Mr Hemmings Day of Dance 2015

Mr Hemmings Day of Dance 2015
On 9th May 2015, Mr Hemmings Traditional Abingdon Morris dancers hosted their annual day of dance in Abingdon.
Mr Hemmings Day of Dance 2015
This always takes place on a Saturday nearest the birthday of former Abingdon Morris dance legend Tom Hemmings who kept the Tradition of Abingdon Morris Dancing alive in the mid-19th century.
Mr Hemmings Day of Dance 2015
Mr Les Badcock, the bagman of the Mr Hemmings Dancers, brings together many varied dancing styles and colourful dancers for the day of dance.
Mr Hemmings Day of Dance 2015
From Ashnah who do American Tribal Style Bellydance ….
Mr Hemmings Day of Dance 2015
to the Hook Eagle Morris who black their faces, carry big sticks and are in the tradition of Border Morris.

Also on the list to attend were: Borderline Morris, Hazzaz, Mabel Gubbins Rapper, Old Speckled Hen, and Stroud Morris Dancers.

The groups performed on the Market Place either side of lunch, and outside the pubs of Ock Street and the town centre in the morning and afternoon. Most of the groups can be seen dancing together in this video …

9 thoughts on “Mr Hemmings Day of Dance 2015

  1. Steve

    Abingdon should not be welcoming dancers who black their faces; it’s pretty offensive and doesn’t have a place in modern 21st century Britain.

  2. Houdini

    Oh for heavens sake. There’s always one. For your information blacking the face has a few theories:

    15th Centuury People mimicking the ‘Moorish’, Disguise for dancing/begging whilst dancing Morrysse in the Tudor times, 19th Century Minstrelsy taken from France or modern interpretations are related to coal miners

    It is thought though that it was for disguise, not mimicry.

    So it’s ok for some African tribes to put white paint on their faces? Native Americans and Aborginies to paint their faces white or red? Yet when a white person puts black paint on, it’s considered offensive? Seriously?

  3. Steve

    I think it’s less a case of ‘for heaven’s sake; there’s always one’ and more of take a look back through the history and take an objective view. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but my view is that there is enough evidence to suggest that this isn’t really appropriate in the 21st century. Have a read through this and make up your own mind.

  4. Brian

    Steve, obviously you didn’t google morris dancing ,did you ! There are 3 main types, Cotswold, North West, Border. In laymans terms Cotswold are the hanky wavers, North West the clog dancers and Border, the blacked out faces with sticks.The main theories for the blacked out faces are, chimney sweepers, miners and poor farmers on the English/ Welsh border. Back in the day BEFORE Britain became multi cultural farmers were poor and supplimented their income by dancing, BUT this was classed as begging and illegal so they used soot and goose fat to blacken their faces so they couldn’t be recognised by their employers !! simple. The most offensive thing is the fact that you think this is offensive, if you checked out Morris dancers you will find that they are not racist in anyway and also do alot of work raising money for charities, providing crowd entertainment and keeping our rich heritage alive. Sorry to hear that you are one of those people who see negativity in everything without checking it out first, by the way l had a lovely day and it was so good to see happy white, black, and brown faces in the crowd at Abingdon and l shall continue to Morris dance for many years. !

  5. Steve

    You are a bit sensitive, aren’t you? I have absolutely no problem with Morris dancing and actually quite like it on several different levels; I have watched it in Abingdon since I was a child 40 years ago. I am sure there are plenty of theories about ‘blacking up’ and I am sure most Morris Dancers think it doesn’t have contentious roots. I think it probably does and I don’t think it needs to continue for the tradition to be maintained. Nuff said.

  6. Houdini

    Thank you Brian 🙂

    Steve – it’s about time people got over feeling offended by a blacked out face and get into the 21st Century. As my link showed in my previous post, is it ok then for a black person with a painted white face? What’s the difference? It’s just paint, a colour …….

    Next you’ll be saying you feel the belly dancers were offensive with a bit of tummy showing?!?!

  7. Brian

    Thanks Houdini, wondered if Steve has heard of double standards ??
    Steve, just to clarify, is it ok for ladies to wear black tights/stockings or is that offensive ? from an objective point of view. As many employers require this, and there is plenty of evidence to suggest that this isn’t really appropriate in the 21st century or even necessary, and l have feeling that many ladies don’t think it has contentious roots but l think it probably does. Nuff said.


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