Tag Archives: Seven Champions

Appearing at #DE2017, the Bampton Traditional Morris Men and Seven Champions Molly. 20 more tickets sold over the weekend!

Onwards and upwards, well through the roster of committed acts for Dancing England 2017 anyways!

Appearing at the very first Dancing England in 1979 and with a repeat appearance in 1983, are the claimants of 600 years of morris dancing history; Bampton Traditional Morris Men.

Bampton Traditional Morris Men

Bampton (their website)

Claims have often been made that the performance of Morris dancing in Bampton at anything up to six hundred years. While this may actually be true, there is simply no evidence to support such a claim. The first written reference discovered (so far, at least) occurs as late as 1847, although that source clearly indicates that the performances by the dancers were a regular annual feature of Bampton life at that date.

Further evidence, less precise but none the less convincing, can be teased from the names of men known to be dancers. Two of these were born in the 1770’s, and given that men typically joined the dance set when aged about eighteen or twenty, it seems logical to assume that there had been Morris performances in Bampton during the 1790’s. To read more of their history, please click to their WEBSITE.

Moving steadily eastwards to the Fens of Norfolk via Kent, we introduce to you; Seven Champions Molly. Veterans of Dancing England 1986 and world renowned treacle miners

Seven Champions Molly

Seven Champions Molly (their website)

Formed in 1977 with the ambitious but slightly vague aim of “being the best Morris dance side in the country”, the Seven Champions started life with the Mummers Play that gave them their name and a rough reel dance. This was followed by extensive research into what was known about Molly dancing – at that point a highly obscure (and as far as they knew at the time) undanced tradition hailing from the Fens and danced in Winter by out of work ploughboys.

It quickly became clear that there were a lot of gaps in the knowledge of what Molly dancing was and that gave the Champions a golden opportunity to reinvent, imagine and create the best possible combination of tradition and street entertainment. Again, above text shamelessly purloined from their website, click HERE to carry on reading.

And finally, another 20 tickets sold over the weekend, do make haste if you want to come along! Tickets are online purchases and are available HERE.

Support is flooding in for a rebooted Dancing England. Have we done the right thing then?

Dancing England poster 1979

artwork by Rick Scollins

Well, the floodgates are well and truly open. It appears that Dancing England holds firm in the hearts of traditional dancers and musicians everywhere. Thank you.

It certainly does in mine and I was 5 years old in 1979, my dad (Roy Dyson) was the ceilidh caller that year!

We’ve had more than 100 Likes on Facebook in less than 12 hours! That’s an awesome start, thank you. Please do invite your traditional dance friends and contacts to Like the Facebook Page.

Eddie Worrall (incoming Squire of the Morris Ring) got in touch with this:

“In the UK we have a healthy thriving Morris scene, however there are important issues that we all face; recruitment, retention, dancing quality and moving our traditions forward. Seeing a rebooted show like Dancing England would firmly put Morris on the map, this event would be supported by the Ring”.

There’s a Dancing England Twitter account and on there the Seven Champions said “Looks like a great way to get our 40th birthday year rolling, glad to have you back”. Cheeky.

Greenwich Morris Men tweeted: “Welcome back after all these years. Used to get a minibus up to DE for the weekend. Happy days”.

Saddleworth Morris added “Good stuff!”

Simon Furey on Facebook said: “About time, too! Long overdue. Well done all of you working hard on this”.

Aidley's Morris Dancing England 1986

Aidley’s Morris Dancing England 1986 (L. Sullivan)

Katy Spicer, EDFSS Chief Executive, sent us a note of support:

“The revival of this event for morris and sword dance, Dancing England, will provide a great opportunity to positively profile folk dance.  It will be wonderful to give a showcase platform for the many excellent dancers throughout England who keep these dances alive, and by seeing quality performances we will encourage more people to get involved and maintain these important traditions. “

As we get messages of support, we’ll post them here on the website.

Please remember; Liking is good, but Sharing is better.

Until next time

Edwin