Traditional dances brought to life at Ribble Valley event

Malkin Morris and supporting musicians.
Malkin Morris and supporting musicians.
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Bowland’s hills may well be ringing with the sound of clogs later this month as two local dance groups head for Clitheroe.

Members of Malkin Morris and the Royal Preston Morris Dancers will be performing traditional Lancashire dances at Holmes Mill and Clitheroe Castle on the afternoon of Sunday, May 20th, as part of this year’s Festival Bowland programme.

Members of the Royal Preston Morris Dancers performing in Downham.

Members of the Royal Preston Morris Dancers performing in Downham.

The North West Morris tradition grew from the industrial towns of Lancashire and Cheshire in the late 19th Century and dances were often enacted by groups of young men in rushcart festivals during Wakes Week holidays.

Performed in procession or on the spot dancers wear brightly coloured clothes and often carry sticks, or “mollies” (short ropes), in each hand. Clogs with iron nails help to accentuate the rhythm of the steps.

The Royal Preston Morris Dancers will be celebrating 40 years in their present form this year, although the group was originally established in 1892. And whilst Malkin Morris are a relatively new side, they too have members who have been dancing for several decades, alongside enthusiastic newcomers. They are accompanied by the Roughlee Ruffians, who provide lively musical support.

With dances including the Clitheroe, the Whalley, the Longridge and the Gisburn, the emphasis will be firmly on a Lancashire theme and members of the audience will have the chance to join in after each performance.

The groups will dance outside Holmes Mill on Greenacre Street between noon and 1pm before moving on to Clitheroe Castle for a second performance beginning at 1-30pm. Both performances are free of charge.

For more information contact the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty office on 01200 448000 or email sandra.silk@lancashire.gov.uk