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Diary Of A New Morris Dancer

February 24th 2018 Wakefield Rhubarb Festival. 

7am I awoke feeling more nauseous and nervous than ever, it was the day of my first dance out. It’s been a long road to get to this point, five months of practice hampered by a constant leg injury has seen me miss many first dance out goals, but finally I was ready. I don’t remember much of getting ready, nor the drive into Wakefield. We all met at The Hop for a welcomed coffee and slice of cake, to set us up for the day. All too soon it was time to leave for our first dance spot which was at Trinity Walk. Rather than prolong things and add to my increasing nerves, I was to dance in our first dance of the day. Black Rod, on any other day, it’s our easiest dance and the first one we learn, but today, it may well have been West Bretton or Celebration, neither of which I know how to dance just yet. I was full of adrenalin, shaking like crazy and then the music started. I almost missed the que from our squire for us to start dancing. After what seemed like forever and without to many mistakes, I made it through my first dance in kit as part of Wakefield Morris Dancers. I was so incredibly proud of myself, I’d done it, unscathed and without landing on my backside. 

As the day went on, my nerves slowly went away, certainly helped by a beer or two at lunchtime. My dancing improved, I made less mistakes and enjoyed it more and more. By the time we finished for the day I was on a total high and didn’t want to stop, thankfully neither did many of the team. The evening saw us dance several times more in The Hop then the Beer Exchange, and it will stay in my memory as one of the most enjoyable days out I’ve had, made easier by the amazing support and encouragement from the rest of the team. 

The next few months will see me join in many dance outs but arguably the most intimidating and nerve wracking is Ossett Beercart, June 1st – 2nd, the fifth annual Ossett Beercart, a fabulous event organised by Wakefield Morris Dancers in aid of Wakefield Hospice. Myself and the rest of the team will be joined by many other morris dancing teams from all over the UK for a weekend of dancing, beer and fundraising, so the pressure is on to be at our very best. Let the training commence!