Although primarily a Cotswold side, every now and then Mersey Morris Men like to don our rag coats and do a bit of Border and Molly dancing. In fact, if doing something more than once makes it a tradition, then we have just had our third traditional annual February day of dance in the ancient city of Chester.
Chester is well known for a number of things, one is that it has a complete City wall running round the centre, and another are the world-famous Rows. For those who have never been to Chester (you should, it’s a beautiful old city), these are four streets that have two-storey shops, dating back to medieval times, with a covered gallery that runs in front of the top row. Because the city centre is pedestrianised these make perfect audience viewing positions for watching the dancing in the street below.
It was an unseasonably warm, sunny early spring Saturday and the city was full of shoppers and day trippers. We danced a total of 30 dances during the day in six different spots, by the walls, by the river (another thing Chester is known for) and between the Rows. We have a small repertoire of Border and Molly dances, our two Border dances were both written by one of our members and one of our four Mollies was written by another member. We supplemented these six with the traditional Upton Stick Dance.
So next year on the 3rd Saturday in February come and see us as we continue our new-found tradition.
From our on-the-spot reporter Matt King.