Esperance Morris Book vol 1 - online book

A Manual Of Morris Dances Folk-songs And Singing Games With Sheet Music And Instructions

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The Lady Betty Balfour writes :
Your little teacher, * * * had a splendid class last night, and made a capital beginning. I thought her a first-rate teacher—so quiet and dignified, and yet with such wonderful vitality and life. One of our schoolmasters writes to me about her to-day : ' ' What a splendid teacher ' every­one says. It is a treat for teachers to meet with one so thoroughly imbued with the teaching gift. I hope the class will do her credit."
\V. Lloyd Edwards, Esq., D.P.H., School Medical Officer, Barry, ivritcs :
Morris Dances.—In our public elementary schools of Barry the requirements of the Board of Education as to dancing steps as an addition to the purely educational physical drill has been met by the old English country dances, and more recently by the introduction of morris dancing. This in many ways is peculiarly adapted to our schools. In the first place the children are very fond of it and enjoy it thoroughly. The movements are simple and arc easily learnt, whilst the vigour required gives it a really healthful character. From the recreative point of view it is most useful, as anyone seeing a group of children doing the morris dances would readily agree. The only danger is that enthusiasts may claim too much for it. Morris dancing can never replace a physical training system, such as Ling's, designed to exercise all the muscles of the body. Nor can it entirely replace those stately dances which give grace of carriage to the children, but for all that morris dancing ought to be encouraged from its physical exercise as well as from its historic point of view.
H. Lockwood, Esq., writes :—
I gladly comply with your request to write you something about morris dancing in Poor Law schools. It will always be a pleasant recollection to me, that, having seen " a morris " danced by some of your girls at the Esperance Club. I was so taken with it that I forthwith set to work to get it introduced into the Poor Law schools of the Metropolitan district, of which I was then General Inspector. Once introduced, its success has in every instance been assured. Not the least of its recmmendations is that the girls regard it as play, rather than drill, or lessons, and whereas clubs and dumbbells are hung in their places and racks at the end of a drill and forgotten till the next, with the morris, groups of girls may be seen any time in their dayroom or playground practising, with criticisms and explanations, the steps and figures, and so it is with the younger girls and the song dances. Please under­stand that in instancing this there is implied no disparagement of either club or dumbbell exercise, both excellent in their way, I merely wish to emphasise that there seems to be some­thing which specially appeals to young hearts and bodies in these charming old tunes and " measures." I can't resist the temptation to conclude with a personal note. One result of bringing the Esperance Club and P.L. schools together was a series of letters to you from your pioneer instructress, * * * which you were good enough to show me ; these written with no thought that they would be seen by any­one but yourself, are simply and yet cleverly descriptive of all she saw, and one after another they testify convincingly to the happy, well-cared-for lives of the children in every school she visited ; this testimony, based on the observations of an exceptionally intelligent and wholly unbiassed young teacher, coming from the inside, is worth, in my opinion, a sackful of Inspcctional Reports, not excepting my own ! and it has been a real pleasure to me that the letters conclusively confirm my own settled conviction on the subject with which they deal.
One of Hl.M. Inspectors ivrites :
This afternoon I have seen a disciple of yours—Miss Johnson of Sompting School—whose school children did some of the morris dances very creditably. Even during the interval in the playground I noticed the children dancing by themselves ; it is clear that these Sussex children respond to the influence as much as London folk.
Miss Bellows, Gloucester, writes :
Those of us who have been learning the morris dancing from * * * to teach to others, so thoroughly enjoyed both the dances and the way in which they were taught that I feel it is only due to you to write and tell you so. I know Miss Lemon has written, but my writing is from the point of view of one of the learners. I am sure we could not have had a better teacher, nor one who could better have shown us the spirit of morris dancing as it is intended to be. We owe you a debt of gratitude for sending one who has charmed all who have seen her. A friend of mine who came to the Club one night while * * * was here, said she just reminded her of Botticelli's "Spring." And spring is just what I think everyone must think of in watching her.
Mrs. Arnold Glover writes :
A long time ago I was present at a little Christmas enter­tainment at your Club, and have since been a very interested looker on from the outside. Fortune has been kind in giving me many happy Club experiences and girl friends. May I enclose my little gift of one guinea with my love for your delightful experiment which I have watched develop all round the town and the country-side.
Miss La Trobe Bateman writes ;—
We were quite sorry to part with * » * yesterday. She worked so hard, and taught capitally. Her classes were much enjoyed by all who took part, and I think they all got on well. She was very good with the boys, especially (as I know how naughty those boys can be!), and they were far too interested in their morris dance lessons not to take them seriously and get on well.
Mrs. Warren writes :
I hear on all sides the warmest appreciation of the per­formance. Everyone was delighted with it, and they all admired the simplicity and unselfconsciousness of the girls. I met the Professor of Literature, Mr. Walter Raleigh, last night, and he was most enthusiastic. I long to see and hear those girls and children again. I lost my heart to them all. Thank you for the immense pleasure you gave us all.
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