Here is a review of our second Cotswold Morris workshop held on 24th January 2021, for over 90 participants from the UK, Netherlands, Germany and the USA to learn the ‘Bonnets to Blue’ jig in the style of Bucknell. The workshop was kindly run by dancers Andrew Knight and Lin Steel with musician Tony Warren, all from the Knights of King Ina jig team in Somerset.
“This was my second Zoom workshop led by Andrew and it was tremendously enjoyable. The Knights of King Ina (KOKI) have researched their dances by going back to the earliest sources and the jig we learned, Bonnets so Blue, is a version based on that collected by George Butterworth.
“The workshop was aimed at experienced Cotswold dancers, as well as those less familiar with the style. Andrew gave very clear explanations of the steps supplemented by the different views we had from the cameras focussed on him, his feet and fellow dancer, Lin Steel. He covered the whole jig in a workshop lasting 90 minutes without there being any rush and with plenty of time for questions, demonstrations of the steps, and participants dancing.
“Tony Warren played the music on mandolin. Under the latest version of the Covid regulations he would not have been permitted to play from his car outside Andrew’s house, as at the previous workshop, so the Morris Federation and Andrew ingeniously enabled the music via a device in Andrew’s house.
“It was also good to hear about what makes Bucknell different from other traditions: Andrew emphasised the brisk style, but stressed that this does not mean fast, and showed how the stepping and arm movements differ from other traditions. It is all too easy to do a multipurpose one size fits all dance, so this was very welcome.
“Although we are all missing “normal” practices – and perhaps the cake which apparently is an essential element of KOKI meetings – the online approach has several benefits: a clear view of the teacher (not always the case in a hall!), plenty of space around you – assuming you have arranged your own dance space properly – and people from around the country and the world can join in, provided your internet connection performs as it should. There were around 80 participants at this workshop and I was very grateful not to be doing this in a hall with 80 people but benefiting from what seems almost like a private tutorial.
“The workshop was well prepared and supported by notations and videos on the MF website. The jig has just two figures, a foot up and slows (repeated) with the jig/chorus in between, so as one participant observed,”Quite a nice length for someone eligible for their jab!”
by Sarah Cofts, a member of Dacre Morris in Lewisham
Donations from workshop participants raised money for Yeovil Freewheelers Blood Bikes: https://www.yfwbloodbikes.org/