Fleetwood Royalettes morris dancers meeting up again
The Fleetwood Royalettes are celebrating their 35th anniversary this year, but it follows a tough time for the morris dancing troupe.
As a result of the unprecedented Covid-19 lockdowns, the Royalettes have lost a number of dancers.
Unable to meet up, the troupe saw numbers fall and the inactivity proved a frustrating time all round.
But now the dancers are able to meet up again and dance training sessions are taking place at Fleetwood Methodist Church, Fleetwood Road, on Thursday evenings, with Covid conditions in place.
The Royalettes were formed by Carol Brooks back in 1986 and have an illustrious history.
These days the principals are Sammy Williams and Shirley Farrington.
Sammy said: “It’s great to be able to meet up again.
“Covid has been a huge strain on our dance troupe. We only trained for the first two months of 2020 and then had to stop until a few weeks in summer when we were allowed to practice outside.
“Then there was yet another lockdown and that went on for months.
“We lost so many girls in the past year and have just started to get them back again.
“It’s a bit of a milestone for us - 35 years - and we’ve been helped so much by the mums and dads and trainers working online during lockdown.”
The Royalettes have been affiliated to the Joining Together Morris Dancing Association (JTMDA) for the past five years and during that time they have taken part in a string of competitions.
However, with an element of uncertainty still around regarding Covid-19, the troupe are not yet sure if they will be taking part in the competitions later this year - but training will continue.
Morris dancing remains a popular pastime for girls in Fleetwood -the town also has another troupe, the more recently formed Highbury Morris Dancers.
Both troupes have strong support and were doing well with numbers until Covid struck.
Sammy says the popularity lies in the challenge of learning new routines, in the camaraderie of the troupe, the colourful attire.
The Royalettes are still ready to welcomes new members, with the troup divided into Babies (up to age seven); Dinkies (up 10); Tinies (up to 13);Juniors (up to 16) and Seniors (unlimited).
Sessions take place from 6pm to 9pm each week.