The Boekka Guise team has experienced many changes since it first formed in 2010. A change in appearance meant the Teazers (who wore face masks) wore partial face blacking which is easier to wear and traditional for Guise performers. Penkevyll has had two changes of tatter and ribbon colours and now wears the traditional Cornish colours of black, white and gold.
We attempted to combine a Morris side with Boekka’s ‘Oss and Teazers as my son (our first rider) was eager to teach a Morris team. We had however heard from an experienced Morris dancer that when a group exceeds seven members, the group dynamics change and problems can occur. We found this to be the case, especially when recruits joined for reasons other than performance, so unsurprisingly they were not members for long. We also discovered it is not easy to recruit Morris dancers in West Cornwall as most local musicians and dancers prefer Cornish traditional performance and Morris dancing is considered an ‘English’ pursuit. Boekka eventually reverted to a Cornish ‘Oss and Teazer team and this works well.
We have three riders for Penkevyll the ‘Oss, two are local and the other lives further away. The rider who lives the farthest attended Sidmouth festival with his Morris team and then continued his journey to Cornwall to visit us. It was an ideal opportunity to get two of our riders together to practice with Penkevyll and the rider with more experience gave the newer one advice on ways of moving the ‘Oss to give her personality and character.
We also took the opportunity to photograph Penkevyll (Cassandra’s ‘Oss) and Morvargh (my ‘Oss) together.
I also had time for Teazing practice with Penkevyll. The energy of the ‘Oss is fast and wild and the Teazer blends with this energy incorporating fast, wild and ‘earthed’ movements. Slow movement with the ‘Oss can still have an edge but needs to be done in a certain way and Cassandra is the only Teazer who has accomplished this, considering some other performances I have seen.
This practice coincided with Boekka’s 7th Birthday, so we had a celebration together with Prosecco and cake.
After practice we spent the evening in our local pub the St Buryan Inn for music, singing and dancing which the locals and tourists enjoyed. Some of them moved from the lounge bar to the public one to listen and join in with dancing and singing.
We had a wonderful afternoon and evening. It is good to now have three riders (as well as my son who rode in the past) who not only respect but understand the spirit of Penkevyll. Boekka is now a small but happy group resulting in positive energies. Long may it last.