The 2016 Croydon Night of Dance will not be a minor Morris affair, as the organisers expect up to 150 dancers from 16 groups to take part in one of the biggest gatherings of the ancient English folk dancers assembled in the country.
The Night of Dance is an annual celebration of the feast day of St Arnold, the patron saint of beer*, and this year takes place on August 16. It is promising five hours’ worth of performances from the biggest assembly of Morris dancers you’ll ever likely to witness, all dancing into the evening outside three pubs in East Croydon and Addiscombe.
Now in it’s 12th year, the Croydon Night of Dance offers a unique opportunity to see displays of Morris Dancing from the Cotswold, Bedlam, Border and Clog traditions, to name just four. Not only that, you can get involved with workshop dances and even a Maypole.
The night’s festivities are due to begin at 7pm at both the Builders Arms, Leslie Park Road, and The Oval Tavern, on Oval Road – the organisers are using two sites this year due to the number of sides attending. There will be performances there until around 9.30pm.
Separate processions will then start from each of the two pubs, timed to merge at the junction of Oval Road and Leslie Park Road, which should see the participating Morris dancers all in a row.
The dancers will be making their way to the third pub, the Glamorgan, on Cherry Orchard Road, where there will be dancing till closing time.
There will be some charity fund-raising on the night, for the NSPCC and a cancer charity.
All three pubs are within easy reach of East Croydon Station, Lebanon Road and East Croydon tram stops and buses 197, 289, 312, 367 and 410.
And St Arnold?
Arnold of Soissons was an 11th Century French bishop who was a bit of a recluse, and when he retreated from public life began brewing ale. He is formerly recognised by the Roman Catholic church as the patron saint of hop-pickers and (in Belgium) brewers. He is the only medieval religious figure ever to be depicted in art work with a bishop’s crozier and a brewer’s mash rake.
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