Mr Baker’s Dozen meandered into existence some time in the late nineties, brainchild of its founder and perpetual Squire, Mr Baker himself. From the start, its mission statement was to do all those things that the other dance sides on the Island (of which there are many!) didn’t do. So Mr Baker’s Dozen is there to step in the breach and handle everything else.
Street dancing? Yup, we do it. Molly dancing? Yup, we do it (though it kills our legs.) Border? Check! Playford? Of course! Country dancing? Yes. We even perform a sheet dance, a portable Maypole dance, and a drinking dance
The first adventure of Mr Baker’s Dozen, back before we even acquired that name, was to be the entertainment between courses at a Christmas dinner at the local College. As well as dances, we performed songs, poems etc. We still keep up that “Folk Cabaret” tradition, performing a Mummers’ Play every so often, and even putting on a full stage show at Christmas 2004, called Carols and Capers.
Mr Baker’s Dozen is a mixed side, mostly consisting of couples who already dance in the Men of Wight or the Oyster Girls. This has led to some rather hectic festivals with many costume changes. So far, none of us have stood up to dance wearing the wrong costume, but that day will probably come.
We “dance out” on Mondays in the summer. You will know us if you see us, since we hardly ever stop singing. Our rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody” has emptied pubs, and our “Delilah” leads our musician to bury his head in his hands and go, “why? Why? Why?” We can sing absolutely anything to the tune of “House of the Rising Sun”, or, failing that, to “Ilkley Moor”. We also possess a seemingly-bottomless store of traditional songs, though the words are often remembered by committee. If you ever see a group of people in raggy green jackets, who just will not shut up, then it’s us.
You can also find out exciting facts about our dances, our Mummer’s Play, and our Carols and Capers show.