The Sue Dyke Award 2018

The Judges

Melanie Barber

Melanie is currently the President of The Morris Federation, and is Dance Team Director for Whitby Folk Week. She has danced for as long as she can remember, starting with social dancing as soon as she could walk, and progressing onto Step Clog, North West Morris and Rapper.

Melanie has performed and taught Step Clog for over 35 years, having been taught by Sam Sherry and Pat Tracey, and collecting from Bill Gibbons and Bert Bowden, and currently dances with Strictly Clog and Three’s a Crowd. She has danced with Rivington Morris for over 30 years and was a founder member of Silkstone Greens North West Morris, who celebrated their 10th anniversary in 2017.

Having missed dancing Rapper with Sharpe Sword and Boojum, she recently joined Whip the Cat. She was one of the resident judges at the Lancashire & Cheshire Clog Dance Competitions until taking over as organiser in 2015, and has also judged Rapper, Longsword, and most recently Performance at the 2017 John Gasson Jig Competition. She has a keen eye for detail, and is always looking at ways to improve quality and performance.

Mel Biggs

Mel Biggs is a musician, melodeon teacher and Morris musician based in South Derbyshire. She started playing and dancing for Foxs Border Morris (Kidderminster) at the age of 10. Being part of their wide social circle introduced her to many other sides, the folk scene, sessions and festivals around the country.

When she moved to Cardiff in 2006 to study at University, she joined Widders Border Morris (Chepstow) and picked up the side’s spare melodeon (and would later spend her student loan on buying it!). She also danced Cotswold for a short time with Bedcote Morris (Stourbridge) whilst taking up the role of Acting Secretary for the Open Morris on a temporary basis in 2012.

She is a founder member of Harlequin Morris – a mixed Cotswold side based all over the UK, played for Ouse Washes Molly from Norfolk and she is in the throes of starting a new Border Morris side – Wilkes’ Gob – telling the stories of her local industrial history in and around South Derbyshire.

Since 2014, she has been building her freelance music and melodeon teaching business. She has worked on some incredible cross-cultural dance fusion projects, taught abroad, performed at some top UK festivals and recorded two albums with her trio Moirai with Jo Freya and Sarah Matthews.

She has been working on her ‘Pick Up & Play with Mel Biggs’ online melodeon course which was launched in April 2018.. Find out more about Mel and her work at www.melbiggsmusic.co.uk.

Charlotte Dover

Charlotte started dancing at the age of 6 with the Earl of Stamford Children’s Morris in 1999, and went on to dance with the full side when she was old enough. When she moved south for university in 2010 she joined Windsor Morris and has been dancing with them ever since. She is also a founder member of Fool’s Gambit Morris, a young team with members from around the country, and has served as Bagman and Squire of the side. In 2016 Charlotte decided to branch out from Cotswold and joined North West team Customs & Exiles, based in Wokingham.

Charlotte has recently taken on the joint role of Dance Display Coordinator for Sidmouth Folk Week and has been hard at work with her co-coordinator inviting teams and organising the programme.

As well as loving to dance, Charlotte is also a keen photographer and is rarely seen at Morris events without her camera. She particularly enjoys photographing dancing, getting the timing just right and capturing great morris moments. She is looking forward to seeing all the entries and hopes the first year of the Sue Duke Award goes well!

Natalie Reid

Natalie Rae Reid is a multidisciplinary artist, illustrator and writer, based in Newcastle upon Tyne. In 2007, she graduated from Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen with a Printmaking degree and is currently studying on the Master of Fine Art programme at Northumbria University.

With training in tap, ballet and modern dance, Natalie was drawn to the otherworldliness of traditional dancing in the summer of 2007, upon meeting Gaorsach Rapper and Step in Aberdeen. Her time performing with Gaorsach fuelled her enthusiasm for Scottish step dance, clog and rapper sword dancing. She also performed for a short time, with Mons Meg Rapper, based in Edinburgh, before relocating to the north east of England. Natalie dances regularly with Star and Shadow Rapper, The Newcastle Kingsmen and Four Corner Rapper. She also teaches clog classes as part of the Folkworks programme at Sage Gateshead, as well as with a community group in the village of Etal in Northumberland. Natalie has taught at the Lancashire Wallopers Weekend of Dance and this summer is looking forward to teaching clog workshops at the imfamous Whitby Folk Week. www.natalieraereid.co.uk

Ed Worrall

Ed started dancing in 1996 with a Cotswold side, Green Oak, in his home town of Doncaster, joining Saddleworth Morris Men when he moved to the area with work in 2000. Since then he has been a dancer and musician with the side, who perform their own self written Northwest dances, as well as Longsword. He has also in his time, been a clog stepper, sometime rapper dancer and even done some Border!

He has acted as Treasurer, Bagman for Saddleworth’s Rushcart weekend and Squire of his side. He has also served 3 years as Treasurer of the Morris Ring and is the current Ring Squire. In 2017 he acted as chair of the JMO committee.

Morris has been a large part of his social life for all of that time and he has seen whole traditions such as Border and Rapper explode into huge popularity since he started to dance. Morris is a diverse community and all the stronger for that. As traditions have been passed to us, it is important they are passed on again for future generations to shape.