Tuesday, June 11, 2013

US Dance Group to Visit the Isle of Man to Learn More about Manx Culture




US folk dance team, And Sometimes Y, will be heading for the Isle of Man at the beginning of July to learn more about Manx culture, after raising over $12,000 and securing a grant from the Country Dance and Song Society to make a ‘once in a lifetime’ journey to the Island.

Based in the scenic Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, they are an enthusiastic group of teenagers who perform both Morris and Sword dancing, but are perhaps best known for being probably the only team in North America to specialise in Manx dancing after their teacher, David Nixon, was taught a selection of dances by Island based group Perree Bane.

Members of the US group, founded in 2009, practice on a regular basis during the autumn and winter months, before leaping into the festival season followed by a series of local tours. They are particularly well known for dances studied from the Sherborne English Morris tradition and demonstrate their talents at a number of ‘ales’ (gatherings of Morris and folk dancers) which take place under richly evocative titles such as the Harvest Ale, the Ginger Ale and the Marlboro Ale.

After a phenomenally successful bout of fundraising, a dozen dancers and musicians of the US dance team, accompanied by adult supporters, will be arriving on the 2nd July for an extended visit, which it’s hoped will be the beginning of an on-going cultural exchange.

Teacher David Nixon commented, “We are very excited to be able to travel to Mann, thanks to the over $12,000 raised in our fund raising campaign.  Our fund raising campaign continues with bake sales, a raffle, and generous contributions from our friends, families, and supporters”.

Their fundraising efforts included a number of thought-provoking ideas, such as working in the kitchen for a local Burns night supper, raffling a specially commissioned quilt designed and stitched by needlewomen associated with the group and a Manx-themed dinner. The group’s extraordinary efforts were highlighted in a number of regional US newspapers giving valuable publicity to the team’s forthcoming visit to the Isle of Man.

It’s going to be a busy time for members of And Sometimes Y as they intend to pack in many activities during their holiday, which they hope will broaden their knowledge of Manx life, and influence their direction in future years. Appropriately they will be on the Island for Tynwald Day and intend to sample the traditions and excitement of our National Day at St John’s, and observe the pomp and ceremony of this important occasion.

They also hope to explore the Manx countryside, study both traditional and new Manx dances from Island based dancers and also perform their own style of Manx
dancing to local audiences.

(Photos courtesy of Pam Ososky and Sarah Strong)


Valerie Caine
© June 2013

(Courtesy of Manx Tails)

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