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The May Revels 2003

“MayRevels”. What image does that conjure up? A lovely English village of timber framed cottages around a village green on which is a fine maypole. Dancing, feasting and jollification, Good Queen Bess and “days of yore”. Well, for the Herts Early Dance first revels we did have a maypole, dancing, music, feasting and all of us were Elizabethans 16th century style!

The venue was a spacious ancient barn in St Albans, with a lovely timber roof and beautifully decorated by members of the group. A workshop was held in the afternoon during which we could perfect our steps and the patterns of the dances to be performed during the evening. This was most ably led by Anne Daye who also acted as M.C. in the evening. After the workshop, there was frantic activity in the changing area, pleas to be laced up, reassurances that hats, ruffs, cloaks etc. were all in place until, finally, the emergence of a host of splendidly attired Elizabethans.

But, before the dance, the Feast. And what a feast! The cooks of the group had excelled themselves with carefully researched 16th century delicacies. There was a plethora of delectables and, in spite of all of us stuffing ourselves to capacity, there was a lot of “left-overs”.

Then the Dance, and the choosing of the May Queen. The musicians were magnificent, tune after wonderful tune came trilling down from the dais. We were entertained with song and dance, and we all danced ourselves to a standstill. At 11pm we, like Cinderella, left the ball, transformed back into 21st Century Elizabethans. What wonderful revels! Thanks to Jan and all her helpers.

B.B.