My last post was about training for my pilgrimage on the St. Olavsleden, and specifically about the Denver Broncos 7K Run/Walk in which I failed due to heat and dehydration. Since then I've increased my distances and am a bit more confident that I will be able to build up to the 21 Km maximum distance between farm house accommodations. But this blog is about another unusual event in our town which seems to be attracting more than its share of attention.
This weekend is Memorial Day so my daughter Tamara, son-in-law Ryan and grand children Liam, Cecily and Austen came down from Greeley for the weekend. I took them to our newly renovated Memorial Park where they slashed in the stream/pond and played in the play ground. I happened to meet a couple from Alesund, Norway so had a discussion about my forthcoming trip to Trondheim and walk on the St. Olavsleden. What are the odds I would meet Norwegians in Woodland Park!
On the way home I noticed an unusual sight...Morris Dancers performing in front of the Dinosaur Resources Center and at our Bergstrom Park. I hadn't seen Morris Dancers since my visit to Lavenham, England in
1991. I pulled over to see what brought them here and was informed that they would all be getting together at Memorial Park at 4 PM. As it was 3 PM I rushed home and put the announcement on our community Facebook page. I then returned to Memorial Park for what turned out to be a fantastic event with more than 100 Morris Dancers from all over the States...San Francisco to Boston and Minnesota to Texas.
For those not familiar with Morris Dancers, they are a quintessential folk experience. I quote from Wikipedia: "It is based on rhythmic stepping and the execution of choreographed figures by a group of dancers, usually wearing bell pads on their shins. Implements such as sticks, swords and handkerchiefs may also be wielded by the dancers. In a small number of dances for one or two people, steps are near and across a pair of clay tobacco pipes laid one across the other on the floor. The earliest known and surviving English written mention of Morris dance is dated to 1448."
I know them as disrupters who show up unexpected at a venue, usually a pub, and proceed to take over the place
with their dancing. In a sense this group of dancers were following in this tradition as they appeared unannounced in our town and started performing in four places...two of which were bars. Their gathering was called an Ale...an old English word for disruption and soon to be tied closely to drinking ale. There were about 120 dancers in about 20 sides (teams) and they all congregated at Memorial Park. Very few from our town were there as the event had not been announced...just those who happened to be in the park at the time.
The dancing proceeded by side (team) which were interspersed with the mixing of sides. As each side had slightly different routines, coming together was quite interesting as there were a few mis-steps. They took a couple breaks for treats. A lovely old "lady: dressed in pink was handing out cookies. I had to ask her/him what was in the cookies as you can never be sure in Colorado. I was informed that these were poppy seed (NOT of the opium variety) cookies, which turned out to be so. At the end the hosts, two sides from the Front Range of Colorado, started the Morris Dance
version of a conga line and proceeded to wind their way around the park, culminating in the playground where they all slid down the slides.
I will now let the pictures speak for themselves!
Tot: 2.892s; Tpl: 0.059s; cc: 55; qc: 237; dbt: 0.1297s; 2; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 1;
; mem: 2.1mb