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It was Anne's idea to use Mars, Bringer of War from Gustav Holst's "Planet Suite". Ambitious! It would need shortening of course, but this music is so dramatic. The dance itself was a long time in the making, rehearsals taking place at irregular intervals in Ashborne, Holmfirth, and Halifax. The original "orbitting" ideas made us dizzy and we collided so we settled for simpler spins, and folkloric Arabic "horse stepping" moves, with much cutting and stabbing and posturing, culminating in a Charlie's Angels style end-pose.

Costuming was always going to involve martial props: swords, not unusual in bellydance, but these were replicas of the Celtic short sword, and shields, modelled on votive offerings that the Ancient Britons made to their gods and goddesses. We had to learn to dance with our hands full.

Mars is of course the Roman god of war so there was a certain irony here: Mars brought war to the native Britons. The choice of costuming was checks and plaids in the style of the Celtic warrior queen, Boudicca. We wore earthy colours and russet hair falls threaded with "kill feathers"( read Manda Scott's Boudica novels!) with leather armlets (just a hint of Princess Xena here) and torcs. And lots of war paint, of course. We looked into the mixing of woad; all rather messy, and Snazaroo do a very nice blue face paint that is so easy to apply! As warriors, we invoked the Morrigan, the Celtic triple goddess of war, whose attribute is the raven or crow. Anne and Maura affixed the image of a raven to the inside of their shields. This was a compromise,they had intended to hang trophy heads from their belts, but found these hard to source.

We had planned to perform Mars at the February 2010 Bedale Showcase in North Yorkshire, but heavy snow prevented us getting there. Mars was eventually performed at the Bedazzle Showcase, Yeadon Town Hall, in June 2010, after which Anne and Alex spun off into their own respective orbits.

mars end pose

Background to Mars

Mars, Bringer of War !


Ancient British Tribal Fusion

"Romani ite domum"
raven motif