewind
Date: 10 Feb 13 - 09:30 AM

Seven Champs? Whoop and holler? Surely not.
It's universal and seemingly random with border, varies with Molly.
I don't remember what Seven Champs do.
Gog Magog do a lot of shouting, carefully co-ordinated.
Pig Dyke, only very occasionally at specific points in certain dances.
Old Glory, only in one dance. And the "threatening impervious silence" is definitely an Old Glory thing too.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Molly Dancing
From: GUEST,George Frampton
Date: 10 Feb 13 - 11:03 AM

Roy Dommett commented in the magazine 'Morris Matters' that many/most of the present day Molly teams imitate the 7Champions. To be fair on the Champs, the clamour in the late 1980s was for them to teach 'Champs' Molly, although at workshops, the emphasis was on that taught at a Russell Wortley workshop in 1975.

Old Hunts still perform these, having been taught by Cyril Papworth, as well as many of the children's teams in Whittlesey. Good Easter also perform these with a hint of Champs regimentation, original members having been present at a Champs workshop in the 1980s. Cambridge Morris also dance Molly on Plough Monday in the villages around Cambridge and in the city itself. No face make-up, as Wortley noted that many of the 'traditional' teams didn't. The penchant for blacking up in the revival comes from 7Champs 'imitating' the Shropshire Bedlams using a different genre.

Ouse Washes too initially danced in Wortley-Papworth fashion before they took the plunge in becoming a full-time Molly team in the late 1980s. I now regard them as the 'brand leader' in this as most teams formed since then (Gogmagog, Holkham Clodhoppers, etc.) sgtart with them as a reference point. Champs' regimentation with a looser style.

The 'tweedy' team could have been one of a number of teams, Mepal being one.

Apart from Whittlesey, the only other venue to catch Molly en masse is at Ely on the last Saturday in January, organised by Ouse Washes: the Mark Jones Day of Dance.

Champs, Pigdyke, Ouse Washes and Gogmagog perform at festivals, but the remainder only dance strictly in Winter, some with a pagan philosophy.

If anybody wants to commission and/or underwrite a second edition of my booklet 'More Honoured in the Breach than the Observance' published in the 1990s, I'd consider it, This would include a supplement from Morris Matters published more recently, and my own observations on the revival post 1977.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Molly Dancing
From: pavane
Date: 11 Feb 13 - 03:46 AM

Crazy little woman -

"The Molly dancers should ask to dance on grass, on a stage, on a Marley floor or maybe even on plywood. Not on concrete."

would they have to call them Marley dancers then?
(beats a hasty retreat)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Molly Dancing
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 11 Feb 13 - 05:50 AM

Was reading a history book yesterday about debauchery in Olde Englande. (I have strange tastes in reading matter!) Apparently there were several clubs of ill repute in London in the 18th Century, where men (presumably transvestites) met to cross-dress in private and hold rather drunken parties. These were universally called 'Molly Houses'. A 'Molly' was a term for an effeminate man who liked female-style attire. I suppose this is the origin of 'Molly' in Molly Dancing, where the original groups comprised males only, dressed bizarrely in women's clothes. (I hasten to add I have no problem with transvestism. Each to his own!)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Molly Dancing
From: treewind
Date: 11 Feb 13 - 06:46 AM

The more traditional style Molly teams have a single "Molly" who is dressed as a female. Mepal certainly do, and Old Glory Have a "Lord and Lady" - the Lady is like a "Molly" and the "Lord" is dressed a bit smarter than the other men with a black top hat instead of the usual brown Trilby.

I think skirts are mandatory for all dancers and musicians in Gog Magog, and certainly an acceptable option for the men in Pig Dyke.

The presence of one or two special characters dressed differently (and sometimes a man dressed as a woman) isn't limited to Molly dancing, of course. Many Cotswold Morris teams have a fool and a hobby horse or other animal, rapper sword teams have a "Tommy" and/or "Betty".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Molly Dancing
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 11 Feb 13 - 07:06 AM

Thank you treewind, I find all this very interesting. I've always loved the Pantomime Dame tradition, and the Mummers' Plays where the Fair Maiden is often a chap (complete with blond plaits). I imagine all this has roots very very far back in our history, and thereby endows Molly Dancing with quite a lot of traditional credibility.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Molly Dancing
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 11 Feb 13 - 08:30 AM

Hi Eliza,

"I imagine all this has roots very very far back in our history, and thereby endows Molly Dancing with quite a lot of traditional credibility. "

You are perfectly at liberty to imagine anything you like but that doesn't mean it happened. People in the world of morris ( A theme park may open soon) have been saying all sorts of things for a hundred years or so and in many cases they have little or no historical evidence.

Does it matter?

Best wishes


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Molly Dancing
From: treewind
Date: 12 Feb 13 - 02:58 AM

While we're on the subject, anyone within reach of North London may be interested to know that Pig Dyke Molly are performing tonight at The Lilian Bayliss Dance Studio Theatre, Sadlers Wells, supporting Dan Canham's "Wild Card" show.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Molly Dancing
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 12 Feb 13 - 04:41 AM

Hello Les!
I probably didn't make myself clear. What I meant to express was the fact that Mummers' plays, 'Dames' and so on definitely do have a historical context, and that this lends a certain 'historical' cachet to Molly costumes and Morris 'fools', 'hobby 'osses, Rapper 'dames' etc. (If a 'Morris Theme Park' opened soon at a venue near me, I'd be first in the queue, would apply for a Pensioner's Season Ticket and haunt the place!)
Best wishes,
Eliza


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Molly Dancing
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 12 Feb 13 - 06:16 AM

The historical context is a bit like a three dimensional jigsaw with many of the bits missing. This enables people to 'cherry pick' bits of history and use it as evidence in contexts that have no real connection.

The best read is Ronald Hutton - The Stations of the Sun - acres and acres of evidence there

Best wishes


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 18 November 11:55 PM EST

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.