HISTORY of The JERSEY LILIES

The Jersey Lilies began life as the Jersey Ladies’ Rapper Team formed by the WAGS of the newly hatched Helier Morris. In 1978 we branched into Cotswold Morris, coached by one of the men and sharing the men’s musician. We were a mere interlude in the Helier Morris programme. But very soon we had our own musician (Ross) and started expanding our repertoire through contacts with English sides, especially Magog from Sussex, The Plymouth Maids and Queen’s Delight from Somerset. We became the Jersey Lilies and blossomed. Some of us have been blooming and dancing for 32 years, which should say something (?!) about the health benefits of morris dancing. Our repertoire is now wide and as we have learned from many teams who dance in different traditions, each with their own style, what we do could best be described as fusion morris – a mixture of the following:

 

Cotswold – the one with the bells, hankies and sticks, tracing its origins back into the mists of time. It was performed as a ceremonial dance by the village talent who sported cricket whites or britches and baldricks, and, one way or another, scared away the devil and induced fertility. These are usually the most difficult dances to perform, as they involve co-ordinating a variety of steps and arm movements, as well as knowing the figures.

 

North West Clog -  this tradition involved the wearing of clogs to make a good noise on the cobbled streets of Lancashire. We do have clogs, but don’t always wear them (not so good on carpets or grass). These dances use short sticks and need neat precise movements, with knees lifted high (rheumatics permitting).

 

Border- (originating from the Welsh borders)– this is our favourite, and is becoming the most popular in the UK. It involves wild shrieking and the vigorous waving and clashing of sticks.  Dancers traditionally wear tatter jackets and black their faces as a form of disguise. However teams in the UK are wearing even more adventurous kit – gothic, witchy or tarty as the case may be. Our kit is a fairly modest tribute to this tradition and our dancing is only moderately wild – after all some of us have professional reputations to guard!

 

Jersey – well Jersey doesn’t have much of a tradition of dancing – they seem to have gone more for witchcraft – at least in St Ouen, but we have invented some of our own dances using movements and tunes that we enjoy, including a ribbon dance (a tribute to vraic) and a short stick dance. We also do a dance taught us by a visitor from New Zealand – it shows how the tradition has evolved, as doubtless it started life quite differently somewhere in the UK.

 

Join us – for fitness, fun and friendship.

 

Don’t be put off by the fact that some of us have been dancing since the dawn of time, and were thinking that we might have to change our name to ‘The Zimmer Frames’. We have recently been joined by younger members (some being daughters of former dancers) and need more to keep the traditions alive. 

If you want to  join us or would like to book us for an event go to our contact page

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Website set up by Fiddler Lily 2016