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'There's a big stereotype' - Meet the morris dancing civil servant

PUBLISHED: 12:00 16 September 2019 | UPDATED: 13:29 16 September 2019

Rachael Miller has been a morris dancer since she was a student at the UEA. Picture: Ruth Lawes

Rachael Miller has been a morris dancer since she was a student at the UEA. Picture: Ruth Lawes

Archant

When Rachael Miller was a student at the University of East Anglia in the nineties, something at a barn dance caught her eye.

Morris dancing is a traditional English fold dance and dates back to the Medieval times. Picture: Ruth LawesMorris dancing is a traditional English fold dance and dates back to the Medieval times. Picture: Ruth Lawes

There were a group of people, in unusual clothes, moving strangely to the music - and it looked like they were having the time of their lives.

Ms Miller, from South Norfolk, said: "I thought it looked like fantastic fun and from then on I was hooked."

Now aged 43, Ms Miller is a civil servant by day and a Morris dancer at night.

For over 20 years, Ms Millar has been donning traditional dress and practicing sequences for the Golden Star Morris Dance Club in Norwich, where she is the lead dancer, otherwise known as the squire.

She said: "It's just really good for you and is surprisingly energetic. There's a really good social side to it too and we all go to the pub afterwards.

"Morris dancing has been linked to enjoying a drink throughout history."

Morris dance is a traditional English folk dance which dates back to 1448 and focuses on group choreography to different songs.

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Dancers typically wear cropped trousers hemmed with bells and red socks, although Ms Miller says it doesn't attract derision.

She said: "There is a preconception that is attached with Morris dancing. There's a big stereotype of it being loads of old blokes but that doesn't fit in with us at all and it's soon disproved.

"It just looks like you're having fun."

At Golden Star, Ms Miller dances with 40 other people, both men and women, who range in age from 17 to 70.

They regularly perform at festivals across the UK, often dancing at two or three year.

But it's an event in Norwich that particularly sticks in Ms Miller's mind.

Of her most memorable performance, she said: "We dance on May Day at dawn on Mousehold Heath just as the sun comes up.

"It's surprising but we did get a small audience."

For more information on Golden Star click here

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