The Flagcrackers of Craven in action
Flying the Flag
By Tim Dale
One Morris group that is thriving, despite suggestions that this traditional English pastime is dying out, is the Flagcrackers of Craven. We asked some younger members what makes it such good fun!
The Flagcrackers are a mixed group which might be the secret of their strength as it means that women also take part in the dance, making it a family-based activity. The group performs all over North Yorkshire and much further afield. Almost a quarter of the 37 members are children and teenagers.
India, aged 11:
"At Flagcrackers we dress up and people play music, which we dance to. We use sticks to clash together and make a noise, we shout for fun and sometimes to scare people! And also make sounds with the bells round our legs and with the heavy clogs that are on our feet. As well as dressing up we black our faces for a disguise.
India ready to dance
I like folk dancing because I get to meet new friends, new people and spend time with my 'Flagcracker family'. When we're dancing out I love to see people happy and entertained! As well as all of that I get to go to lots of new places around England. Being young and having lots of energy means that Flagcrackers is a fabulous way to use it and burn calories! What do I get out of it? Smiles, happiness and entertainment. That's why I like being in Flagcrackers."
Daniel, aged 14:
"I got into the Flagcrackers because our family went to a ceilidh and the Flagcrackers danced there in the interval. My Mum and Dad told me they danced with them before I was born. I expressed an interest and so we joined.
The Flagcrackers of Craven in action!
I like being in the team because it is fun when you do all the dance-outs in the summer; you get to go camping and when you are there it is always a good laugh. It is also good to go and practise on a Wednesday night because it is much better than sitting at home and watching the TV, and it is also good to go because everybody there is very nice. You always get to learn new dances and in new positions so it is not boring just doing the same dances over and over again."
Joanie, aged 13:
"I have been a member of Flagcrackers for at least three years now. I like it because you can meet new friends, it's such a good way to get some exercise and I enjoy going everywhere to dance-outs like the Worth Valley Railway and Whitby. It's fun and enjoyable and much better than just being bored!"
The group meets on Wednesday evenings at Farnhill Old Post Office and welcomes new members.
last updated: 06/05/2009 at 15:36