Friday, 6 May 2011

Event - A Year in the Life of Rattlejag Morris (Newark)

Exhibition at Stage 2 Gallery, Millgate Museum, Newark – from 30th April to 19th June 2011

Rattlejag Morris is a local English morris dance team, founded in 2002 and based in Retford, but with members from across the region. 
The side itself is unique, as its dances and music recreate the spirit of the plough jags (or farm workers) of Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire.  The dances are based on historical information researched through these counties by members of the team.  The repertoire includes rattle, stick, sword, broom, bacca pipe and clog dances, accompanied by live music, mostly from Lincolnshire collections, played on fiddle, melodeon, concertina, mandolin, whistle, Lincolnshire bagpipes and sometimes a hurdy gurdy. 
There is not another morris side like Rattlejag – and they dance for enjoyment too!

The exhibition can be viewed on several levels:
·         The story of Rattlejag’s activities and background:
Browse the photographs, texts and artefacts– enjoy a narrative that is closely identified with this region.
·         Historical and social background :
Brief historical quotes from the side’s own research are scattered about the gallery.  There are also more detailed texts on the team’s and other research for more serious students
·         Morris dance as a dynamic dance genre:
Find out how Rattlejag created its unique morris dances. 
And this story is not just about the side itself, but about its place in the wider local and national English traditional dance culture in the 21st century.  You might be surprised about how varied, inventive and alive that is!
·         Music and instruments-  that accompany Rattlejag dances – the music is always live, not recorded - included is historical information on why this music and these instruments.
This exhibition is the result of a “living history” project, where the side recorded all their activities through photos, video and material sources over the year September 2009 to September 2010, representing a typical organisational year for a 21st century morris dance side.  This material is being organised into a “community box” to be archived in Bassetlaw Museum as a resource for the future.  This is the only project known of its kind.  A grant from Nottinghamshire CC Arts helped the side with this work.

Come and glance around or spend a little more time.  Or come and meet Rattlejag Morris and guest teams at Millgate Museum, Newark, with a live performance on Saturday 4th June at c. 1.00pm – and you may get a chance to join in too.

For further information, please visit our website

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