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And Sometimes Y is a Manx dancing team hoping to visit the Isle of Man to connect with the culture and bring new dances back home.
And Sometimes Y is a Manx dancing team hoping to visit the Isle of Man to connect with the culture and bring new dances back home.
206 backers pledged $12,395 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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A Bit of Background

And Sometimes Y Manx, Morris & Sword is a youth folk dance team based in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts. ASY performs dances from many traditions and cultures, but are most noted for our Manx dancing, a Celtic tradition from the Isle of Man. Manx dancing is a very old form of folk dance traditionally associated with the celebration of fertility, agriculture, and the earth. These dances have been kept alive for centuries, but were not danced by anyone in North America until the Manx group Perree Bane taught them to ASY's teacher David Nixon in 2009 and 2010. 

Normal Goings-On

Members of ASY spend the fall and winter months preparing the dances for May 1st, when we participate in the tradition of dancing up the sun and continue on to perform at various cultural festivals. We then begin a series of local tours, bringing these dances to small and large audiences alike. We have attended a number of ales, which are gatherings of Morris and folk dancers, including the Harvest Ale in the Pioneer Valley, the Ginger Ale in Boston, and the Marlboro Ale in Marlboro, VT. At these events, we perform dances for free to crowds of onlookers, bringing them into the many years of traditional spring celebrations.

The Goal

The Isle of Man is an incredibly culturally rich place, teeming with history of all sorts. We have begun fundraising to take a 10-day cultural exchange visit there in the beginning of July 2013, if all works out. While on the island, we will learn dances directly from the people who have been keeping them alive, attend traditional Tynwald Day celebrations, explore the countryside, and hopefully perform our own renditions of Manx dances. We hope to make this trip the beginning of an ongoing cultural exchange, so that the traditions and dances can continue to be brought over to North America by future members of And Sometimes Y and connections can be more fully established. The fundraising goal is only roughly 30-40% of the total cost of the trip, the rest of which will be paid by dancers and their families.

The Fundraiser Thus Far

While it is a very significant part, Kickstarter is only a portion of ASY's fundraiser. Some other ways we have been raising money include:

  • Working as the kitchen and cleanup crew for a local Burns Night dinner
  • Beginning a quilt raffle for a quilt that will be sewn by team member Rose and her mother Mary
  • A wonderfully successful benefit contra called by David Kaynor on February 22nd, which brought in $1500! 
  • A planned benefit Manx-themed dinner, complete with dancing
  • A performance at a local high school's Cultural Festival, which allowed us to introduce Manx dances to a community we rarely interact with

ASY was also recently featured on the front page of the local Daily Hampshire Gazette, and in the Greenfield Recorder, Amherst Bulletin, and a few other papers. A link to the article can be found here and here.

Risks and challenges

And Sometimes Y's Kickstarter goal is only a portion of the expenses that are expected for the trip. If our project is successfully funded for $10,000, we can send a set of six dancers and one musician to the Isle of Man. However, we’d like to send as many dancers as possible, and six is a tiny fraction of our nearly twenty-person team. If we surpass our goal and make it to $20,000, we can send the entire team and bring back many more dances.

We are estimating approximately $2,300 per person for the 10-day trip, and are constantly trying to come up with more ideas for fundraising. If there are not enough funds available for an entire side of dancers and a musician to go the summer of 2013, there is potential for the trip to be pushed back a year. However, the aim is to travel this coming summer, and ASY is working to make that a reality.

After the funds are successfully raised and this project funded, there are all sorts of logistical details that need to be ironed out. Buying plane tickets, booking campsites, solidifying plans with Manx contacts, acquiring transportation, etc. However, ASY is lucky enough to have a teacher who has been to the Isle of Man in the past and can help them through these decisions. Our greatest challenge will be to organize the materials, so that an accurate and thorough record of dances can be collected and preserved. We expect to transcribe dances and use video to create a lasting record, so that we may practice and perform them in the United States.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Signed and very sincere thank you letter from ASY!

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Signed thank you letter from ASY + witty bumper sticker

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    The ASY Swag Package:
    Signed thank you letter from ASY + witty bumper sticker + ASY button + Manx flag pin

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    ASY Swag Package + mp3s of the ASY band

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    ASY swag package + mp3s of the ASY band + ART MAIL

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Everything Above +DVD of dancing and Isle of Man footage

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Everything above + personalized thank you video from ASY

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    Everything above
    + tour invitation with honor of donor and baked goods
    + Manx sand in a bottle to practice sand stepping and instructions for how to sand step in video form.

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    Everything above + Invitation to the first ever North American Manx Morris Ale! This $300 pledge covers the ale fee for your team's participation in a 2-day event here in the Pioneer Valley. We will provide you with breakfast, a picnic lunch, a place to stay, and days full of dancing and song! The ale will be a weekend in September, so plan accordingly!

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Everything above
    + A private or not private performance in honor of the donor, either in person or over Skype, based on location

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Funding period

- (32 days)