Dancing friendship displayed and enjoyed on Southwold green

Kemps Morris dancers along with German folk dancers from Winningen perform in Southwold.PHOTO: Nick

Kemps Morris dancers along with German folk dancers from Winningen perform in Southwold.PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

The jingling of bells could be heard on the green of a popular coastal town as members of a traditional folk dance troupe celebrated its 60th birthday with a special celebration.

Kemps Morris dancers along with German folk dancers from Winningen perform in Southwold.PHOTO: Nick

Kemps Morris dancers along with German folk dancers from Winningen perform in Southwold.PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Morris dancers Kemp's Men, of Norwich, marked this milestone through a weekend of fun and music in the company of visiting dancers The Spätlese dance and folklore group- from the German village of Winningen.

The weekend of celebration saw the two troupes perform at Cromer, the Bishop's Garden in Norwich and Walberswick before culminating with an idyllic performance at the sunbathed South Green, Southwold on Monday afternoon.

Peter Mayne, treasurer of Kemp's Men, said: 'It has been an absolutely fantastic weekend and it is always good to welcome the dancers of Winningen to England, especially on this wonderful summer's day.

'We just really, really enjoy dancing and get so much fun out of it and enjoy keeping alive a tradition which has existed since at least the 14th century.'

Kemps Morris dancers along with German folk dancers from Winningen perform in Southwold.PHOTO: Nick

Kemps Morris dancers along with German folk dancers from Winningen perform in Southwold.PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher


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Kemp's Men take their name from the tale of Shakespeare's fool, William Kemp, who danced from London to Norwich in 1600 as a publicity stunt – drinking and dancing on his way.

The long-term friendship between the two groups was enabled by the Koblenz Twinning Association and the personal encouragement of Waltraud Jarrold, who hails from Winningen.

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Mrs Jarrold, who as a young girl danced the traditional dances, explained that the dances and songs celebrate the town of Winningen, which is know as a 'wine paradise' and many of the dancers are involved in the wine making industry.

Dressed in traditional embroidered clothing and accompanied by violin and accordion music, both groups treated the small gathering of spectators to their dances.

Frank Hoffbauer, leader of The Spätlese dance group, added: 'We have enjoyed ourselves so much and we hope our audiences have done also.'

The two groups also performed in Norwich and Cromer on Monday as part of the celebrations.

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