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Dancers lost in US terrorist attack

Tributes have come in from both sides of the Atlantic for two members of Marlboro Morris Men, both lost in the terrorist attack on New York on 11 September, 2001.

Christoffer Carstanjen was a passenger on the United Airlines plane that flew into the second tower.

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Christoffer Carstanjen

Steve Adams, a past squire of the team, was at work in the North Tower of the World Trade Centre when it was hit by a hijacked passenger aircraft. He was several floors above the point of impact.

He had arrived at work in the Windows on the World restaurant by 0800 hours, around an hour before the crash.

No other dancers or musicians were known to have died in the attacks on Washington and New York.

Steve Adams had also danced with Thames Valley International and the New York team, The Bouwerie Boys.

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Steve Adams

Memorial funds are being set up in the names of the two dancers.

Both have attracted media attention.

Chris Carstanjen's happy-go-lucky personality was affectionately recalled in B J Roche's column in the Boston Globe newspaper.

Steve Adams' wife, Jessica, was interviewed by Barbara Walters of ABC News.

She firmly declared Steve's known view that the violent death of an innocent should never be avenged with yet more violence against innocents.

An internet book of condolences was set up to enable people to pass on their sympathies to the families of both men.

Two days after the tragedy, Juggler Meadow Morris hosted a gathering for the Marlboro men.

Fred DeVecca, the Marlboro squire, wrote afterwards: "Thanks, you guys.

"That was the start of our sorting this all out as a team.

"It was the first time since this all happened that I personally felt hopeful enough to think that dancing can be fun again. We will go on."

He said the two men were "great people and great friends".

He continued: "How ironic that the only two morris dancers to die in this tragedy were not from DC or NYC, but from bucolic, "safe" Western Mass/Vermont, and one was on the plane that crashed into the other. It's bizarre and odds-defying."

In the UK, members of the audience joined East Kent Morris Men in a minute's silence at their evening pub stand.

A silence was also held for Steve and Chris at the Yateley Morris 25th anniversary day of dance, at the start of the main afternoon massed show, four days after the tragedy. Again, the audience joined in the paying of respect.

In the States, the two dancers were remembered by teams on an annual harvest tour

Deb Lewis told the Morris Dance Discussion List: "At each stand, we spoke of our fallen comrades, and the tribute we wished to pay to them in dancing to honour and celebrate their lives."

Ruth Olmsted, squire of Pokingbrook Morris in New York State, told the List how her team danced at Shepherd's Hey Farm, the home of two team members.

She wrote: "We concluded the stand with a men's double jig in honor and respect of the two fine morris men lost in Tuesday's horror. Thus -- with heavy hearts -- we shared with our audience the sense of community that prevails amongst morris dancers. Even amid profound sorrow, the dance and the music live on.

And Pete Klosky told the List of a poignant touch on another tour.

"This past Saturday," he wrote, "in an attempt to keep art alive in the midst of extreme adversity, the Harridans danced at the Cooperstown Farmer's Museum.

"Included in their performance was a remembrance of Steve and Christoffer - Barrow's House, a dance composed by the Marlboro Men."

The tune for the dance was Over the Hills and Far Away, he said - "traditionally used as a regimental 'loathe-to-depart' ... a farewell to friends and comrades."

A suggestion has been made for a scholarship to be set up in the names of Steve Adams and Chris Carstanjen at the Country Dance and Song Society summer camp in America.

A collection on behalf of relatives is expected to be held at the Morris Federation annual meeting in the UK on 30 September.

Chris' fellow union members at the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus have already set up an educational fund in his name.

Donations can be sent to The Christoffer Carstanjen Memorial Fund, Cape Cod 5, c/o Paige Pennypacker, Box 86, Orleans, MA 02653.

LINKS "Also known as Mr. Wonderful" - Christoffer Carstanjen's home page
A moment's encounter lingers on - Christoffer Carstanjen recalled in The Boston Globe
Steve Adams wife is interviewed on ABC Television
On-line book of condolences (Bedlam Bells)
Marlboro squire Fred DeVecca writes to the Morris Dance Discussion List

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2001 Simon Pipe, Mark Rogers