I frequently get asked to explain what bell-ringers do when they ring the bells. Well, watching the last series of Strictly Come Dancing it occurred to me how similar ballroom dancing and bell-ringing are, apart from the obvious differences eg bells, ballrooms and sequins.

The similarities are numerous, namely both are:

  1. Very good exercise for the mind as well as the body (and much more interesting than going to the gym).
  2. In dancing to be able to perform some of the difficult lifts you need to prepare the body for what’s going to happen next.  Bell-ringers are the same, to make a heavy bell ring at a different speed, to carry out a manoeuvre in the right place requires a degree of anticipation.
  3. Both activities require rhythm . . . dancing would be boring to watch and bell-ringing difficult to do without it.
  4. Neither activities can be done on your own.  Dancing requires at least two people, and bell-ringing one per bell (that’s five people in South Scarle).  Some large Churches have 12 bells so that’s 12 people!
  5. The ability to count is vital.  Dancers have to count the number of steps in the routine.  Bell-ringers count their place in the method.
  6. In both you learn various basic moves and sequences.  In dance you could have a quarter turn, progressive chasse, a forward lock with a natural turn and you’d be dancing a basic quick step.
  7. Bell-ringing and dancing each have a clear defining start and finish to a routine.  In ballroom dancing its usually from a completely stationary position, whilst in bell-ringing we start in rounds and finish in rounds.  Rounds is like playing the scales on a piano.
  8. Their are strict rules which must be observed in both pursuits when participating at higher levels.

There are currently a couple of excellent videos on You Tube showing bell-ringing from a beginners perspective.  Up the spiral staircase and bell-ringing is harder than it looks!

If anyone would like to join us I am currently looking to recruit up to two more ringers.  Please contact me, Richard Sutton on 01636 893392.