For a few years I was a re-enactor at the Battle of Camlann Tintagel. I participated in longbow archery displays in medieval costume and fought in battles.
I was also a member of Wolfshead Bowmen performing displays at Castle Cary in Devon. We practiced at Michelham Priory in Sussex and attended the festival at Herstmonceux. My best shot was through a shield wall at ground level where my arrow slid between the legs of a kneeling soldier wearing a kilt!
Dancing has been one of my life-long passions. From infancy I attempted to imitate dancers that entranced me on television. As the years progressed I learnt ballet and in my twenties I toured nightclubs as part of a dance troupe and as a podium dancer.
From 1999 I learnt Morris with Wolfshead & Vixen, attended belly dancing classes and in recent years I learnt Cornish dancing in Cornwall.
A few months after moving to Cornwall I was contacted by an acquaintance and asked if I would be interested in becoming an apprentice Teazer for the Penzance Obby ‘Oss Penglaz. This is when I met Cassandra and she considered me for the role due to my past membership with a reputable Morris team. There was also my qualifications in martial arts that requires a high level of fitness. I performed on the streets of Penzance with Cassandra as part of my Teazer training for two years.
I danced in a procession with Cassandra for the first May Horns celebration in Penzance
When we were no longer required for the Golowan festival due to political disagreements, we created our own Guise team called Boekka and re-named Cassandra’s ‘Obby ‘Oss Penkevyll. We were then able to tour and perform outside Penzance. Boekka has visited Scotland, Wales and Kent. I am now the main Teazer for Penkevyll.
An experimental dance was devised by my talented son Rhys for our Ceildih spot at Teignmouth folk festival. Members of the band Muse attended this particular school, so dancing to their music was also a tribute to them. The sharp, fast moves were accurately performed by the dancers who were myself, Rhys, Megan and Denise. It was a joy to perform and all involved were exceptional.
I also danced with a Cornwall Morris side for two years.
Unfortunately the Cornwall Morris side did not provide the dark and “edgy” performance I was accustomed to. It was also decided by the officers that all dancers were to change their kit with vivid coloured shirts when I was accustomed to dancing in black attire.
My first Morris side in Kent were extremely well structured with precise dances accompanied by a dark energy. After having the experience of performing with an exceptional Morris team I could not settle for anything less. I have freedom of expression within my role as Teazer with the ‘Oss. The realization of this and other matters confirmed it was time for me to move away from Morris dancing.
When however one does leave a Morris side especially if the member is a good performer, there are unfortunate repercussions. Certain members from former Morris teams can group together and create vile false rumours in order to destroy one’s reputation:
“People think that a liar gains a victory over his victim. What I’ve learned is that a lie is an act of self-abdication, because one surrenders one’s reality to the person to whom one lies, making that person one’s master, condemning oneself from then on to faking the sort of reality that person’s view requires to be faked… The man who lies to the world, is the world’s slave from then on…There are no white lies, there is only the blackest of destruction, and a white lie is the blackest of all.”
-Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
Life moves on and I am now learning Appalachian Flat Foot dancing to maintain my energy levels. Here is a video of Sibs Riesin who teaches me the steps and gives good advice.
I dance at folk music sessions and anywhere else I choose as all I need is my dancing board and shoes. I participate in Cornish dancing too when the opportunity arises.
My main focus is my Teazer role and life connected to ‘Osses and Mari Lwyds. The Squire of Beltane Border Morris complimented me on my Teazer performance at the All Hallows Gathering 2016 which is indeed a compliment from one of the best Morris sides around.
Cassandra is no longer Teazer for Penkevyll after an impressive 20 years of Teazing so I have now taken over the role in 2017 and have an apprentice Teazer to train.
I also am the proud owner of Morvaugh the Sea ‘Oss and ride her at events when Penkevyll is not available. Read more about her here:
The fun continues….