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
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.
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.
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. You can look up their program here:
And videos, photos and music can be found here:
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@example.com) for the band, Helen (01929 480737,
firstname.lastname@example.org) for the ladies side or Tony (01929 480850
email@example.com) for the men's Rapper side.
Web page: http://www.brmm.org.uk/DorsetButtonsMorris/
Dorset Buttons 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Eynsham MorrisEynsham Morris has been in existence since at least 1856, and most likely goes back at least a further 200 years into history. The current incarnation first danced on May bank holiday, 1980. Well known for their energetic, flamboyant dancing style and colourful, unique kit, Eynsham have remained a crowd favourite through the decades. A very sociable side, their lively singing and folk tune sessions after the dance have become famous in their own right.As fine an exhibition of Morris dancing as it has ever been my good fortune to see' - Cecil Sharp, 1908
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.
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.
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 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.
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@example.com
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.
Taeppa's Tump North-West Morris Dancers were formed in 1981 in Maidenhead, Berkshire and are a female side with a large and lively mixed band. Our name is taken from a local archaeological site, the burial mound of a Saxon chieftain called 'Taeppa', after whom the nearby village of Taplow is named.We dance in clogs which are traditional for our north-west style of morris, and use sticks, garlands and swingers to give colourful displays at folk festivals, days of dance, pub evenings and fetes etc.
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.
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.