By contributing sports writer Jan Davidson
Brasstown Morris Dancers greeted the Olympic Torch in Kenilworth, England, and brought home the “Gold” of West Yorkshire Morris Dancing. Except it’s not gold and they didn’t bring it home. The Wickham Cup, actually a silver plated mug, remains in its place of honor in England, but newly inscribed with the name Dame’s Rocket.
Morris Dancing, familiar to local residents through the Brasstown dancers’ appearances at Murphy and Hayesville street events, Brasstown dances, and the John C. Campbell Folk School’s Fall Festival, has roots in Northern England.
Dame’s Rocket Clog Morris of Brasstown, NC, USA, became the first international champion in the ten year history of the Wickham Cup. An experienced field of UK Dance teams, including Wayzgoose, the defending cupholder, offered stiff competition as did Sticks in the Mud, the Brasstown team considered by many judges to have come in a close second in the voting. The annual dance-off took place July 8, 2012 at the Wickham Arms in the village of Cleckheaton, where it is considered the highest Morris Dance honor in West Yorkshire. Dame’s Rockets’ dancers for the event were Donna Forsyth, Gale Oliphant, Lynda Metcalfe, Virginia Mattox, Keather Weideman, Celia Larson, Martha Owen, Carla Owen and Nanette Davidson.
The award winning performance by the Rockets was international. The dance was “Whitby Shindig,” named for a Yorkshire village, to the tune “It Don’t Matter Anymore” written by Canadian Paul Anka popularized by Buddy Holly and Linda Ronstadt, and played by Bob Dalsemer, Carl Dreher, Chad Johnson, David Liden, and Jan Davidson.
The Brasstown contingent was asked to dance at the celebration of the Olympic Torch as it was carried through the historic castle town of Kenilworth. Sticks in the Mud dancers greeting the torch were Robert Forsyth, Renee Lamance, Harry Hearne, Julie Fischer, Nick Kelischek, Amy Nicholson, and Brian Gatti.
– Jan Davidson, among other things, is the official writer for the John C. Campbell Sports Center. When he’s not writing about the vast amount of sporting matches on the grounds, he prefers to provide running commentary for the Maypole Olympics and is the head judge for the Gobble Gobble Turkey Scramble.