Morris Dance is a traditional folk dance that has been around for 100’s of years. It originated in England but has spread to Europe, Australia and the United States. There are a variety of styles of Morris Dance. The various styles originated in different areas of the country. There are three main organizations that help support Morris dancing in the United Kingdom. The organizations are The Morris Ring, The Morris Federation and the Morris Open. These organizations help promote the revival of Morris sides. Make sure to check out my past posts to learn more about the history of Morris dance.
One of the many places you can learn how to Morris Dance is the Cecil Sharp House. Cecil Sharp’s documentation about Morris Dance is a big reason that it has had such a big revival today. The Cecil Sharp House offers a Tuesday evening Morris class for people to discover Morris dancing, one of folk dancing’s most historical traditions. The Cecil Sharp House is located on Regen’ts Park Road in London. Their Tuesday night class is for people with mixed ability and no experience is necessary. The classes are designed so that beginners can learn at their own pace and practice as well as allowing dancers with a little experience to practice and improve. They also offer separate classes for more advanced dancers. The Tuesday night class is based on the Cotswold tradition of Morris dance. They dance with handkerchiefs and sticks in groups to energetic English Folk music. They have Sessions offered in the summer, Fall and Spring. You do not need to make a reservation or register for the class. You just come and pay 5 pounds for a ticket and your ready to go. The instructor for the class is John Russell. He has been teaching the figures and dances for 25 years.
If you live in the United States in the New England are you can take lessons in Watertown, Massachusetts at Revels. The Revels School offers Morris Dance programs. The classes are semester long weekly dance classes. It is offered to children and teenagers. The classes are taught by a variety of folk dance instructors or folk dance lovers. The students in these classes learn the traditional style of dance as well as modern variations of the Morris style.
Revels offers a weekly class in the fall session for kids aged 8 and up. They teach Morris dance in a fun way to the kids. The dance instruction includes high leaps, stick clashes and learning to move in figures with the other members of the dance team. The weekly classes and rehearsals provide lots of movement and fun. The students learn the dance that has been danced for a hundred years. The Morris dance team performs a variety of times including the Twelth Night at Revels, the New England Folk Festival, May Day at sunrise on the banks of the Charles river, The Gingerale (this is an event in Boston that gives all kids Morris teams in New England an opportunity to perform in front of each other.). Taking Morris Dance lessons can lead to a lifetime of tradition. It is so rich in history that it connects the young people to the past and continues to pass down a great tradition. It helps the young dancers feel connected to the past. It is also a lot of fun and a unique opportunity for kids.
Keep an eye out for more posts about Morris Dance, it’s history, the styles and where you can see a performance and other avenues to learning how to be part of a Morris Dance team. Happy Dancing!