Morris Dance is a traditional folk dance that has been around for centuries. It is rich with traditional clothes and history. There are many sides around England, Europe and the United States where you can witness this great tradition. Once witnessing this style of dance you might decide you need to give it a go yourself!! I will post throughout this blog various places to check out Morris dance and where to learn for yourself.
Towersey Morris is a Men’s Cotswold Morris side that is in the village of Towersey near Thame in Oxfordshire, England. To see this group perform you can check out the Towersey Festival which begins August 27th. They will also be dancing at their 50th Anniversary Day of Dance and Feast on September 17th. They always welcome new men into their group. They practice from October to June on Monday nights. Practice is from 8:00 to 9:00 PM. From May to the end of July they perform at Pubs on Wednesday nights. They also perform at various festivals and functions. There is also a Towersey Women’s Morris group. The women’s side practices in the barn at the Three Horseshoes on Chinnor Road in Towersey at 8:00PM on Wednesday nights. They are also welcoming new members, even if you have never tried Morris dance, come give it a try, you might find you love it!
- Bedcote Morris
This is a mixed Cotswold Morris side in Stourbridge in the West Midlands. Being mixed means that men and women can both participate. They dance from various traditions including Adderbury, Headington, Ousington, Lichfield, Bampton and Hinton in the Hedges. They practice at Gigmill Methodist Church Hall on Witton Street in Stourbridge. They practice from 8:00 – 10:00 PM On Thursday nights. They welcome new members to come check it out and join if they are interested.
- Black Pig Border Morris
This side is named after the ship of the infamous Captain Pugwash. The Black Pig Border was created in 1986 in Eastwood, close to Nottingham and Derby. They combine traditional Morris dance with their own styles and inventions. They are a mixed group, including both men and women dancers and musicians. There dress is quite colorful, including tailcoats and hats in bright colors as well as feathers, ribbons and bells on their costume. They welcome new members to their side. They practice on Wednesday night at the Gate Inn in Awsworth. There upcoming performances are the Flowerpot Beer Festival King Street Derby on August 27th and the Off the Tracks Festival on September 3rd and 4th.
- Briggate Morris
This group practices in Horsforth, Leeds on Monday evenings. Their times and locations vary so if you are interested in joining contact their secretary. They welcome dancers of all ages and abilities. If a girl is under 18 she needs her mother or another adult to supervise her to join as well. If you have never learned Morris dance it is suggested that you join up in the Fall when they are less busy with performances and have more time to teach new dancers. They also welcome musicians who wish to join in on the festivities. Past performances of the side were at the Flowerpot at Hopton with Wakefield Morris side and Bonsall well dressing and Carnival in Bonsall Derbyshire.
Morris Dance can be a fun and energetic way to express yourself and be part of a great historical tradition. If you are interested to learn check out a Morris Side near you. If one of these don’t work for you, try looking at the Open Morris, or Morris Ring websites to a see a list of Morris Sides and their locations to find the one closest to you.