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Court Dancers

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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In the 1916 Deerfield, Massachusetts Pageant, the organizers wanted to represent the frivolity prevalent in the high society of England when the "Pilgrim forefathers" left England. An elaborate dress "revel" was created, set at the Pleasure Grounds at Shoreditch on the outskirts of London, where Richard Burbage's playhouse, "The Theater," was located. During this, dancers from a number of groups - "jesters, tumblers, shepherds, Morris dancers, rustic players, grand ladies," in the words of the pageant program - met and danced. This photograph was taken of two of them: to the left is a lady Morris dancer, and to the right, a jester. During these revels, two Puritans come to watch and comment, and soon after they are shown leading their group to Holland. These Puritans were known as Separatists. They chose to leave England to insulate their followers from what they saw as the taint of modern civilization in 1609. By 1620, frustrated mainly by the embrace of their children of secular Dutch culture, they had decided to emigrate to Virginia aboard the ships Mayflower and Speedwell. (Of course, they never arrived in Virginia, having been blown off-course to New England.)


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