Melanie is currently the 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 40 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, and having missed dancing Rapper with Sharpe Sword and Boojum, she joined Whip the Cat in 2017, and was in their winning Veterans team at DERT in 2018. 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 Cotswold. She has a keen eye for detail, and is always looking at ways to improve quality and performance.
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 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 and has played for Ouse Washes Molly from Norfolk.
Mel established her music education business in 2009, and has worked hard to build her widely recognised online melodeon tuition brand through online video courses and private teaching. As a performer, she has worked on some incredible cross-cultural dance fusion projects, taught abroad, performed at some top UK festivals and recorded three albums with her trio Moirai with Jo Freya and Sarah Matthews.
Throughout lockdown, Mel has recorded her debut album which will be launching at the end of May 2021. Find out more about Mel and her work at www.melbiggsmusic.co.uk.
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 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 was the Ring Squire 2016-2018. In 2017 he acted as chair of the JMO committee. He is a member of the Morris Ring Advisory Council.
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.