WHAT IS MORRIS DANCING?

Morris dancing is an exciting and one-of-a-kind way to get active

Morris dancing is an ancient English folk dance that has been practiced for centuries. The dance’s exact origins are unknown, but it is thought to have originated during the mediaeval period, possibly as early as the 14th century.

The name “Morris” is derived from the word “Moorish,” which was used to describe a popular type of dance in Spain and North Africa. The dance is thought to have been brought to England by returning Crusaders, traders, and merchants who had visited these countries.

Morris dancing has been documented in England since the 15th century. Men performed the dance at this time, usually in groups of six or more. The dancers wore bells on their legs and carried sticks or handkerchiefs to strike each other or perform intricate manoeuvres.
Will Kemp Morris Dancer

Will Kemp, English Actor & Dancer

Different Styles and Traditions

The dance evolved and changed over the centuries. Morris dancing became increasingly popular in England during the 16th and 17th centuries, and many different styles and traditions emerged. Some Morris dances featured live music, while others featured recorded music.

Morris dancing fell out of favour in the 18th and 19th centuries. This was due in part to the rise of industrialization as well as the changing social and economic conditions of the time. However, a small group of enthusiasts and performers kept the tradition alive by passing on the dances and traditions to future generations.

Morris dancing is experiencing a revival in popularity today. Many groups and organisations have formed all over the world to promote and preserve the tradition. Men and women of all ages now perform the dance, and audiences of all ages enjoy it as well.
Makeney Morris Performing a Hankie Dance

A Hankie Dance

Melodeons, Fiddles and Accordions

Morris dancing music is an essential component of the dance, adding to the overall energy and atmosphere of the performance. Traditional instruments such as accordions, melodeons, fiddles, and concertinas are commonly used to perform the music. The music’s rhythms are frequently complex and syncopated, and the melodies are frequently lively and upbeat.

The melodeon, a small diatonic button accordion, is a popular instrument in Morris dancing music. The melodeon is a versatile instrument for Morris dancing music due to its lively sound and ability to play both melody and accompaniment. The fiddle, which provides the melody, and the concertina, which adds a lively and upbeat rhythm to the music, are two other popular instruments.
Morris Dancer Playing a Fiddle

Fiddle Playing

Meet New People and Make New Friends

The physical benefits of Morris dancing are one of its most appealing aspects. The dance’s lively and energetic movements can help to improve cardiovascular fitness, coordination, and flexibility. Morris dancing is also a great way to build strength and endurance, making it an excellent choice for people of all ages and fitness levels.

Another significant advantage of Morris dancing is its social aspect. Morris dancing is usually done in groups, and the dance itself requires a lot of coordination and teamwork. As a result, it’s an excellent way to meet new people and make new friends. Many Morris dancing groups are also very welcoming and inclusive, so whether you are a beginner or a seasoned dancer, you will find a place to belong.
Makeney Morris is Socialising.

Socialising

Morris dancing, in summary, is a traditional English folk dance with a rich history dating back to the Middle Ages. Over time, it has changed and evolved, but it has always been a celebration of community, culture, and tradition. Morris dancing is an exciting and one-of-a-kind way to get active, meet new people, and learn about England’s rich cultural heritage. Today, whether you are a beginner or an experienced dancer, there are numerous opportunities to get involved and learn to Morris dance.