If you have dreamed of a life with bells on here’s a chance

MJM men
MJM men

There is an opportunity to experience the vibrant world of Morris dancing when local side Mad Jacks Morris hold a taster session in the Old Town of Hastings on Monday.

Mary Phillips, from Mad Jacks, said: “Residents of Hastings will know a bit about The Morris. The town and district have a number of sides who dance out regularly.

“Hardly a week goes by without bells and clashing sticks being heard, waving hankies seen and the colourful mixture of traditional dance and music being enjoyed by appreciative audiences.

“Contrary to popular belief, The Morris is not just for the aged and bearded, although there are plenty of both, Mad Jack’s Morris has some very talented, young performers.

“You may notice that we are quite competitive and our younger members challenge us to jump higher, move faster, clash stronger and even to leap-frog!

“Mad Jack’s Morris was founded in 1976 and is the oldest of the local sides; we are planning events for our 40th anniversary in 2016.

“Our kit is traditional white for the Cotswold dances we do, adorned with ribbons in the Cinque Ports colours ( red, blue and yellow), the men wear top hats and baldrics (crossed sashes to hold their swords), the women have waistcoats in the colours.

The dances are done in sets, usually of six, and we dance to traditional folk music collected or composed , often played on melodeons but also on other acoustic instruments.

“The stepping can be tricky, that’s why we practice weekly and dance out as much as we can. When you get really good you can dance a jig on your own or, like some of our younger dancers do, a double jig where dancers try to out-do each other.

“Our performances take place virtually anywhere and at any time, inside and out; town, city, village or field; dawn to dusk; at any kind of social celebration but often where Real Ale can be found.

“We are part of our rich English Heritage and proud of it. Our performances aim to be a celebration of tradition, skill, athleticism, elegance, enjoyment and fun.

“If you are at all interested, we are holding open practice on Monday 29th September at 8pm at St Clements Church House, Croft Road, Hastings.

Everyone is welcome to come along and get a feel for the Morris.

Contact: www. madjacksmorris.co.uk , on Facebook, Twitter or email : maryphillips77@hotmail.co.uk or text 07973671834.