Barley Brigg, founded in 1989, are a mixed morris side based in Yoxford, near the beautiful Suffolk coast. We follow the North West tradition of morris which features sets of 8 or 12 dancers performing processional and geometrical figures, with the stepping accentuated by iron-shod clogs with bells. We are instantly recognisable in our patriotic colours of red white and blue, and our impressive flowery hats!
This is where we're going to be dancing this season, but keep checking for additions and updates. Regular Wednesday pub sessions will start late April and will be added here.
Subject to short-notice cancellation if wet. Timings accord to 'morris time' (i.e. very approximate!)
|Sat 1st January 2022||12.00 - 2.00pm||Plough & Sail, Snape Maltings
with Pretty Grim & Danegeld
|Sat 2nd April||All day||Halesworth Day of Dance (TBC)|
|Sat 2nd July||All day||Potty Festival, Sheringham (TBC)|
|Grain's Bar||New this year. An unusual staggered arrangement for the step-up, and a notable dance-off with everyone sidestepping each other.|
|Newcastle||Also new this year, a gentle dance unusually for a side of 6|
|Whitby Shindig||The return of a favourite, the figures depict various landmarks around the town of Whitby: Flowergate, Abbey Windows, Swing Bridge, Up the Steps, Bandstand, Whale Bones. Danced with bobbins|
|Gisburn||Danced with ribbon sticks to a jig, with an exuberant 'swing-down' figure near the end, followed by a mad dash off (to the bar probably)|
|Horbury Rushcart||A fine dance with a great tune- look out for the unusual starting position with men and women alternating positions down the set -those on the 'wrong' side are 'improper'. (Come to think of it, so are some of those on the right side....). A mix of polka and single step, with a couple of appearances of the Royton step. A bit energetic, this one!|
|Humphreys’ Hooley||Unusual in that it is a circle dance. Written by Jill Parson in memory of Barley Brigg stalwart and all-round fine chap John Humphreys|
|Broadside||A scissor-kick in the step up, followed by the first figure, helpfully named 'first figure', and some interesting geometrical arrangements to follow. The music tends to run out by the time we reach the dance off|
|Spitfire||A popular dance notable for the unusual shape of the set which denotes the wings and fuselage of a Spitfire. Danced with traditional wooden bobbins to a polka step. With thanks to John Hakeman of Knockhundred Shuttles who devised the dance|
|St Helens||A good dance with a striking tune in the minor mode. An energetic thrusting forward of sticks in the step up, a varied selection of figures including 'Royton' where we are in a St George's cross type arrangement, facing up the set then down dancing the Royton step|
|Hindley Circle||A perennial favourite, the second of two circle dances. Clashing sticks in the step-up. Mad scramble to end up still in a circle at the end. Danced with 8 or 12 in the set|
|Carr Lodge Polka||Not a regular this season, but occasionally performed as a mass dance when with other N-W morris sides. Usually the cause of some hilarity as the other side invariably dances to a different tune and with the figures in a different order, with different names- this only becoming apparent as the dance is in progress. Cue end of session and a dash to the nearest bar|
|Public dance: Grenoside||Elegant and very easy country dance ending with a snaking figure to get everyone in a big circle. Not at all energetic, suitable for all- resistance is futile!!|
It's fun, it's easy, it will help keep you fit, and we are a friendly bunch...
...and you will be helping to keep a tradition alive.
We meet most Wednesday evenings in Yoxford Village Hall from 8pm-10pm during Autumn and Winter, and in late Spring and early Summer you will find us out and about at various pubs on and near the picturesque Suffolk coast.
You are very welcome to come along to a session just to watch, or to have a go, either dancing or playing. No previous experience necessary! There will be tea and biscuits...
Old High Road, Yoxford, Suffolk IP17 3HN
-just off the A12 at Yoxford, north of Saxmundham
Join us at a practice to see what it's all about, at any time- just drop us a line first to check we are meeting. See the bottom of the page for contact details
Morris is the best known style of ceremonial dance in England and the earliest references to it date from the 15th century. Distinctive styles of dance were recorded in the 19th and 20th centuries: Cotswold originated in the South Midlands, North West in the mills of Lancashire and Cheshire, Border along the Welsh border and Molly in East Anglia.
North-West morris is based on processional dances with a dance leader and eight dancers. The leader calls the figures which are geometric patterns. A dance consists of a repeated chorus ('step-up') separated by five or six figures and a dance-off to end. Steps are march, polka (rant) or single step.
Barley Brigg dances in the North West style in elaborate and colourful costumes with the stepping accentuated by the use of clogs. Cotton rope slings, decorated sticks, wavers and vintage bobbins from the woollen mills are used in a variety of dances.
In addition to our Summer evening pub dances, Barley Brigg appear at a number of events in East Anglia and further afield. In 2012 we visited the Netherlands and danced at the famous Cheese Market in Edam. In July 2008 we performed at the Rättviksdansen folklore festival in Sweden. We have danced on the West Coast of Ireland, the Isle of Wight, and Brittany and Bouchain in Northern France. We have performed at festivals such as Folk East, the Wimbourne Folk Festival, Rochester Sweeps, Potty Festival in Sheringham and many others.
The costumes worn by Barley Brigg consist of red socks, blue breeches, white shirts, blue and red sashes, red and white neckerchiefs and top hats decorated liberally with flowers for the men; red tights or stockings, blue and white striped skirts, white blouses and black straw hats decorated with flowers for the women.
Music is an integral part of morris dancing and we have a fantastic band of musicians led by Ade on the melodeon.
The musical line-up is constantly changing but generally includes D/G melodeons, guitar, mandolin, bass drum and other percussion. Sometimes a fiddle, recorder, or brass instrument accompany the dances with traditional tunes such as Rattling Bog, Tralee Gaol, Salmon Tails and the Floral Dance.
30 Years of Dancing 2019