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Morris Dancing at the UN (updated)

Happy May Day! In the spirit of this international day of morris dancing, here’s a photo from the archives showing morris dancing  at the UN:

This photo was taken in 1947 at the United Nations Fiesta at Rockefeller Plaza, NYC by Genny Shimer. My colleague Pat MacPherson shared this photo with me. While Pat might know more of the individuals pictures, I’m sorry to say at the moment I don’t. (If you know or think you know, drop a comment below!)

I can tell you that at the front right is Bob Hider, whose papers inspired two recent posts from Pat. The photographer, Genny Shimer, was a former CDSS director, teacher, and scholar. You can read more about her here and here (pdf). She authored, among other things, the modern Playford Ball (with Kate Van Winkle Keller) and our Genevieve Shimer Publications Fund is named in her honor.

You can also see Genny in this charmingly grainy video (featuring Tony Barrand) which I recently came across of a jig competition at Pinewoods in 1982:

(Parts two, three, and four also available.)

Traveling another thirty or so years forward, I never tire of watching Maple Morris: The Movie. If you need some morris inspiration and energizing, you can’t do better.

Well… I didn’t intend this post to be a mini-retrospective of morris over the last 50 years, but it’s happened anyway. Time to get outside and step sprightly. Enjoy your May Day!

– Max

UPDATE: Caller/scholar David Millstone, who scanned the original UN photo, provides the following elucidating information:

Left side, back to front: Jack Langstaff, William Partington, Russell Loughton

Right side, back to front: Jack Shimer, Bob Guillard, Bob Hider

Jack Langstaff is, of course, co-founder of Revels, along with his daughter, Carol, and he also led some weeks at Pinewoods for CDSS back in the day. I don’t know that we can say for certain that Genny took the photo, although it did come from the photo album that belonged to her and her husband, Jack Shimer. After Genny died, Jack Shimer married Joan Carr, who was for a time the CDSS Assistant Director. As Joan Carr, she was the recipient of Pat Shaw’s dance, “Quite Carr-ied Away, or Joan Transported”. And after Jack died and Joan was preparing to move, she asked that the album be passed along to CDSS. 

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