The Buttercross Belles


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Come and join in the Maypole Dancing Wed 1 May 2019, 6 -7.30 pm

Posted by Janet Hindle on April 2, 2019 at 4:10 AM

The Buttercross Belles invite everyone to come and join us for our popular community May Day event at the Otley Maypole, at Cross Green, Leeds Rd, Otley.

There will be lots of opportunity for everyone, children and adults alike, to join in the dances with colourful ribbons to celebrate the 1st of May in the traditional way.

The Belles will also entertain with some demonstration dances.

We will be at the Maypole in the evening from 6 to 7.30 pm, do come and join us.

A special May Day at Otley Maypole as The Belles celebrate 25 years of dancing

Posted by Janet Hindle on May 17, 2017 at 4:15 AM

There was an excellent turnout for this year’s May Day celebration at Otley Maypole, and the sun came out too. Children, parents and the Town Mayor all enthusiastically joined in the dancing, making patterns around the Maypole with the colourful ribbons.

The dancing was introduced by the Otley Bellman and led Otley’s women’s Morris side, The Buttercross Belles. The Border Morris side, Wayzgoose, also joined in the dancing, and the afternoon ended with a May Day Mummers play performed by Otley Players.

Jaci Bowman, The Buttercross Belles Squire, said

‘The Belles would like to thank everyone who helped with this annual community event, especially The Town Council, Billy Butlin from Otley builders, Houldsworth, who put up the ribbons for us and Jamie Hudson from Futurist who kindly lent us a mobile microphone so everyone could hear the dance instructions.

This year’s May Day was particularly special for the Buttercross Belles as we are celebrating 25 years of dancing. On Friday evening current and ex-Belles dancers and musicians gathered at the Black Horse Hotel for a re-union. We had a very happy time sharing our dancing experiences, with former Belles travelling from as far away as Switzerland and France to join us’.


Belles on tour to Vilnius, May 2016

Posted by Janet Hindle on May 25, 2016 at 5:25 AM

The Buttercross Belles spent a very enjoyable three days dancing in Vilnius, in Lithuania this May. As well as dancing in some lovely places, with friendly and appreciative audiences, there was also time to explore the wonderful Old Town (a World Heritage Site), with its wonderful baroque churches, beautiful squares, steets and courtyards, and lovely wooded setting.

Thank you to the Vilnius Tourist Information Bureau and friends in Vilnius for their help in organising our visit.

Maypole dancing in the rain!

Posted by Janet Hindle on May 6, 2016 at 4:15 AM

The wet weather did not dampen the enthusiasm of the children and parents who turned out to join The Buttercross Belles, to celebrate May Day in the traditional way, dancing at the Otley Maypole. The Otley Bellman announced the event and the Mayor of Otley handed out sweets to all the children who took part.

Buttercross Belles member, Serena Hardman who led the dancing said:

‘It was a lovely occasion due to the willingness of the children, and their parents to get involved. Their smiling faces and enthusiastic skipping whilst making patterns with the colourful ribbons made the event a real success.

The Belles would like to thank everyone who helped with this annual community event, especially Billy Butlin from Otley builders, Houldsworth, who put up the ribbons for us and Jamie Hudson from Futurist who kindly lent us a mobile microphone so everyone could hear the dance instructions.’


New Year resolution - to get fitter? Dance with the Buttercross Belles

Posted by Janet Hindle on December 16, 2015 at 12:20 PM

Come along on Thursday 7th & 14th January 2016, 8-10 pm to give Morris dancing a try with The Buttercross Belles, when we will be practising stepping and learning a new dance.

Contact Clare King: [email protected]

Practices are held at: St Joseph’s School, Manor Square, Otley, Leeds, West Yorkshire LS21 3AP

Get fit, make new friends, Morris dance, come and give it a try!:)


Otley Street Fair / Tour de Yorkshre

Posted by Hannah on May 4, 2015 at 12:55 PM

Its been a busy weekend for the Buttercross Belles.

We had a fantastic Mayday with the local children from Otley, joining us at the Maypole.

..and then Sunday was spent at theOtley Street Fair / Tour de Yorkshre

Mayday 2014

Posted by Hannah on May 2, 2014 at 11:45 AM

The Buttercross Belles celebrated Mayday dancing traditional Maypole dances around the Maypole in Otley. A big thank you goes to Anita from Wayzgoose who kindly called the maypole dances, and to Flash Company who joined us for the evening. We had a good number of local school children and their parents and even Otley local MP, Greg Milholland came out to watch. 

A lovely start to summer.


Posted by Hannah on April 27, 2014 at 10:30 AM

So the new season is upon us, and from a winter of practices, and learning a new dance we are now ready!

 So far we have had a lovely dance out at fountains abbey, where our lovely new dancer, Jaci showed um how to do it and yesterday we enjoyed a trip to Harrogate and Knaresborough to dance at Betty Luptons Day of dance. It was a very enjoyable with Betty's, Flag and bone, and Hornbeam Molly.

 We have even had a morris wedding!

It has been a good start to the season, and with a trip to Lille in can only get better!

Open Session

Posted by Lucy on September 21, 2011 at 1:30 PM

On Thursday 29th September, we will be holding an open session for anyone to come along and have a go at traditional North West Morris Dancing.

Whether you are an experienced dancer or complete beginner, we would love to see everyone there.

We will meet at 7.30pm at St Joseph's School in Otley.

If you are a musician looking to join a group then you would also be very welcome to come along.

All you need are your dancing feet.

Prague Folklore Days 27th July - 31st July 2011

Posted by Lucy on September 19, 2011 at 8:55 AM


On 27th July 2011 we were invited to the ‘Folklore Days’ dance festival in Prague. We set off for a nice afternoon flight and arrived in Prague just in time for some well needed dinner and a sample of Czech beer.

 Julie-Belle and Lesley-Belle sampling the Czech beer.



Thursday 28th July 2011

The next day we decided that we would dance on ‘wenceslas square’ in the centre of Prague as we did not have any scheduled dancing to do on that day. We entertained crowds of tourists who all enjoyed the dancing and a lot were very interested in where we were from and the different equipment that we dance with.



In the afternoon, we were met by our guide for the festival, Mikela who took us on a tour of her beautiful city. We were shown lots of landmarks around Prague including the ‘Charles Bridge’ and ‘Prague Castle’.

Some Belles enjoying a boat ride on the river.


Friday 29th July 2011

Today was our first of the stage appearances; we arrived at the stage in Old Town Square where the Austrian team were already performing their set. Their outfits were very extravagant and detailed in their Edwardian style.

After the Austrians had finished their dancing it was our turn, we began with ‘Portland Hill’ and continued through our repertoire to fill our 1/2 hour slot. We danced for a large crowd and were very well received by everyone in the audience.



Saturday 30th July 2011

The second of our stage performances was at the bottom end of wenceslas square and was just as successful, despite the rain that we had to endure whilst waiting for the Czech Republic team to complete their set. Their dancing was quite similar to English rapper or sword dancing, they had long swords and danced holding each end of the sword in a circle. After this the team danced with their hats, swapping them and a dancer dropping out after each sequence so that there was just one dancer left by the end of the dance.

This dance spot also had a large crowd and we were very well appreciated by all.

Later in the afternoon, we were to dance on the main stage in ‘Old Town Square’. Each team were given a time slot to perform one dance, we stood for a while and watched the other teams before it was our turn. The very colourful teams were very good in their own styles from their countries.

When it came to our turn, we performed ‘Failsworth’, one of our more traditional North West style dances with very military like figures. This was taken very well by the audience and made you realise how many English tourists/onlookers were in the crowd and supporting us as their home team.

Unfortunately, due to the weather, the procession was cancelled so we did not have the experience of this.

In the evening, all the teams were gathered together for a mass meal. The meal was very tasty and the Czech beer was also very welcome after a long day of dancing!

After everyone had eaten, some of the teams decided to start performing traditional things from their countries. The Spanish men were chanting while the English Boarder team did a stick dance. Each team did a turn and it spontaneously became a mass of culture from all over the world. One of the Belles performed a solo dance called ‘Celebration’ which was taught by one dancer from Wakefield Morris in which each figure incorporates a different aspect of North West Morris. After this, another Belle sang ‘On Ilkley Moor Bar Tat’, a traditional Yorkshire chorus song which the other teams joined in to.

Later, the Spanish flamenco dancers got everyone up to dance with them and try out some flamenco dancing which was very enjoyable.


Sunday 31st July 2011

The last day of the trip, we were left to either have a well earned rest or have a last look round Prague at our leisure. Some of the Belles went on a tour of the all alleyways around Prague, this was very interesting as you followed the route of the guide book and it explained about all the little nooks and crannys in Prague.

Then it was time for one last trip to the fantastic cake shop where we bumped into some more Belles who has also gone for a last taste of the cakes before it was time for home.