The Proxy Parents of English Folk Dance (OK, I know it needs updating!!).
Skeleton draft text July 2018.
Throughout history dance of all types has been controversial. Some people love it, others and especially religious zealots of various descriptions, find it either amoral or immoral. Throughout history also, simple jealousy has played a large role in the behaviour of religious and other despots.
The situation in Ireland a few generations ago has been well documented by Helen Brennan - and parts of her excellent book are reproduced here.(add link). Key points include the despotic attitude of various priests (who in those days wielded enormous power in what still is still to some extent a conservative and catholic country) and the thuggish behaviour of local police forces who willingly beat up villagers simply because they were holding an 'illegal' dance - one that the priests disapproved of or that was not being held in a 'licensed' hall.
The behaviour of these despots of what is largely a bygone era was extreme - yet it continues even today in the behaviour of a small and self important group of people in the UK who I have termed 'the proxy parents'. These are people (usually men) who cannot abide seeing other men dancing in a style and with an enthusiasm that they themselves are incapable of replicating. I have taken the label 'proxy parent' from a splendidly argued essay by the iconoclastic American feminist Camille Paglia. Again, parts are reproduced on this website.
Thuggish and extreme behaviour occurs of course in many primitive societies in the contemporary era, and often having a religious subtext. Stripped of all the religious nonsense, much of the brutality is little more than a desire to continue male dominance over women - either telling women what they can or cannot do, or how they can or cannot behave or dress. It is most frequently documented in countries such as Pakistan, India or the Arab states (add links) where old customs and religious doctrines remain entrenched and where often very young women or girls have to endure extremes of degradation - and are expected not to complain. In the UK, the behaviour of the proxy parents has its roots not so much in primitive Christian religion (although this plays a part) but more in a the 'control freak' mentality that is symptomatic of an inadequate personality. In general, the proxy parents realise they may need to be restrained by English law. Nevertheless, many of the threats made by and on behalf of the proxy parents are illegal and mirror to some extent the behaviour of religious 'leaders' or zealots who would impose 'Shari law' upon women who are full UK citizens.
List of the Proxy Parents
add list and photos, videos etc of all proxy parents. Crook, Knight, James, Green etc examples of behaviour.
Behaviour of proxy parents at Eastbourne Folk Dance Festival are further discussed here (Editor: amalgamate material?)
Let the women decide!
add text from Chippenham 2017 and 2018 - experiments in popularity
Involvement of UK Police in co-operating with the Proxy Parents.
Bridport, Eastbourne, elsewhere. This material is to be linked or amalgamated with that in this page.
add all text on video recording of police, rights in law, exclusion from school car parks, names of school staff etc
Links page for folk dance topics.