In the pantheon of funny dances, there can not be many more amusing or quaintly English than the bizarre spectacle that is the Morris Dance. Before we write any more, let’s just have a quick look at the sort of thing we’re describing; non-Brits may not be familiar with this tradition so prepare yourselves appropriately and check out this information.
Speechless? You should be. In fact if that’s the first time you’ve ever seen this nonsense and you’re not struck down with amused horror, there’s something wrong with you. You’ll be better off checking out these casino offers. Morris dancing is one of those English traditions which is immensely unpopular even it’s own country. For the sake of fairness, we should explain a little bit about it though; it certainly dated back to the beginning of the 17th century and possibly earlier. The word ‘Morris’ probably derives from ‘Moorish’ and the dance may be related to the celebrations which followed the expulsion of the Moors from Spain in 1492. As if medieval life wasn’t annoying and unpleasant enough, a Shakespearean actor named William Kempe Morris Danced his way from London to Norwich in 1600 for the entertainment of himself – an event which he wrote about in his Nine Daies Wonder in the same year.
At this point it was a Whitsun dance but Oliver Cromwell’s puritans put a stop to all such fun and games until the restoration of the monarchy under Charles II in 1660. The practive of holding festivals were restored and Morris Dancing was once again linked to the Whitsun holiday.
It declined in popularity until 1899 when a folklorist named Cecil Sharp encountered a rare dance in Headington Quarry; he brought it back to London where it was eventually performed by an all-female dance troupe at the Espérance Club. This seemed to be the trigger for a Morris revival and several teams, male, female and mixed, began to pop up around the country.
Tradition dictates that Morris Dancing involves bells, handkerchiefs and sticks (as you can see from the video) but there are variations – clogs are sometimes worn as are differing noisy objects – depending on the region. Avoid it all if you can.