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History

Belle d’Vain is a women’s dance side based in the Vale of Evesham, Worcestershire. The side was conceived during the annual beer festival at the National Trust’s famous Fleece Inn, which is in the village of Bretforton, by the wives and daughters of Pebworth Morris men.

In order to get started a visit to Kenilworth was necessary where the women of ‘Chinewrde’ taught three prospective ‘Belles’ the very basic ‘Black Rod Street Dance’. Consequently Judy Watkins, Chris Long and Heather Fowles formed Belle D'Vain which now has approximately 18 dancers and a growing number of musicians.

Practice started in the barn at The Fleece Inn.

We consulted our local Evesham poet about a name. He suggested the name of an old plum, Belle de Louvain, grown in the Vale of Evesham and our name of Belle D'Vain is a corruption of this local fruit.

We first danced out at The Fleece Inn, Bretforton on Easter Sunday 1990.

Our first dances were ‘Black Rod Street Dance’ and ‘Millbrook’.

That summer, with only three dances and nine dancers, we went on an exchange visit to Evesham’s twin town Melsungen in Germany.

We have also danced in Dreux Franceas guests of Evesham’s French twin town.

Easter 2015 saw a new kit to coincide with our 25th Anniversary - a purple skirt with gold panels and a waistcoat style bodice of purple with a British racing green satin back to match the cummerbands.

We dance North West Morris dances, wearing clogs as worn by the mill workers in the mills of Lancashire Yorkshire and Cheshire. Many of our dances are named after locations in these areas: Alderley Edge, Goostrey, New Mills, Colne, Millbrook.

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