There are many small Morris Sides in the United Kingdom and around the world. These are small groups keeping the tradition alive of this fun energetic dance tradition. Morris Dance features either a group of Men, Women or a mix of both, wearing costumes, with bells (or other noise makers) carrying sticks (or handkerchiefs or swords depending on the tradition) and leaping and dancing. There is often a “fool” or “animal-man” that is the central entertainer. Many sides are looking for new members. Today I will give an overview of some of the groups. Don’t forget to check out my other posts in this blog for more details on Morris Dance and where you can see it and try it.
The Headington Quarry Morris Dancers- This is an active group that performs in public, with the hope of keeping the Morris Dance Tradition alive. They perform in parks and at festivals. This group has been Morris dancing for four centuries. They can trace their history back to 1899. It is located in Headington but you don’t have to live there to join, you would just need to be able to practice. Headington is part of the city of Oxford in Oxfordshire. They practice every Monday night from 8:00 – 9:00 PM at the Mason arms Public house in the garden. They always welcome new members. To get involved you simply contact their squire. The group dances regularly in the village of Headington Quarry by the Mason’s Arms, The Six Bells and outside the Anchor Public House in Jericho on May Morning. Even if you are unsure if you are ready to jump in with both feet and join the side, you can take a look at their performances to see if it might interest you. Here are some opportunities: They perform the Old Mumming Play on Christmas Boxing Day throughout the village of Headington Quarry, Oxford; They have their annual ALE Feast on November 19th. This event is a night of food and dancing; They perform on May Day, last year they performed in Jericho, but look at their website to check where future performances are.
Crendon Morris Men is a side that was created in June 1967. This side is located at The Church House, High Street in Long Crendon. They practice on Tuesday Night at 8:30 – 10:00 PM. This group is actively looking for new members and would welcome anyone who wanted to give it a try! They have an annual walk around and Thame Show they participate in if you wanted to check them out.
The Brackley Morris Men are located in the South West Corner of Northamptonshire. They are one of 7 traditional Cotswold Morris sides still in existence in England. They perform Brackley figures and choruses. The group all wears White shirts and trousers but they each pick their individual colors for their bald rich and rosettes. They perform yearly at May Day, Boxing Day, St. George’s Day and during the August Bank Holiday Weekend. These are great events where you can see them perform. In addition to these performances they book festivals and other events. They welcome new members. They practice on Thursday Nights at Brackley Junior School on Manor road in Brackley, Northants. Now is really a perfect time to give it a try. They are holding a series of “tasters” on Thursday nights at 8:15 to allow new dancers to try out Morris Dancing. They will be held September 15, September 22, October 6th and October 13th.
Keep an eye out for more posts on where you can see Morris Dance as well as where you can join a side.