Morris Dance Frequently Asked Questions
Morris Dance has a rich history although its history was almost lost if it were not for documentation by Cecil Sharp. His documentation about the traditions helped keep the tradition alive and then become revived in the 1970’s. Morris Dance is really a part of the fabric of many villages in England. Today I will answer the most frequently asked questions about Morris Dance.
- Is Morris dance a cultural dance?
In an essence it is a part of England’s culture of celebrating seasonal celebrations and social expression from earlier times.
- What was it that Cecil Sharp did to help preserve the Morris Tradition?
Cecil Sharp went around to various villages and documented their styles of dances and the traditions that surrounded them in 1899. The book he created from this helped preserve the details of the traditions of Morris Dance.
- Where can I learn Morris Dance in the United States, I live in Massachusetts?
In the United States there is a dance studio that teaches Morris dance called Revels. This studio offers dance lessons in Morris for kids aged 8 and up. They have performances and keep the tradition alive in the United States.
- What are the governing bodies that help support Morris Dance in the United Kingdom?
There are three main bodies that help support Morris Dance. There is the Morris Ring (The National Association of Men’s Morris and Sword Dance Clubs) which was formed in 1934. There is the Morris Federation which originally was just for women but now supports mixed groups as well. There is also Open Morris which supports all mixed groups of men and women.
- I live in the city of Oxford and I would like to see a Morris Dance group perform and perhaps join one. Can you suggest where I should look?
The Headington Quarry Morris Dancers is an active group that has a rich history. They go back to 1899 in their lineage. The group dances regularly in the village of Headington Quarry by the Mason’s arms if you would like to see them. If you would like to give it a go and try out Morris dancing for yourself, their practices are Monday nights from 8:00 – 9:00 PM at the Mason Arms Public House.
- I have heard there are many styles of Morris Dance. What are some of the styles?
There are various styles. They have slightly different dances and moves as well as style of dress. They also have a varying number of members in the sides. There is Cotswold (probably the most popular), North West, Border, Longsword, Rapper, Molly and Ploughshots.
- Is the Morris Dance in the United States the same as in England?
It has the same foundation but has blended in some American styles into it.
- I would like to see a Morris group and I live close to Stourbridge in the West Midlands, where is one that is mixed I could see?
Bed one Morris is a mixed Cotswold group you could check out.
Please leave any questions in the comments.