With traditional dancing and Mummers play performance
Crowds of spectators braved the Boxing Day rain to watch Greensleeves Morris Men, Merton’s popular local Morris dancing side, perform their traditional winter Mummers play and dance outside the Hand in Hand and neighbouring Crooked Billet public houses on the Crooked Billet at the edge of Wimbledon Common.
Determined not to let the damp weather spoil their enjoyment, the enthusiastic crowd cheered and laughed along to the lively performance that rounded off Greensleeves’ annual Boxing Day tour that started in the morning at nearby Alexander House care home, followed by a midday performance in Wimbledon Village High Street.
“The audiences have been great; there are fewer people than usual because of the rain, but those that are here are having a good time and are enjoying themselves,” commented Dave Legg, Squire (leader) of Greensleeves Morris Men.
Greensleeves’ Boxing Day tour began at Alexander House, off Ridgway, a residential care home with 20 elderly residents that is run by Keychange Charity, a Christian residential care home charity.
The Morris Men entertained Alexander House residents with their traditional handkerchief and stick dances, which were followed by warm mince pies and hot drinks.
“I thought it was terrific. Morris dancing is an old tradition, it was marvellous,” said Dorothy Harrison, a resident at Alexander House.
The care home’s staff also enjoyed Greensleeves’ annual Boxing Day visit.
“It went amazingly well; it’s good keeping old traditions alive,” commented Terrence Surin, Alexander House’s Events Coordinator.
“The residents really enjoyed the dancing. It’s great to have this here at Christmas time.”
Greensleeves’ next stop was a short walk away on Wimbledon Village High Street where an enthusiastic crowd defied the rain and gathered to watch the lunchtime performance opposite the Rose & Crown public house.
Passing visitors and local families out for a Boxing Day walk stopped to watch the Morris Men’s humorous Mummers Play and traditional dances before heading off to browse nearby shops or visit the High Street’s busy pubs and restaurants.
Greensleeves’ Dave Legg commented: “Greensleeves performing in Wimbledon is a Christmas tradition; the audiences have been fantastic as usual, in spite of the rain.
“We have been performing our Mummers Play for more than 20 years. There’s always a great crowd in Wimbledon Village. Everyone is in a festive mood and has a good time.”
For those interested in English traditional dancing and folk music, Greensleeves are inviting newcomers to join them at their New Year practice sessions; so why not give Morris dancing a try yourself?
The club’s first Friday practice session will be held on Friday January 10 from 8pm to 10pm at South Wimbledon Community Centre, 78 Victory Road, SW19 IHN.
Welcoming first timers, Legg said: “If you want to try Morris dancing and join in the fun, why not come along to our first practice of the New Year? Everyone’s welcome!”
Founded in 1926, Greensleeves (www.greensleevesmorris.org.uk) is London’s longest established Morris dancing club and has been based in Wimbledon SW19 for the past 37 years.
Beginners are welcome and inquiries can be addressed to the club secretary (known as a Bagman) David Cooling on 07500993993 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 3, 2020