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"Many things merry - nothing hurtful..."

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Kemp's Men dance "Cotswold Morris" taking the dance steps and many of the tunes from the village sides that are still found in the Cotswolds today.  Norwich, of course, is not in the Cotswolds - but we do have our own tradition of Norwich-upon-Wensum and dance it proudly alongside the rest. Our musicians include a number of "honorary" men, i.e. women, and we have a range of expertise and instruments to call upon. Some of the dancers also play instruments themselves so the pre and après dance music session is a part of Kemp's culture.

The club members are all from the Norwich area and come from all walks of life. The Men vary in age from youngsters in their teens up to active dancers well into their eighties. Some dancers started with Kemp's Men and others joined when they moved to the Norwich area. Inevitably many Men have also moved away from Norwich to other parts of the World so we have a wide network of friends in the diaspora. ​

Occasionally Kemp's Men are also accompanied by one of our dragons, either Eric or Snap, who are favourites with the crowds. Snap, in particular, is very fond of nuns and policewomen! As may be expected, the club colours are very similar to those of a famous local football team.  Despite Eric and Snap, Kemp's Men remain a popular attraction and are regularly asked to dance at special events, particularly around the May Day period.

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Being a physically strenuous activity, Morris dancing requires the Men to be well hydrated and, in recent years, we are pleased to have been sponsored by two local breweries.  Firstly, from 2005, Kemp's Men were sponsored by Buffy's Brewery and now, from 2011, by Beeston Brewery.

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You'll soon realise we're all Norwich City Football Club followers by the colours we use!

 

From the photo of Roland and Pip executing a particularly risky (for the breeches) manoeuvre during Queen's Delight, you'll see we wear the following:

  • No hat

  • White shirt (long sleeves, open necked, no kerchief)

  • Green/yellow baldricks

  • Left and right sides - Kemp's badges, colour embossed on leather, with red and yellow ribbon flash.

  • At the back... Kemp's badge, colour embossed on leather, on red rosette  

  • On the chest...Kemp's cast brass badge on a red leather rosette

  • Green breeches with brown leather belt with tankard attachment point

  • Yellow long socks 

  • Yellow leather bellpads with bells and green and red ribbon

  • Black shoes

  • White hanks with Kemp's logo sewn into the cloth

  • Long and short sticks

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No description of Kemp's Men would be complete without mention of our annual Whit Tour; a long weekend of music, dancing and general mayhem at some lovely part of the country away from Norfolk.  Over the years we've been to most counties within a four-hour drive and we try not to upset any local Morris sides (although I think Leeds got the hump with us years ago for some reason) or bring the Morris into disrepute.

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Our Wednesday dance season traditionally starts on Mayday, when we greet the dawn with other local Morris sides on top of Mousehold Heath (after which we head to a nearby pub for breakfast and the first beer of the day).  The Morris year usually involves at least one weekend with our friends in other sides somewhere else in the country or abroad; we have strong links with Winningen (Germany), Helmond (Netherlands), Utrecht (Netherlands) and Hinderloopen (Netherlands). Our link with the wonderful Knots of May from East Sussex goes way, way back and we continue to meet up for a long weekend in Suffolk each August.

 

The weekly dancing season finishes in September and we practise throughout the winter (usually starting in October).  However, we extend our season by dancing out and mumming in December and January.

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We are a friendly and welcoming side, enjoy a laugh and a drink and we are, of course, always looking for new members of any age and level of experience.  If you fancy a go then please grab any one of us when we're out and about or drop us a line through the contact form below.

Get in touch with Kemp's

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