A COLOURFUL couple of days of dance and music is on the cards in Skipton in July when the town’s own The Flagcrackers of Craven celebrates its 30th anniversary with a special get-together.

The Skipton founded Border Morris side will be marking three decades of ‘cracking the flags’ with a weekend of dance at various venues in the town on Saturday, July 7 and Sunday, July 8.

And to make the celebrations truly special, a number of guest Morris sides, including one from Canada, will be coming along to dance, and to join in the fun.

Those lined up to come along include the all women Buttercross Belles from Otley; Pateley Longsword, the 400 Roses Tribal Belly dancers, the Ebor Morris Cotswold dancers from York, and the Twostep clog dancers from Newcastle. Also appearing will be clog dancing champion, Carrie Davis, and Canadian visitors, Sound and Fury.

The Flagcrackers say they aim to retain traditional morris dances, but also to develop new ones, with a generous dash of entertainment value for spectators.

And, they add, the lively shows they put on for their audiences throughout the summer months may look relaxed and spontaneous, but is actually thoroughly rehearsed.

It has a number of dances, of which within a single year, around a dozen are constantly practised, at weekly sessions held in Farnhill. Each of the dances include six to eight positions, all featuring different moves.

During the quieter winter months, dancers learn new moves and make perfect old ones, and take the opportunity to go over stepping and ‘sticking’ techniques. It is in the winter also that new dances are learned, and some developed completely from scratch at creative workshops.

At the 30th anniversary weekend, the sides are due to meet on both days at the Canal Basin, Skipton, at 10.30am on Saturday, and at 11am on Sunday. The Flagcrackers of Craven is a welcoming side; new or prospective members are welcome to join practice sessions held on Wednesdays at Farnhill Village institute between 8pm and 10pm.