Morris magic!

Whaley Water Weekend, the Powder Kegs morris dancers perform
Whaley Water Weekend, the Powder Kegs morris dancers perform

Forget Strictly Come Dancing, this weekend it’s Strictly Morris Dancing as the streets of the Hope Valley become a riot of colour, dance and music.

Whaley Bridge-based morris side Powderkegs will host dance sides from all over the UK during a weekend-long extravaganza of mass morris dancing in Hope and Castleton to celebrate their tenth birthday.

“We are expecting 150 dancers and musicians, and hope people will enjoy watching us as much as we enjoy performing,” said Liz Carney, a member of Powderkegs.

“In Castleton we will dance at various spots around the town, and at Hope we will be dancing at the Old Hall Inn, at the Market Place, in the middle of the village.”

Altogether there will be eight sides representing different dance traditions. Although most people think morris dancing is all about hankies and bells, each region of the UK had its own variation of morris, and many villages had their own unique dance.

Four sides, including Powderkegs, will be dancing Border Morris, from the English Welsh Borders. Border is noisy, with bells, yells and clashing sticks. Dancers disguise themselves with black faces and rag jackets.

Chapel-en-le-Frith Morris Men are Cotswold dancers, with traditional bells, baldricks, white hankies and straw hats decorated with flowers.

Milltown Cloggies follow the North West tradition of Clog Morris, which comes from workers in the textile mills.

And Black Dog Molly dance Molly; an earthy, unsophisticated style of morris dancing from East Anglia and The Fens.

On Saturday (September 10), performances will take place at various locations around Castleton between 10am and 3pm, and at The Old Hall Inn on the Market Place, Hope, from 3.30pm onwards.

Performances continue on the Sunday (September 11), at The Old Hall Inn between 11am and 1pm.