Learning the dance from Nelson in Lancashire

Here is a review of an online workshop teaching The Nelson Dance from Lancashire, run on 10th January by Virginia Crewe, Peter Crewe, and Carol O Reilly of Malkin Morris from Lancashire.

Virgina Crewe Malkin on zoom“An impressive 140 North West Morris dancers logged into this workshop, from the UK, Netherlands and Australia.  The workshop was led by Virginia Crewe of Malkin Morris at 11am on a Sunday morning. Everyone was keen, lots of people danced around their living rooms and it was good to share a learning experience with so many like-minded people.

“The dance was new to me, so clarity in instructions was important; I hadn’t read up on the notation in advance and I hadn’t seen it danced either. I liked the fact that Virginia taught from a specific position in the set and with her back to the camera – so much easier than trying to mirror the teacher facing you. I also appreciated her demonstrating the single stepping side-on so we could see her knee height and get an idea of style. Personally, I would have liked more precision regarding hand/stick positioning but as this workshop was aimed at beginners, I thought the level of detail was appropriate.

Malkin Nelson Dance fours“It took a little while to get going and, as is often the way, there were some technical difficulties in screen-sharing. Sadly the YouTube video of Malkin Morris performing the dance didn’t work for me as it was very jumpy, and once we started dancing there were occasional lags with playing out the pre-recorded music. But these things apart, the instructions were clear, well-demonstrated and nicely in shot, and it was good to dance through each figure to specifically recorded music. The use of diagrams to explain each dancer’s position in a figure really DID work well, and they were brilliantly drawn (kudos to Carol who did that!).

“Well done and thank you to Virginia and Malkin Morris for choosing and breaking down a dance that really could be taught in an hour’s online lesson. The overriding feeling expressed at the end (when we were all unmuted!) was that it was good to dance again and very satisfying to learn an entire dance in one session.

by Nina Hansell of Old Speckled Hen North West Morris in Oxfordshire

Malkin Morris Nelson danceSee the video of The Nelson as danced by Malkin Morris (Facebook)

After the workshop Malkin Morris kindly donated these items to our Notation Library: Dance Notation (PDF), The Nelson Fours figure (PPT), and The Steamboat audio (MP3)

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