An all-female, North-West morris side, Belfagan have been dancing around the Cockermouth area and beyond since 1981, and are by now a well established part of the local cultural landscape. The present side numbers about fifteen dancers, and a group of around six musicians who play regularly for practices and dancing out.
As there was a history of clog dancing associated with Cumberland and Westmorland, the historical forerunners of the modern Cumbria, it seemed a natural choice to dance in clogs, and to use garlands and sticks to dance with. The sticks represent the cotton bobbins that were such a major part of the mill girl’s life.
The name Belfagan (pronounced Bel/FAY/gan) derives from three possible sources:
1] the Cumbrian expression to “give it welly!”;
2] a notional “lady of the Workington (or possibly Maryport) dockside called Belle Fagan;
3] another version of the Cumbrian expression, used when, for example, a lad breaks your window with a football, and you rush out, shaking your fist, crying, “I’ll give you belfagan!!!”
Choose your favourite! We don’t mind.