Thursday, 22 September 2016

An update on 2016

We haven't got to the end of the year yet, and have a number of events still to come, but because it has been difficult for me to keep up with posts on this blog over the summer, due to personal reasons, it seems like a good time to post an update of all that we have been doing so far this year.

Click on a photo to see a larger version.

In April we visited Pitstone Museum again, a very enjoyable event.

Louise in full swing

The following week we went to Oxford, where we danced in several locations.

the musicians concentrating...

Squire Martin attacks the crowds

Smiles and Ribbons
On St George's day we were invited by Whitchurch Morris to their Aylesbury day of dance.  We danced at various locations moving towards the centre of Aylebury, where several sides had a massed dance in the shopping centre.

At the very welcoming Angler's Retreat in Marsworth
Dancing at World's End Garden Centre, Wendover

 Taking it seriously!

 Waltzing to the band

We march through the Shopping Centre in Aylesbury
Dancing in the shopping centre

At the end of April we went to Rochester, for the famous sweeps' festival:
In step

Excellent hats

Charles and Martin join the Gong Scourers


Witchmen with sticks

In May we were the guests of Wicket Brood at the Rising Sun in Berkhamsted - an event that was captured on video by the local DeeTV.

Video opens in new window.

In mid June we had a very busy weekend.  Many of the side danced in St Albans, then they headed up to Stoke Bruerne for the Boat Festival there, where others were already staying. We played in the evening, then danced by the lock the following day in the sunshine.

Always time for music, even in a break
Lockside dancing
Dancing 'Moonlight'

Marching out
'Vampire Moon'
Avoiding the lock is always important
'Monkey Hey'
We had a break over the summer, although we did manage to dance with Whitchurch Morris at the Half Moon in Wilstone. As we finished our dance we packed up our instruments and a beautiful full moon rose over the pub.

In September we headed for the Folk Festival in Swanage:

The Saturday started in very heavy rain, as those of us travelling down the motorway in the morning found out, but it stopped raining around lunchtime, and by the afternoon we had brilliant sunshine.  Swanage is a small town, the beach is right next to the promenade, and there is a strong feeling of old fashioned family holidays.
Even the band get to dance sometimes
the end of Worcestershire Monkey
'Vampire Moon', ribbons and waistcoats
David - 'Whalebone'
Squire Martin in the sunshine

At the end of the Saturday all the sides line up for a processional dance through the town and along the promenade, at the end, each side splits into two and turns to face the oncoming dancers, making a tunnel for them to pass under.  As they do this they cheer and congratulate the oncoming dancers - a really wonderful feeling for those arriving at the end of the long processional dance.

A great place to dance


photo: Susan Stimpson

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Tuesday evening practice

So, what do we do on a Tuesday evening, when we get together for practice?

Well, obviously, we practice, but exactly what we practice depends on whether we are expecting to dance out soon. In the winter we spend much more time learning new dances ready for the summer. When we are going to be dancing out the following weekend we practice the dances we will be doing, with the people who will be dancing that weekend in the likely positions that they will dance.

Last night we spent time going through all the dances that we know from last year, with as many dancers as possible in as many different positions as possible - so the musicians got to play the same tunes lots of times. It may not be obvious, but you don't just have to know a particular dance, because very often it is danced slightly differently in a different position.  If the person who normally leads off isn't there, then other dancers need to know how to do that - which bar of music they set off on and which direction they dance.  People on the corners of a set of dancers often have different moves to those in the middle of a row of people. If you are on the other side of a set of dancers, which side of your partner do you pass, right or left? Go the wrong way and you will likely crash into someone else.

The band plays on
After a short break for tea and coffee David got to learn Worcester Monkey - which we learned from Wicket Brood - and which he's seen before, but not danced.   We've only known this a little while, and we need to work on this to get our lines straighter, but this VIDEO shows some of the problems with how to manage complex moves and paces when your dancers vary in height by more than a foot.  Squire Martin gets over enthusiastic with stick bashing!

Then Chris was taught 'Moonshine'.  Finally, we practiced our new dance for eight dancers, a small bit of which can be seen here - HARVEST MOON. This section needs more work to get right, but it is beginning to come together.

A great evening, loads of fun.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

About New Moon

New Moon Morris was formed at the end of 2014, and we started 'dancing out' at the beginning of 2015. We started with 'North-West clog' tradition dances, and we are adding other dances from other traditions as we learn them, as well as making new dances of our own.

Dancing at the Apple Fair

We welcome new dancers and musicians, dancers are encouraged to develop their musical skills, and musicians encouraged to learn some of the dances.

We practice most Tuesdays from 8:15 to 10:15 at the Old Town Hall in Ivinghoe, Buckinghamshire, LU7 9EP (near the Herts/Beds/Bucks border). As we are sometimes away dancing with other sides, it's advisable to check that we will be there first.  We won't be at practice in Ivinghoe for about two months in the summer, from mid-July to early September.

In the spring and summer we are 'dancing out' most weeks.  We particularly love the opportunity to dance with other sides.
Tring - ribbons
If you are interested in coming along to see us, contact Or look at our events post (to be added soon) or our diary (on the right) to see if we are dancing near to you.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

January 2016 - and a tiny bit of February

It's already been a busy year.

On the 9th January we went to "Little" Martin's Apple Orchard in Tring to Wassail the apple trees (and scare the sheep). We made a lot of noise, and sang the wassailing song (some of us badly), then we went and ate and drank, and played music until late.

Wassailing the apple trees, with the Green Man
 A week or so after we went over to Bricket Wood to dance with Wicket Brood (geddit?) who taught us "Worcester Monkey". We were made to feel very welcome and had huge fun - we like the sticks!

Dancing with Wicket Brood
Then, on the 1st February we travelled over to Bedford, to meet Hemlock for their Anniversary Ale. New Moon was one of several sides who had been invited to dance. There was some excellent dancing, and then we had a ploughman's supper courtesy of Hemlock.

Here are some pictures of some the other sides - none of us, I'm afraid - I was dancing.  

Aldbury Morris Men
Hemlock Band


NOT New Moon
Teflon dancing - "no sticks"
Many thanks to Hemlock for the invite, and the meal, and to Hemlock and all the other sides that made it such a great evening!

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Review of 2015

As we go into 2016 we can look back on just how busy 2015 was. 

New Moon was only formed at the very end of 2014, but danced out at 18 different events, has gained several new members and we have made many new friends. 

We danced at many places, these are some of the highlights - some of the fun we've had, and some of the many friends we've made:

Our first public 'dance out' was at Pitstone Museum, closely followed by dancing with many other sides in Oxford.

Pitstone Museum
Oxford, at Pitt-Rivers Museum - Argghhh!

Photobombed by a horse - Oxford

Very soon after that we found ourselves dancing in Rochester, Kent. We danced with many friendly sides, and even found ourselves with someone joining in from the audience! Jackie rose to the occasion and learned a dance in 10 minutes when Cath injured herself.

Dancing with Magog Ladies, and Sue - from the audience
Louise - giving it some
Flourish on the turn
Argghhh - Rochester version
Jackie learned a dance in 10 minutes

We danced in Stoke Bruerne, Rickmansworth, Swanage, Tring (twice), Stony Stratford (twice), Milton Keynes...
Vampire Moon - Rickmansworth

Circle dance - Tring Apple Day

David and Charles - Apple Day, October, Tring
  ...and spent a lot of time avoiding falling into canal locks:
Arggghhhh! Stoke Bruerne Version

Stoke Bruerne Family Festival
Dancing by the Lock - Rickmansworth
David leads off in Rickmansworth
Dancing with Wicket Brood, Rising Sun Lock, Berkhamsted

We made loads of new friends, and had huge amounts of fun.
Squire Martin admires a Phoenix Morris hat
Jack in the Green - Rochester

We (or some of the more hardy ones, anyway) danced the sun up on top of Pitstone Hill on May 1st, then danced it down again on November 1st.

Dawn May 1st
Sunset November 1st
The New Moon musicians have encouraged those of us who are less experienced, and we have regular band practices - in a variety of locations.

Band Practice June
Band Practice July
Band practice November

Band Practice at the Apple Orchard
New Moon performing in the Beer Tent - Stoke Bruerne
Impromptu performance by the Lock Stoke Bruerne

We've had a great first year, and already have a busy calendar for 2016 - here's to more dancing and more music!