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
Morris Dancing Teams booked for the 2018 Wessex Folk Festival
MORRIS MUSIC SESSION - FRIDAY NIGHT - THE BOOT WEYMOUTH
There will be a Morris Session again this year. It has proved to be great fun over the last few years so we thought we’d do it again. It will be in the Boot Inn, an old Weymouth pub, directions on session page of the website. The Boot has a great range of real ales and ciders. The session will be on Friday evening at 8.00 pm, hosted by Pete from Wessex Morris & Ian of Festus Derriman. Morris dancers often gather in a pub after dancing to play tunes and sing songs they enjoy, not necessarily morris tunes. The session will be ‘apres’ morris before the festival begins. So, if you are in Weymouth on Friday 1st June bring along tunes and songs to join in or come to listen
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.
Blackrock School of DanceWe are a Traditional Irish Dance Group based in Yeovil. Any abilities welcome, very friendly atmosphere. Our Dancers are both girls and boys ranging from 3-19. We practise on Saturday mornings from 10-13.30.We take part in a variety of different shows and folk festivals through out the year.Contact details : [email protected] or Ellie 07786862386.
The Bourne River Morris Men
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.
Cornucopia are an Appalachian Dance Group performing to a variety of American, Irish and British Folk music. They are based in Grove, Oxfordshire. The dance becomes part of the music as the sound of the dancer's feet creates a driving rhythmic background to the old-time American tunes. They were filmed with Ellie Harrison for Country Tracks in 2010 at The King Alfred's Head in Wantage and perform at a number of Folk Festivals throughout the summer.
Dr Turberville’s Morris is a mixed (Women and Men) Morris Dance side from the Somerton area.
We dance English Cotswold Morris dances from some of the villages and some of our own devising. We also dance some Border Morris dances, including some from Dartmoor, Shropshire and a few other areas.
During the Summer months we can be seen dancing most Tuesday evenings somewhere in South Somerset and North and West Dorset, sometimes even Devon, often at friendly local pubs, and we are liable to appear at events such as fêtes and fairs, where we can be recognised by our costume of white, with green and maroon baldrics and ribbons. We can also be seen at Folk Festivals and Morris gatherings elsewhere in the UK and (very occasionally!) even further afield.
During the Winter months we practise our existing dances, learn new dances, and teach new members at our base at Lydford on Fosse near Somerton in Somerset.
New Members always welcome to play music or dance.
Enigma are a border morris side from South Petherton in Somerset formed in 2014 & loving it!
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Is really a somewhat eccentric rainbow disguised as a troupe of Morris dancers. Set up in 1981 and associated with the University of Bristol, we’re a mixed side performing dances from Cotswold and Welsh Border traditions with our own inimitable mix of vigour, creativity and dubious singing.
Red Stags are a Southampton based, mixed side, who dance in their own style of border morris. Having been founded as the university side in 1968, they are this year celebrating their 50th Birthday. They can be found dancing at festivals and events across Southern England (and sometimes Wales).
Kit consists of a red and black rag coat with yellow flecks and music is provided by squeeze box, fiddle, recorder and percussion.
If you think you might be interested in joining the side please email [email protected]
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 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] .
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.
White Horse Morris is a mixed side based in South Wiltshire. Founded in 1951 as White Horse Morris Men from
the 1950s until 2011 the side remained a male Cotswold side and developed a
reputation for its excellent dancing. In
2011, with an appetite for change, the side became mixed, and introduced several
Border dances to complement our original repertoire of Cotswold dances from Adderbury, Bampton,
Bledington, Brackley, Lichfield, Fieldtown sometimes accompanied by our beast,
We are named after the White Horse of Westbury, cut into the chalk hills above where we started and practice in Wylye every Wednesday at 7.30 from September until April. www.whitehorsemorris.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!
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