There have been wide claims by practitioners and associations alike that morris dancing may as well be disappearing but rather subtly (but disappearing all the same)and will be completely dead in two decades. Morris dancing, like any form of tradition developed several hundred years before, is liked and derided in equal measure.
This may be because of the lack of clear historical evidence of its formation thereby pitting theorists to conclude it as a pagan ritual; especially due to its connection with the Moors (linked to the Moors because of the name, no evidence supports any other linkage).
What is however accepted in many corners is that the morris dance has to evolve with the times if it is to survive. This evolution has come in many ways, which include the inclusion of women dancers (which was against tradition) and the use of other colours for painting the face (in order to be politically correct in this time and age). These changes are however dismal and the real challenge in the survival of morris dancing is in the younger generation and whether they are willing to adopt the folklore tradition.
However, morris dancing has gained a lot of popularity in local places in English towns. It is seen as a way of life and an event that encourages people to bond. Concerted efforts from morris organisations in creating outreach programs have also been quite successful with recent statistics showing the number of people who are engaging in morris dancing is on an increase. Many morris sides also claim that they are unable to keep up with the immense bookings they receive all year round. A typical morris side usually trains at least once every week and most of the dances are held in spring.
The question of introducing the younger generation to morris dancing is an issue that has been addressed yearly and has resulted in more of them are taking up the sticks nowadays.
The 500 year tradition, just like any other tradition, will always face the threat of disappearing but as for now the tradition is kept alive in many English folk towns every spring with tourists being more than amused and delighted by the shows. Most of the people who perform morris dancing also were in the same dilemma of engaging in the practice years before when they were young and only time showed that you can never beat tradition.
Although morris dancing is not a salsa or a highly organized and rhythmic dance form, its sophistication originates from the 500 years it has been in practice and the many men and women who come out every year to cheer and partake in the tradition. It is an enjoyable dance style that allows for people to converge and bond. Its accessibility is undeniably easy and anyone of whatever age or gender can engage in it. With the efforts being made to correct the public image of morris dancing all over the world, this form of dance is surely here to stay.