Hornbeam Molly molly dancing in North Yorkshire

A day out at Brimham Rocks



The idea of a Molly dance team came about after Roy Hardacre watched a display given by Rhubarb Tarts at Henshaw's Day of Dance in Harrogate in April 2009. A meeting was arranged for 21st October 2009 at Heatherdene Dance and Social Club in Harrogate at which 19 people attended. Tessa Goldsmith, a former Pig Dyke Molly dancer agreed to teach some dances, including three Pig Dyke dances, Plug Holes, Meeples and Yaxley's Last Stand (which became known as Motorcycles). A further dance, Flash Company's Duncan's Dance, was learnt from a YouTube video.
At a meeting on 9th December 2009 the name Hornbeam Molly was agreed, because of some (very) loose connection with Hornbeam Park in Harrogate (site of the former ICI works). The kit, which has continued to evolve, took the colours of the hornbeam tree – green and brown! Bob Barker was chosen to be Leader, Ashlea Williams Treasurer, Roy Hardacre Band Leader and Ray Black Publicity Officer.
With the imminent closure of the Heatherdene practice hall, a move was made to the Methodist Hall in Park Grove, Knaresborough in December 2009. The arrangement did not last for long and another move was made to the Knaresborough and Harrogate Dance School (now the Danceworx Studio) in Knaresborough in February of 2010.


The first public performance took place on Wednesday 11th August 2010 at the Dropping Well Inn, in Knaresborough. Almost all members of the team were present and Duncan’s Dance, Meeples and Motorcycles were performed in front of a small audience.
A domain name was registered in September 2010 and a website built by Bob Wilkinson.
A further two dances were added to the repertoire, College Hornpipe in September and Norwich Kitwitches' The Witch in October in time for the second performance on Saturday 13th November in Knaresborough market place and at the castle. Gogmagog's The Doubling Map was introduced to the repertoire in November and a ceilidh dance called Tumbling Tom's Tonic adapted to Molly style in December of 2010. Birds a Building was introduced at an Open Night held on January 24th 2011 but not performed until the Malton Folk Festival in April 2012.
Ashley Williams left Hornbeam for family reasons and the treasurer's job was taken over by Jan Antonovics in April of 2011. At about the same time Ray Black took over as Band Leader from Roy Hardacre.


2011 saw Hornbeam Molly dancing with other teams at evening pub spots and days of dance. Tumbling Tom’s Tonic had its debut in March at Malton Folk Festival together with James Szeplaki's Broom Dance. The Doubling Map appeared at an evening dance spot at the Harrogate Arms with Cricket on the Hearth and Betty Luptons on May 4th. Other events included one in June at the Friends of Valley Gardens 1940s day, raising funds for the restoration of the Pump Room in Harrogate. Other folk festivals included Whitby and Otley. There were also a number of ceilidh floor spots including Hornbeam's own fund raising ceilidh in September of 2011 for which Ray's Dark Horse Ceilidh Band provided the music with caller Tony Whitehead.

The final dance to be introduced in 2011 was a replacement for Motorcycles. It was felt that the dance was too repetitive, consisting of 3 figures which were repeated 6 times each. It had already been reduced to half its original length during recent performances. Pauline rearranged the dance, adding more figures and reducing the number of repeats. Although the name was retained she had effectively creating a new dance. Its first outing was not until the Malton Folk Festival in April 2012.

Two years on in November 2011 the team has 15 members of whom 6 were at the original meeting in October 2009.