Morris teams get a kick out of Burnley

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Morris dancing will come back to Burnley with a bang this month as an array of teams prepare to descend on the town. The town centre will ring to the sound of bells, clogs and music on Saturday, 15th June, when six dance sides join Malkin Morris and musicians the Roughlee Ruffians for a spectacular day of dance.

And Roughlee-based Malkin plan to kick off the dance fest with a performance of the town’s own morris dance, The Burnley - its first public outing in 80 or more years.

Malkin Squire Gin Crewe said, “We are so excited about The Burnley. We aren’t sure exactly when it was last performed, but it must be at least 80 years and possibly longer. Many towns and villages in this area had their own dances in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and we have been performing some of them, including The Padiham, for a while now.

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“But The Burnley has been a tricky one. As far as we can work out, it hasn’t been by anybody still living today and we’ve had to put it together from a series of interviews from the 1960s. The interviews were with several former dancers who each recalled different aspects of the dance and its steps from 30 to 50 years earlier, so putting the complete thing together was something of a challenge, to say the least.”

Malkin Morris step out at a recent day of dance in LythamMalkin Morris step out at a recent day of dance in Lytham
Malkin Morris step out at a recent day of dance in Lytham

“It feels so good to be able to bring a forgotten dance back to life,” added Gin. “We really do believe it’s important to keep these traditions going, to document them and make them available for future generations.

“We have already written a book about North West Morris in this area and are in the process of writing another about maypole dancing in East Lancashire.”

Malkin will be joined by Amounderness Ladies Morris, Belfagan Women's Morris, Newburgh Morris, Regency ReJigged,Royal Preston Morris Dancers and Stone the Crows Border Morris at the event in and around the Charter Walk Shopping Centre. It starts at 10.15am and finishes about 3.30pm.

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The day of dance - a morris tradition which sees a local team joined by a number of guest sides - will be opened by the Mayor of Burnley, Councillor Shah Hussain. Proceeds from a collection will go to the Mayor’s charity.

Malkin Morris, who include step-clogging in their repertoire, practice at Roughlee Village Centre most Mondays, which they often follow with a live music session at the Bay Horse pub.

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