Possibly imported from Northern Europe (Moorish Dancing) Morris Dancing has become a quintessentially English tradition, with much of its iconography rooted in history. Since the Middle Ages, men have celebrated and ushered in the Spring to the rhythmic sound of drums and hand-held musical instruments. Some dances re-enact battle scenes with sticks replacing swords. In the year 1600 the Shakespearean actor William Kemp morris danced from London to Norwich. There are many different styles of Morris Dancing, for example it is thought black painted faces are from the Welsh Border while dancers from the North West often wear clogs.
Wessex Folk Festival plays host to many sides of Morris Dancers who put on their entertaining (and sometimes a little scary) displays along Weymouth Harbour all day on Saturday and Sunday. See left for the teams who will be entertaining you at the 2015 festival. (This page will be updated on a regular basis)
For Morris Dancing related enquiries please contact Chris on the contact form below
Regular Dancing Teams at Weymouth Folk Festival
All the teams listed make regular appearances at Wessex Folk Festival, although not necessarily every year. However, there are always at least 20 sides dancing for your enjoyment on both Saturday and Sunday. Details of all the sides with dance spots and times are in the Programme, available at the Festival. Come and enjoy the colourful and exciting tradition of lively Morris Dancing!
is a clog and step dance group. We were established in 1982, to perform at folk festivals in the UK and abroad. You will also find us with other dance sides outside pubs, on village greens or in village halls all over the country.
We perform clog routines from England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, with stepping or step dances from the Isle of Man, Quebec and Cape Breton.
Borderline MorrisRedefining what it means to be a morris tart, Borderline Morris defy death, convention, speed cameras and basic physics with our unique, exciting performances.Border morris with a difference - if Cromwell was still around he'd definitely ban it!Borderline was created in late 2007 using only three pipe cleaners, a plastic bottle and some old buttons.We practice in Arborfield, south of Reading, on a wednesday night, but we come from far and wide- you are never more than 12 feet away from a Borderliner! www.borderlinemorris.com
The Bourne River Morris Men
Formed in November 1967, and in 2017 celebrating our 50th year, Bourne River Morris Men are a men's side dancing in the Cotswold style of Morris. We are members of The Morris Ring and perform dances originally collected in the early 1900's from a number of villages in the Cotswolds area of England.
We are based in and around Bournemouth in Dorset, and in the summer months we visit and perform at a number of local hostelries (especially those purveyors of good ales) most Thursday evenings and many weekend events.
Some photos of our first ever performance in November 1967 can be found on the archives (http://www.brmm.org.uk/photos/archives_1.htm#nov67) page.
During the winter months, despite rumours to the contrary, we do not hibernate - instead we practice (http://www.brmm.org.uk/programme/practice.htm) indoors each Thursday starting at 7.30pm and would welcome any new members whether novice or experienced dancer (and of course musicians). Many of us also transform into Stourvale Mummers (http://www.brmm.org.uk/svm/index.htm) in the pre-Christmas period to perform a traditional folk play from Sixpenny Handley.
The Dorset Buttons
The Ladies Morris dance side was formed in 1978. We dance North-West Morris and wear the wooden clogs that were worn by most working people in the 19th century. Our name comes from the hand-made buttons that were made in Dorset until the 1850s when the introduction of button making machines led to the collapse of the industry.
The men’s Rapper Sword Dance Team was formed in 1991: we perform dances based on those from the mining villages in North-East England. The intricate weaving swords and accompanying characters of ‘Tommy’ and ‘Betsy’ are a spectacle not to be missed.
Would you like to join a friendly and active Morris side? Exercise while dancing to live music? North West Morris dancers practice on Wednesdays in Wareham. Rapper Sword dancers meet on Sundays in Sandford. We practise from October and start dancing out at Easter.
If you are interested in finding out more about the us, please contact Steve
[email protected]) for the band, Helen (01929 480737,
[email protected]) for the ladies side or Tony (01929 480850
[email protected]) for the men's Rapper side.
Web page: http://www.brmm.org.uk/DorsetButtonsMorris/
Dorset Button Rapperwere formed about 25 years ago. A few of our founder members attended a rapper workshop at Sidmouth Folk Festival and on return started a Rapper dance side. As many of their wives and partners were dancing with Dorset Button Morris NW ladies side the then new rapper side became Dorset Button Rapper. We are fairly unique in that we dance rapper wearing clogs.During our 25 year history we have danced in many European countries and the USA. More locally we regularly dance at Chippenham, Wimborne, Wessex, Swanage and Poole folk festivals and Bampton Morris day of dance.We can also be seen dancing outside many Dorset Pubs during the summer.As can be seen from the pictures we are a mature side and we welcome new dancers. Contact Tony on [email protected]
We are a mixed Border Morris side from South Petherton in Somerset & have been together for 18 Months. This will be our first time at Wessex Folk Festival where we will dancing on Sunday.
Practices are on Monday evenings 8-10pm from September – April, at South Petherton Methodist Hall. We always welcome new members, both dancers & musicians.
Contact [email protected]
are a Federation mixed Cotswold side based at the Old Village Hall Upwey, nr Weymouth. Upwey is the village represented in Hardy's "The Trumpest Major" where the farmer Festus Derriman features. FD's spring colours and joyful interpretation of dances have made us and integral part of many local fayres and village fetes.
Fleet Morrisis a ladies side, although our musicians are of both sexes. We are based in Yateley, Hampshire, dance mainly in the Cotswold tradition, and have been entertaining at Folk Festivals, Days of Dance, Garden Parties and local hostelries for more than thirty years.
We are always keen to welcome new members - check our website or Facebook page.
Full Moon MorrisWe are a mixed Cotswold Morris dancing side loosely based around South Wales, although our members come from as far afield as the far west of Swansea, the Forest of Dean and even Devon and Norfolk... Full Moon Morris started early in 1997, when six men and women who danced with various local sides in South Wales wanted to "get out more". Initially we learnt three dances to perform when we accompanied Shoostring Appalachian Dancers to the South West of Ireland at Easter 1997. Our first musician joined us at that point, practising the tunes outside our rented cottage on the first day of the trip. And the name...? Contrary to popular belief, our name is not derived from certain habits of our male members. In fact we take our name from a small hamlet near to Cross Keys in the South Wales valleys. There's not much to see of the hamlet now, but the Full Moon name lives on in a roundabout on the nearby A467 dual carriageway!
Heather and Gorse Clog DancersFounded in 1984, Heather and Gorse Clog Dancers are a ladies only dancing side (but we do have male musicians!) based near Newton Abbot, Devon. We dance mainly North West Morris dances with the occasional Cotswold dance thrown in. Our main aim is to enjoy ourselves and keep fit, but we also hope that we provide entertainment for others.
In the Winter we practice every week on a Wednesday evening in Combeinteignhead village hall. In the Summer we try to dance out at least once a week in the evening, usually at a pub.
Hobos Morris is a female border morris side, formed in 1993 and based in Poole, Dorset.
Our first season, in 1994, coincided with the 50th Anniversary of D-Day. Major-General Percy Hobart of the 79th Armoured Division, produced and commanded the unusual tanks needed for the Normandy beach landings - affectionately known as Hobos Funnies! Their regimental colours were red, black and mustard, and their emblem the Raging Bull. The name provided us with our colours, badges and a bit of history. Perfect.
Mabel Gubbins RapperWe are a women's rapper team, currently based in the village of Brightwell-cum-Sotwell, near Oxford. We perform traditional and evolved rapper sword dances, which originate from the mining regions of Northumberland and Durham. We can be often seen dancing in pubs around Oxfordshire, dancing in pubs at festivals around the country, and, if at all possible, not dancing in car parks. The best way to find a Mabel at a folk festival is to wave a bottle of gin in the air, and the best way to get rid of one is to tell them the way to a really good cake shop.
We are Mayflower Morris, a women's side dancing in the North West style. We are based in Ash on the Surrey/Hampshire border, performing traditional, new and swapped clog dance routines.
Newton Bushel Morris
The much acclaimed Newton Bushel Morris are a mixed traditional Cotswold side formed in 1972. We dance around the Torquay, Newton Abbot and South East Dartmoor areas
of Devon. Following the usual Morris pattern we dance out on Thursday nights between May and September and practice during the winter months in Kingskerswell. Add in the usual mix of festivals, weddings and charity gigs and you have the busy side that is Newton Bushel!
No Mean Feet
maintain a lively traditional style, with brightly coloured costumes and hard soled shoes with taps which emphasize the percussive element of Appalachian dance. We perform individual freestyling as well as precision team routines — accompanied by “Old Time” live music.
are Bath’s finest, and only, male sword dancing team. Founded in 1991, they continue to ignore the magistrate’s rulings and perform high energy rapper dances in any pubs that will let them in. Locally famous and regionally renowned, they’ve recently appeared at Sidmouth Folk Week, and both Bath and Bristol’s Folk Festivals.
OBJ was formed a long time ago by people who just wanted to enjoy morris dancing. We still do.
We're based in sunny Bracknell and we do Border Morris tolerably well.
If you're passing, say hello, or if you're a musician, come and join in with a tune.
The Oyster Girls
is a ladies’ Morris dance side from the Isle of Wight. The side has been dancing since 1981, although with much change of personnel over the years. The very first dance that the group learned was ‘Mobberly’ danced to the tune of ‘The Oyster Girl’ hence the name of the side.
The Quayside Cloggies
a ladies clog-morris side, are based in Poole, Dorset. We dance in the North-West Tradition. Our dances mainly originate in Cheshire and Lancashire but include some garland dances from all over the country and some we have arranged ourselves. 2015 is our 30th Anniversary Year!
The team wear colourful handmade costumes and clogs styled on traditional wear for the mill workers in the North of England during the nineteenth century.
Sarum Morris was formed in 1982. We are named after Sarum the Roman settlement which, through the centuries, has grown and evolved into the present day beautiful City of Salisbury.
Sarum Morris is a mixed Cotswold Morris side comprising of both men and women dancers and musicians. The dances that we perform are from the Cotswold villages of Bampton, in Oxfordshire, Ilmington in Warwickshire and Oddington in Gloucestershire, as performed and collected over 100 years ago. During the spring and summer we dance out at folk festivals, country fairs, village fetes, local pubs, Morris ale weekends and days of dance in and around Salisbury and a little further a field in Southern England.
Sidmouth Steppers Ladies North West Morris
Sidmouth Steppers Ladies North West Morris was formed in 1998 following the 45th Sidmouth International Folk Festival. Most of the dances that the Sidmouth Steppers perform originated in the North of England and were performed by mill workers at holiday festivals and in processions.
Clogs are worn for the dances as these were traditionally worn by the mill workers. Accessories used in the dances are bobbins and perns from the spinning mills, decorated sticks, garlands and handkerchiefs.
Music for the dances is traditionally quite loud. Usually it is led by melodeons but accompanying instruments may range through stringed, brass, wind and percussion instruments.
Sweet Coppin Clog Dance Team
Sweet Coppin is a Clog team based in Taunton, Somerset. Our name is taken from a variety of cider apple, our distinctive red and green kit reflects the famous cider orchards of Somerset.
As well as Clog stepping we dance North West team dances and a variety of other dances from around the British Isles which we call Soft Shoe Dances.
Sweet Rapper – Ladies Rapper side
Formed in November 2004 from members of various morris sides we started practise with borrowed swords and help from Dorset Button Rapper. We studied videos, watched other rapper sides and attended a couple of workshops, hence our rather unique style.
Our musician, Katrina, wrote our music and plays for us on the fiddle.
Over the years we have lost and gained members and we are always looking for new recruits.
We practise fortnightly during the winter on a Tuesday evening in the Fordingbridge area.
Should anyone be interested in joining us please contact Ursula on [email protected] .
Treacle Eater Clog
Treacle Eater Clog was formed in 1983. Our dances have their roots in the industrial north-west of England, where dancers wearing brightly coloured costumes and, often, decorated clogs, were (and still are) a feature of carnivals and similar processions.
Our name comes from the folly in Barwick Park, just South of Yeovil, called Jack the Treacle Eater. Jack is reputed to have been a messenger employed at the house, who ran errands, even as far as London, sustained on black treacle.
Uplyme Morris Men
The finest Morris dancers in all of Uplyme
We enjoy our dancing and Wessex are a friendly, sociable, energetic team. Morris provides us with exercise, fun and a great social life. We always welcome men who want to learn morris dancing.
Our practice sessions are held Mondays, September to April, 8pm-10pm, at Pulham village hall in Dorset, postcode DT2 7DZ.
The West Somerset Morris Men
formed in 1965 in the area between Taunton, Bridgwater, Porlock and Dulverton.
A small side at present with about 9 dancers and 4 musicians but we will always welcome newcomers !
We dance out in the summer in the villages and towns of West Somerset in the “Cotswold” tradition of Morris dancing.
Practice during the winter is at The Halsway Manor Centre for Folk Arts near Taunton.
Whitethorn was formed in 1977 and is based in Harrow, Middlesex. The side performs dances from the north west of England. The kit is a vibrant red, blue and white combination with hand made wooden clogs. Whitethorn has performed at many folk festivals and events countrywide, including Sidmouth, Whitby, Wimborne, Chippenham and in 2000 danced at the Millennium Dome. Overseas visits have been made to Europeade at Quimper in Brittany and at Prague Folklore Days Festival in the Czech Republic.
The Wild Hunt Bedlam Morris
Now in our 24th year we combine ancient Northern European mythology with English Bedlam (Border) style Morris, accompanied by traditional tunes. Our dances, all written by team members past and present, have been created for drama and spectacle to try and capture for our audience some of the original mystique and magic of dance performed in earlier centuries. Catch up with us on Facebook, follow us on twitter @wildhuntmorris or take a look at our websitewww.wildhunt.org.uk
Wyld Morris are a mixed Morris side of dancers and musicians dancing mostly in the Cotswold tradition. The side was born in the autumn of 2010 out of a love of the Morris and the lack of a local side that would accept a woman dancer!If you think you might like to join us as a dancer or musician, we would love to hear from you. We meet on Wednesday evenings at Monkton Wyld Court, near Charmouth at 7.30pm. We are learning as we go so you don't need any experience - just an enthusiasm to keep alive our traditional music and dance.
Wyvern Jubilee Morris
are an all male morris dancing side based in Yeovil, Somerset, England.
We perform a selection of dances in the Cotswold tradition, mainly from the villages of Adderbury, Bledington, and Headington. The dancing is usually followed by a lively music session featuring traditional, contemporary and comic songs and tunes.
The Yetminster Irish Dancers
The Yetminster Irish Dancers were established in 1972 and are still going strong over 40 years later. We have dancers aged between 3 and 18 who perform traditional Irish dances along with our lively band. We are delighted to be taking part in the Wessex Folk Festival and are looking forward to an enjoyable weekend.