Whimsical footwork as the dance band pay tribute to Preston’s Dick football team, Kerr Ladies at the town festival


The iconic Preston-based Dick, Kerr Ladies was a catalyst for a 50-year ban on women’s football. Now, the whimsical footwork they displayed on the court in front of thousands of people will be reflected in the performances of the About Time Dance Company.

Quite Unfit for Females will premiere outdoors on September 18 at the Lancashire Encounter Festival in Preston. Performances will be presented at the Flag Market at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.

There will be another performance and school workshop at the National Football Museum in Manchester in October.

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The cast of Completely Unsuitable for Women

>>> Click here to see photos of the team’s star player recently unearthed from an attic.

Born in Preston, Jenny Reeves, artistic director of About Time, has choreographed performances funded by Arts Council England, the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and the National Football Museum.

Jenny said: “There is an incredible connection between football physique and dance, and the story of Dick, Kerr Ladies is inspiring.

“Women’s football is booming, so it’s a really exciting time to tell the story of Dick, Kerr Ladies.”

Completely unsuitable for ladies

The cast of five dancers trained with a football coach to ensure their moves mirrored those of the game.

Founded in 1917 as a charity football team to raise money for soldiers in World War I, Dick, Kerr Ladies are named after Dick, Kerr & Co Ltd, the munitions factory where they worked.

>>>Click hbefore and here to read how the Dick, Kerr Ladies team has inspired new children’s books.

Their first game at Deepdale, home of Preston North End, drew a crowd of 10,000 and raised £600, the equivalent of £50,000 today.

A team photo of the real players of Dick, Kerr

By 1921, Dick, Kerr Ladies were so popular that they played over 60 games in a year while working full time and a total of nearly 900,000 people watched their games.

However, in December 1921, the Football Association declared the beautiful game to be entirely unsuitable for women and banned women’s football. Although all FA clubs were asked to refuse permission to use their grounds for women’s matches, the Dick, Kerr team were defiant and continued to play until 1965.

Their determination ignited a spark that led to the formation of the Women’s Football Association in 1969, the lifting of the ban in 1971 and in 1997 the development of women’s football by the FA, ultimately resulting in its popularity today .

Quite Unfit for Females will encapsulate local Preston heritage, celebrate women’s history and could bring the dance to an international sporting audience in hopes of further performances at the Women’s Euro next year.

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