Morris Dancing - The Peculiar British Tradition

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Morris dancing -- a traditional type of British folk dance is synonymous with villages fairs and men dressed in white dancing with wooden sticks. But there are many more elements to "Morris" that the stereotypes we are familiar with. In this episode, I explore its origins, and learn how it has expanded around the globe.

Today's guests:

Peter Austin, "Bagman" of The Morris Ring - The founding National Association of Morris and Sword Dance Clubs in Britain.

Cat Van't Hof & Nat James of the Brandragon Morris in Melbourne, Australia.

To learn more about these groups see below:

https://themorrisring.org/

In 1934 the Cambridge Morris Men invited five other teams to join them in the formation of a national organisation, the result was that five of the revival clubs - Cambridge, Letchworth, Thaxted, East Surrey and Greensleeves - met at Thaxted in Essex on the 11th May that year to inaugurate The Morris Ring. Cambridge Morris Men describe the start of Morris in Cambridge during the winter of 1911/12 in the 1949 booklet 50 Years of Morris Dancing. Oxford were not at Thaxted, however they sent their apologies and were there in spirit, and agreed with the suggested constitution for the Ring.

Helmond Morris(link is external) was the first group to start outside of the UK - in 1935. They even danced during the dark years of World War II!

http://brandragon.morris.org.au/

Founded in 2001, we are Melbourne’s only North West Morris Side.

What is Morris Dancing? It is traditional English folk dancing! The North West style is done in formations of 4, 6 or 8 dancers – to live music. We wear heavy clogs which were worn in the factories of England during the time just after the Industrial Revolution. The dancing steps are quite simple, but the dancers create interesting visual patterns which comes from hours of practise. If you would like to try Morris dancing, please contact us and come along to a practise any time!

We also welcome new musicians to join us! Our current band has members who play the melodeon, the recorder, the drum and other percussion instruments.

Music from Pixabay

Photo: Morris dancing at Port Sunlight.jpg

Morris dancing at the 2011 Port Sunlight Festival, Wirral, England.

Reptonix free Creative Commons licensed photos

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0

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