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All about Molly Dancing

Molly dancing originated in East Anglia, probably some time in the 18th century. Unlike other forms of Morris dancing there is limited documentation of its early history but many of its features suggest adaptation of and development from social dances of the time.

Plough Monday, the first Monday after January 6th is the most significant date in the molly calendar, being  the day agricultural work is resumed after the winter break. On the Sunday before this the plough is sometimes taken to church for a blessing to ensure productivity in the following season’s work. Like Christmas, this may well be a Christian attempt to ‘civilise’ a pagan festival.

Certainly there seems to have been an unruly element to the proceedings: Dancers would drag a plough to the local landowner's house and dance outside while demanding money. They would threaten to plough up his garden if none was forthcoming.The soot blackened faces of the dancers was an attempt to avoid recognition by their employers and even the Molly, a man dressed as a woman may have its origin in disguise.

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Open Evenings


Once a year we hold an open evening which all members of the public are welcome to attend. This gives newcomers an opportunity to hear about Molly dancing, watch some dance demonstrations, try a Molly dance and eat some cakes. There is no obligation to join us - but maybe you will.










Most Wednesday's 8pm - 10pm Throughout the year

Our Address:

Hornbeam Molly

Scriven Scout HQ

9 Castle Yard





The Scout HQ is on the top floor of the Danceworx Studio, (formerly the Knaresborough and Harrogate Dance Centre) which is the large building in the middle of the Castle Yard car park; opposite the police station.

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