American Morris Newsletter  

American Morris Newsletter

Volume 25, Number 4
December, 2005

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 AMN Article  

The History of Bells of the North

Lynn Dennis

In Performance, 2004

The Bells of the North are a women's team in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota. Founded in 1979 by Laurie Levin and Jim Brickwedde, the team was, for many years, known as "the team that changed its kit." Starting off with white skirts with muslin shirts and reversible maroon and navy vests, we very quickly changed to green skirts with calico vests, followed by green knee britches with calico vests. In 1987 or '88, we mostly ended the "kit wars" when we adopted white knee britches with red and white vests and rosettes on armbands and bellpads. Despite occasional rumblings, we've kept the same general appearance ever since then, though we did change last year to long pants and white shoes.

One Of Our Old Kits, Midwest Morris Ale, 1982

The Bells have danced a variety of traditions over the years, currently focusing on Minneapolis on Mississippi (written for us by Jim Brickwedde) and Fieldtown. Since we started as the second Morris side in the Twin Cities, we've seen the Morris community here grow to nearly 100 folks of all ages. Besides the usual May Day celebrations, weddings, town festivals, pub stops, and Morris Ales, we celebrated the arrival of Minneapolis in the 20th Century (only a century late) with a gala tour of the new Light Rail system this past summer. We also enjoyed a successful tour of England in 1993 with many good times and gracious hosts.

Like many other teams, we've struggled a bit as many of our dancers balance work and family along with the challenge of aging knees. Luckily, we've been blessed in recent years with some folks with younger knees and fresh enthusiasm to keep things interesting. We practice Wednesday evenings at Tapestry Folkdance Center in Minneapolis and welcome Morris visitors.

-- Lynn Dennis, Squire

 AMN, Vol. 25, No. 4, December 2005  ISSN: 1074-2689