Sunday, 12 September 2010

Saltaire Festival 2010

Back in Saltaire just in time for this year's Saltaire Festival. The sun shone (well, in between the rain showers anyway!) and the Festival kicked off with much colour and music. These dancers, in front of the Victoria Hall, Saltaire, are our local team of Morris Dancers - Rainbow Morris. (So local in fact that my closest colleague at work is one of the team). They were joined this year by Clogarhythm, a team of dancers from Harrogate.

It was interesting to see the huge difference in the dances of the two traditions.
Rainbow Morris dance in the North-West tradition, their dances originating in towns and villages in the north-west of England. They dance to music, with much weaving, swirling and making patterns. They wave sticks (they use bobbins from Salts Mill), hankies and sometimes garlands. (See video). Clogarhythm's dances are from Lancashire and the north-east - clog step or 'heel and toe' dancing, a bit more like tap-dancing. It reminded me of Irish dancing (not surprisingly, as the dances originated in the cotton mills and there were many Irish immigrants in those mills). The dances are mostly danced in line, arms by their sides with lots of intricate footwork (see video). Their clogs are different too, designed to clatter out a rhythm on the ground, emulating the sounds of the machinery in the cotton mills.

I find it all quite fascinating and I'm so glad people are working hard to keep these traditions alive. It's a fun way to keep fit too (and you have to be fit!). I once tried it ... but found I have no sense of ryhthm at all.

10 comments:

  1. It is wonderful that these traditions are kept alive. It must have been a treat to watch them.

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  2. The clogging has made it across the ocean, with many groups at fairs.I had thought it was a American Folk Dance.

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  3. They are very different aren't they! I've seen morris dancers often enough, but don't think I've ever actually seen clog dancers. Enjoy the rest of the festival. Looks like there is lots going on :)

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  4. Your sky is so beautiful during the time the sun did shine.

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  5. Clogging always looks like such good exercise! The festival sounds wonderful! :)

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  6. This must have been really interesting. Thanks for the info, Jennie.

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  7. Oh, yes, lots of clog dancing in North Carolina.

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  8. I love the colorful costumes in the first photo. Hmmm...I read above that clog dancing has come to the USA...I will have to see if there is anything local to me.

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  9. Every picture I see of yours makes me want to see your part of the world even more!

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  10. Your photo looks like the perfect poster for the festival! Such vibrancy with the color and the wonderful action shots. ~Lili

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