Phoenix kit has developed over the years to today’s kit, which has been with us for the past 20 years. We pride ourselves on our kit – our aim was to stand out in a crowd and live up to our name, so it is important for all dancers & musicians to look the same, wearing mainly fiery colours.
The kit comprises a black half-hat which is individually decorated by each member using colourful flowers, mainly in fiery colours, plus a few other personal trinkets & badges, etc, to give a touch of individuality. Hanging down the middle of the back of the hat are ribbons of red, orange & yellow, approximately 12” to 18” long.
The top half of our kit is made up of a red & white striped shirt with arm-bands of black elastic from which hang red, orange & yellow ribbons, approximately 6” to 9” long. A white & red patterned neckerchief is worn, and to finish it off a black waistcoat with a unique embroidered ‘Phoenix’ logo sewn on the back, with our motto “We Do It for Fun”. Again to give individuality, each Side member collects badges, etc, to pin on the front of their waistcoats.
Below the waist (mainly for the men) black breeches are worn with bright red football socks, while the women normally wear a black skirt, which finishes approximately 9” above the ground. Underneath this a white cotton petticoat is worn, with the lace just visible below the skirt, and then red stockings or tights. A red belt is worn and from this the women hang ribbons down one side of the skirt. Footwear consists of black lace-up shoes or boots.
Most importantly, included in our kit is a pair of red hankies for dancing which are hung from the belt when not in use. The dancers carry their own sticks and are required to bring two each to all bookings (as some of our dances require two sticks!)
Bells: When breeches are worn, bells are fitted to leather pads tied just below the knee; when worn with skirts, they are fitted to small leather pads tied to the shoes. All bell-pads are decorated with fiery-coloured ribbons.
New dancers do not wear bells; these are awarded when the Squire & Foreman feel a dancer has reached a required standard of being able to dance five dances from different traditions in public to an acceptable standard. It is a good incentive and thus gives the dancers something to work for.
We have also recently added reversible fleece jackets to our kit for those cold or wet days; one side is black and waterproof, and the red fleece side is embroidered with the ‘Phoenix’ logo – so we can now be spotted in a crowd even with our jackets on.
The Squire, and, if appointed, the Fool, would of course deviate slightly from the above kit. The Squire, whilst still maintaining the same colour scheme, would normally wear one or two items in perhaps a different colour, such as waistcoat, neckerchief or maybe hankies, etc. The Fool would normally be in a jester’s outfit in Side colours.
We are once again the proud owners of a wonderful ‘mythical beast’, the Phoenix, which comprises a wickerwork ‘Phoenix’ head and an embroidered cloak, which is now worn by our Squire. This was made for the Side in 1981 by Mrs Reed, the mother of our Squire at that time, Pat Reed. The cloak disappeared, but in 2007 it was found by a former member in her loft and the Phoenix again rose from the ashes and has returned to us in its full glory!