Morris dance is a traditional folk dance among the English. Since its first recorded inception during the 1400s, Morris dance has become a stable of English folk heritage that has reached across the globe for English people who continue to the tradition as well as introduction of the tradition in new forms.
Morris dance consists of simple rhythmic gestures with sticks, swords, ankle bells and colorful scarfs. Over the course of time, Morris dance has evolved to include women; however, originally it was a cultural performance for me. Some of the gendered divisions still apply, both in England and abroad, as Morris dance is a tool of social cohesion, comradery, and connection to heritage that single gendered groups utilize to strengthen psycho-social communications.
As Morris dance has traveled due to English expansion and immigration, Morris dance has entered into new frontiers and cultural mellitus. In the USA, Morris dance has experienced opportunities to be a part of efforts to celebrate multicultural heritage and a way to connect Americans with a variety of English traditions. It’s visible, participatory, and entertaining display is ideals for showcasing uniquely regional flavors, and serves as a vehicle to explore the differences between English regional expressions in their nuances as thoughtful demonstration.
As times change, Morris dance finds new life in contemporary blended dance and performance spectacles that contemplate the human themes associated with immigration and being in a foreign country away from home. Within the United States, because English culture is a minority, Morris dance has an opportunity to teach and connect decedents to distinct heritage and ancestral memory.
There have also emerged unique American ways of doing Morris dance due to ways of blending both English culture and American marketing expansion, to show ways in which the two the can work together to embrace tradition yet promote values of a particular artistic endeavor or company endeavor. These artistic forms are rarely the full aspects of traditional heritage; rather they are expressions of cultural manifestations and mergers, yet serve as a vehicle for Morris dance to survive into the 21stcentury.
Social media has also played a substantial role in the awareness of Morris dance within the United States, with tutorials and fun excursions that introduce or celebrate Morris dance in entertaining and popular ways. These methods of expansion and propagation, coupled with various cultural celebrations and gatherings, usually around larger celebrations, such as the tradition of May Day, assist smaller groups and organizations who regularly practice varying styles of Morris dance to expand within the United States.
These expansion efforts are importance and paramount, as Morris dance is predominately kept alive by older men, communication values of its importance can sometimes surface in the geographic and generational gulfs between countries and age groups. With tools of social media, contemporary exhibits, festivals, and multicultural awareness, these gulfs can somewhat close and the variety that the tradition offers can be demonstrated, engaged, and displayed.
Another realm of Morris dance expansion and preservation is within scholarship on Morris dance, its origins, and some of the esoteric symbology and history connected to it. These forms of scholarship are ways of contemplating and investigating the relevance of Morris dance to theatrical performance and literary genius, such as through the works of William Shakespeare and the relevance of the cultural corpus to contemporary ways of teaching and learning about English cultural history. Overall, the reception and preservation of Morris dance in the United States is sufficient and significantly lively, with consistent opportunities for performance, engagement, teaching, and commemorations efforts. Morris dance can thus be understood as an important and vital part of American ways of understanding and navigating contemporary multicultural and diversity concerns that have political significance within English and American policy, while dampening the seriousness of such a discussion with the livelihood of festival and artistic expression.