November 4 is a busy day for dancers in Shepherstown… with both our monthly contra dance and the Morris team’s hosted Ale (morris dance party with favorite beverage)… The Day of the Dead, Day of Dance… offering up a number of performances in a variety of locations.
About the Ale
The faint ringing of bells to the raucous sounds of accordions, fiddles, bagpipes, drums and other instruments will be just part of the musical backdrop to the weekend as Mason Dixon Border Morris from Washington, DC, the Albemarle Morris Men from Charlottesville, VA and More or Less Morris from Richmond, VA and our own local team, the Hicks with Sticks bring the many flavors of morris dance to Shepherdstown. The dancing is part of a gathering called an Ale by Morris Dancers, named for their favorite beverage which is consumed in quantity during the weekend party as fuel for the strenuous dances. This weekend’s ale is an event hosted by our local Shepherdstown team.
Starting at 10 AM at the Rumsey Monument Park, there will be dancers re-enacting traditions dating back to the middle ages in merry olde England. Each town or village had it’s own particular dance and style and different regions developed distinctive traditions reflecting their history and culture. If one keeps their eyes open, you can see styles of dance from the Cotswold hills, the agricultural bread basket of England, with it’s hankies, bells and stick traditions, as well as dances from the wild and wooly Welsh border region, where the dancers typically black their faces (for disguise) and wear colorful rag coats.
Dancing will take place in several venues throughout the day in both Shepherdstown and Martinsburg. The schedule below reflects the day’s activities.
Saturday, November 4
10AM: Short Morris Dance performance at Rumsey Monument Park
11AM Performance on the Library Plaza in Martinsburg (corner of King and Queen Streets).
2:30PM Performance at Canterbury of Shepherdstown Nursing Home
3:30PM Dancing at the Bavarian Inn
5PM Dancing on the McMurran Hall Bricks
Shepherdstown Contra Dance
Join us for our first Saturday contra dance in November with Ron Buchanan calling high energy squares and contras to the the fabulous Morrison Brothers Band with Jim Morrison on fiddle, Owen Morrison on guitar and Will Morrison on drums. Introductory beginners workhop at 7:30pm, Dance starts at 8. Potluck snacks at the break. At the Shepherdstown War Memorial Building. Admission $12 adults, $8 members (join us!), and $5 dancing kids under 12.