Thursday, 10 April 2014

What is Morris Dancing, anyway?

Tiddley Cove Morris Dancers
The remarkable Tiddley Cove Morris Dancers came out and sparked our Hedge Lay with dancing and music -- it was fantastic!
Brian Jones has been involved with Morris Dancing since he was a young lad on the farm in Britain; being a third generation BC girl, I was only vaguely aware of it, so he found this really helpful link to explain it to me:  on the Britannia website, writer Chris Whitcombe says:
The origins of Morris dancing are lost in the mists of time. It survives today as a form of folk dance performed in the open air in villages in rural England by groups of specially chosen and trained men and women. It is a ritual rather than a social dance which the dancers take seriously. It is felt that the dances have a magic power and serve both to bring luck and to ward of evil.
So Morris Dancing is ancient, pre-dating Christianity, and no one seems to be really clear on how the name 'Morris' stuck. The dances are rituals -- as opposed to folk dances, in which everyone may participate -- and linked to the cycles of the agricultural calendar. The photo above is of some of the dancers in their 'summer' costume, full skirts and handkerchiefs; for our Hedge Lay event, they came in their 'winter' costume -- Sharon got some great photos and posted them in her Flickr stream here.

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