Both the unnamed new Cotswold morris team in Syracuse and the Binghamton Morris Men are done with their practice schedule — well, pretty much. Both teams will run through some dances the night before their first upcoming public performances.
The new team’s learned three dances in the Ilmington style — the only three dances, according to the jest that as far as audiences are concerned, there are only the Hankie Dance, the Stick Dance, and the Handclap Dance. In our case, those are “Old Woman Tossed Up in a Blanket”, “Evesham”, and “Cuckoo’s Nest”, respectively. The team’s lost a couple of the starting members, and indeed we’re uncomfortably close to not having enough members to dance, but barring injuries or inconvenient new jobs (two of the members got laid off in February) we should be good for May Day, and I think we’ll also be able to dance in Cortland the following Sunday. Thornden Morris’s usual May Day Eve pot luck and Maypole cutting will be at our house again, and given that most of the new team is also involved in Thornden, we decided that’d be a good time for one last runthrough.
We talked about kit a lot, but ran out of time for anything much more than arm ribbons — narrow and long, in various shades of blue. Maybe some bell ribbons too, and maybe blue belts.
We chose Ilmington partly because it’s a relatively simple style, more so than Bucknell which was considered but deemed a little too complicated to try to pull off after six practices. So then, of course, the Binghamton Men decided to teach Bucknell to Tom, Chris, Dave, and me in three practices… and we more or less succeeded. But the rest of the BMM’s done Bucknell for 20 years or more, and that makes a difference. Anyway, we’ve done two dances (“Blue Eyed Stranger” and “Queen’s Delight”) and we’ll see how they go on Friday at the Major’s Inn in Gilbertsville, when the Toronto Morris Men and, for the first time, the Newtowne Morris Men of Boston show up as guests for our Gilbertsville Tour; then we’ll go public the next day in G’ville, West Edmeston, and Cooperstown.