Friend a Day – Derek Phillips
Derek just turned 60, which freaks me out a little bit because he looks younger than me. I guess dancing can keep a guy in good shape.
I’ve known Derek as a member of the Morris Dancers for years. He is typically the person who talks to me to let me know when they are doing their final dance before Vilification Tennis. I love Derek (and all the Morris dancers) because they know that huge crowd isn’t there to watch them dance but they are grateful for the crowd anyway. It’s one of the reasons I don’t tolerate the Vil audience bad mouthing the Morris dancers.
I’m going to tell a story about Derek that will, I hope, illuminate part of why I respect him so much.
A few years ago, he was going to do a piece of traditional dance at the Festival talent show. He had a piece of music he needed played but we weren’t able to find a working CD player for him. He said he’d have to pull out. Because he’s such a fine dancer we pushed for him to dance anyway.
So he performed the dance without music. And it was electrifying. Because he was electrifying. The crowd was completely silent while he performed. Anyone who can manage to shut up a crowd of 400 obnoxious festies is truly gifted.
Derek has always struck me as a gentle individual who celebrates life. He is always smiling and he is always gracious to others. He treats everyone with the respect in a way that we should all try to emulate.
He gives his all in his dance. If you ever have a chance to see him do his solo dance with the Morris dancers, just watch him. Watch how much he throws into the performance. It’s a great dance by a great dancer.
I’m grateful to have known Derek and to be in a show that follows him so I’m able to watch him dance. Happy Birthday, Derek!