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The origins of Morris Dancing

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GUEST,Les in Manchester UK 06 Nov 02 - 03:04 PM
Dead Horse 06 Nov 02 - 03:30 PM
Harry Basnett 06 Nov 02 - 04:29 PM
GUEST,Peter from Essex 06 Nov 02 - 04:35 PM
John MacKenzie 06 Nov 02 - 05:00 PM
Jacob B 06 Nov 02 - 05:06 PM
GUEST,iggy 06 Nov 02 - 06:11 PM
Snuffy 06 Nov 02 - 07:08 PM
mack/misophist 06 Nov 02 - 07:17 PM
Snuffy 06 Nov 02 - 07:18 PM
Jock Morris 06 Nov 02 - 07:53 PM
GUEST,Boab 07 Nov 02 - 01:43 AM
banjoman 07 Nov 02 - 09:39 AM
IanC 07 Nov 02 - 10:36 AM
Ross 07 Nov 02 - 10:56 AM
Train Guard 07 Nov 02 - 11:16 AM
IanC 07 Nov 02 - 11:38 AM
AggieD 07 Nov 02 - 12:40 PM
IanC 07 Nov 02 - 12:42 PM
AggieD 07 Nov 02 - 12:52 PM
Dead Horse 07 Nov 02 - 01:18 PM
GUEST,Les in Manchester 07 Nov 02 - 02:25 PM
Crane Driver 07 Nov 02 - 02:57 PM
IanC 08 Nov 02 - 07:58 AM
AggieD 08 Nov 02 - 08:42 AM
Feadan 08 Nov 02 - 09:41 AM
breezy 08 Nov 02 - 10:35 AM
AggieD 08 Nov 02 - 12:13 PM
Dead Horse 08 Nov 02 - 02:54 PM
AggieD 09 Nov 02 - 08:28 AM
Bernard 09 Nov 02 - 09:38 AM
GUEST,Peter from Essex 09 Nov 02 - 09:43 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 09 Nov 02 - 03:00 PM
GUEST,Mal 09 Nov 02 - 05:11 PM
GUEST,Les in Manchester UK 10 Nov 02 - 09:52 AM
Dead Horse 10 Nov 02 - 04:03 PM
GUEST 11 Nov 02 - 03:47 PM
Dave Bryant 12 Nov 02 - 07:51 AM
Dead Horse 12 Nov 02 - 09:32 AM
GUEST 12 Nov 02 - 01:38 PM
Dead Horse 12 Nov 02 - 03:39 PM
GUEST 12 Nov 02 - 03:55 PM
Hester 12 Nov 02 - 04:28 PM
Ringer 13 Nov 02 - 01:40 PM
GUEST,Les in Manchester UK 13 Nov 02 - 01:56 PM
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Subject: The origins of Morris Dancing
From: GUEST,Les in Manchester UK
Date: 06 Nov 02 - 03:04 PM

Am I correct in thinking that their is sufficient evidence to suggest that the most significant origins of Morris are not ancient ritual but courtly dance, possibly from Germany?

If this is the case does any body have an idea when North West clog morris first appeared, assuming that it is a development from 'Cotswold'?

Six men (sorry people) up for this?

Cheers

Les


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Subject: RE: The origins of Morris Dancing
From: Dead Horse
Date: 06 Nov 02 - 03:30 PM

You asked for it, mate.

THE ORIGINS OF CERTAIN FOLK DANCE AND OTHER RITUALS IN THE BRITISH ISLES
Copied from the papers of Cecil Blunt. EFDSS & bar (fully licensed)

In the year 55BC the Romans invaded Kent and found the natives were rather against being incorporated into Europe, and the Roman Empire in particular. It was their own fault, for had they invaded in August rather than during the May festivities, then things might well have been different. It would have been a Bank Holiday for one thing, so the local Celts would be used to hordes of tourists descending on the seaside towns of Thanet, and paid them no notice. But to interrupt the May Fertility Rites was quite another matter!
Fighting broke out, and the Romans were beaten off, coming back one year later for the replay, finally returning to stay in 43BC.
Some description of the May festivities that were so rudely interrupted is worthy of note.
The men of the area would go out into the surrounding woodland and, in order to show their prowess at stalking & hunting (most necessary attributes in those days) they would daub dye between the antlers of deer, each individual having his own colour, and so prove to the local maidens his own expertise.
The annual *rut* was in progress at this time, making the whole thing even more dangerous. A rutting seven pointer is no animal to be interfered with!
The maidens might show special favour to their own chosen man by mixing the dye for him, and some of them went even further by actually taking part in the daubing, or at least, attempting to distract the deer while their man carried out the daub.
The dye was soaked into a strip of cloth called a KURR, which was attached to a stick, or CHEEVE, so the man could daub the deer at a slight distance, but never the less a chap had to get very close in order to get a good daub!
Many words and expressions in the English language have come down to us from these activities, the term
*deer* to refer to a loved one for instance, the expression *she is dyeing for it* is another.
Place names derived from the locations involved are to be found in various parts of the country, Chevening, Dauber (Dover). Rekurrver (Reculver), Hartlip, Headcorn and of course Hartley, all in Kent.
Where the menfolk favoured other animals than deer, similar names are to be found; Swanley and Swanscombe for instance, or Oxted, Bearsted and Horsemonden. The whole of the island of Sheppey had another, altogether more unsavoury practise involving sheep, which still continues to this day, as evidenced by the numbers of sheep seen with coloured markings on their flanks.
The Romans attempted to outdo the locals at their own game, and so prove that they were better than the Celts, but the clattering of their armour and the ridiculously short swords used instead of Cheeves, made this impossible. When they returned in 43BC they introduced new rules in order to even things up.
The Britons would have to wear clanking bits of tin, or even bells, round their legs. They would also have to wear bright clothes instead of the browns and greens worn formerly. The Celts settled for white, as they could then wear their cricket garb. The conditions may have been more equal, but the event still went in favour of our chaps, the Romans took umbridge and banned the thing altogether. It still continued in secret, but penalties for offenders were high. Many communities fled the district, taking their customs with them, becoming absorbed in the rites and rituals of the new settled area, or disappearing completely.
The west was the most common direction of flight, and today some communities in the Cotswold region still carry on with a slightly watered down version of these fertility rites, calling it *Morris Dancing*, and they still use Hand-Kurr-Cheeves for the purpose.
Those who went further afield to the Welsh border district, blacked their faces to remain in disguise from the Roman authorities, while those who travelled as far as Yorkshire and Durham took to using swords instead of cheeves to better protect themselves from Roman raiders. The men of Yorkshire having long swords, while the Durham lads had the shorter Roman pattern, which at first they used to rap the deer smartly between the eyes, but fatalities among the animals made them change to a lighter, more flexible design, known as a *rapper sword*. East Anglians denied the practise of daubing altogether, going so far as to wear damn great hob-nailed boots & cavort about with hands behind their backs to prove that they had nothing to do with it! The North-Westerners used knotted ropes, and chamouflaged themselves with flowers. This chamouflage was so good that they eventually had to be accompanied by damn great brass bands, just so you knew they were about.
In isolated parts of Kent the daubing went on in secret for many hundreds of years. It was so secret that even the animal to be daubed was covered in cloth so it wouldn't see what was occurring, and the Hooden Horse of Kent has gone down in legend.
This statement is true, dammit. Would I lie to you?


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Subject: RE: The origins of Morris Dancing
From: Harry Basnett
Date: 06 Nov 02 - 04:29 PM

Clog Morrris, so far as i can ascertain, is a completely different kettle of fish from Cotswold which does seem to have originated from courly entertainments of the 15th. century.

North West Morris stems from a processional dance used to accompany the Rushcarts and was essentially 'morris on the move' involving multiples of 4 men (and in some cases women) with occasional cross overs from one side to the other to break the monotony. When the cart halted more elaborate figuresd could be used for entertainment purposes basically evolved from simple country dance figures - - i.e. back to backs; stars, etc.

More complex dances later evolved with the advent of Morris Clubs perfprming at various functions carrying on even after the First World War when clog sides made up of children danced competetively - - these sides later gave way to the so-called 'fluffy morris' teams made up of young girls.

During the great Morris revival of the early 70's many North West dances suddenly materialised, gleaned from 'old people who remembered the dance'....a great many of these were actually made up by the teams themselves!

None of the above is meant in any way to decry North West Morris which, at its best, can be colourful. vibrant and gloriously loud!!

All the best.................Harry Basnett.


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Subject: RE: The origins of Morris Dancing
From: GUEST,Peter from Essex
Date: 06 Nov 02 - 04:35 PM

You are confusing morris DANCING with morris DANCES.

The Cotswold dances are clearly derived from popular 17th century dance (the best way to piss off a Ring dancer is to tell him its just Playford with hankies).

The Fenland (molly) dances are 19th century folk dances, most also occur in social dance. (not to be confused with the large number of composed "molly" dances by the Champs and their imitators)

Borders dances are modern "reconstructions"

I have no idea about the North West dances but have seen suggestions that they are the older tradition.

Elizabethan references to morris seem to refer to any display dance and Will Kemp would probably regard any dance routine in a modern musical as morris.

I take the Moorish connection with a pinch of salt. The face blacking traditions were usually concerned with extracting money from richer neighbours and the only disguise available was a handfull of soot from the chimney.


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Subject: RE: The origins of Morris Dancing
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 06 Nov 02 - 05:00 PM

Deid Cuddy, whit a tour de farce. Up here in bony Scotland, as ye may ken, we hae oor ain dances. Nuthin' as efeminate as thon Morris motor cars dance, like whit ye mentioned. Why up here us yins dance wi' swords, but only because we save money. Fur when we stand oan the wee bit cutlass, we get oor corns trimmed fur free. Sae whit ahm sayin' is Scotland is mair macho nor England, so therr, nae offence like, ma old china.

Giok

P.S. Hoo's that bonny Kay? Ah hivnae heard a word frae her, fur mony a day.


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Subject: RE: The origins of Morris Dancing
From: Jacob B
Date: 06 Nov 02 - 05:06 PM

You've made an important point, Peter.

Even though the collected Cotswold dances bear a strong resemblance to renaissance court dances, there is evidence that the tradition of morris dancing (dancing as a ritual to celebrate changes in the seasons) goes back to some unknown point well before any of the collected dances were written.


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Subject: RE: The origins of Morris Dancing
From: GUEST,iggy
Date: 06 Nov 02 - 06:11 PM

When did Morris sides integrate? Were they all male right up to the sixties?


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Subject: RE: The origins of Morris Dancing
From: Snuffy
Date: 06 Nov 02 - 07:08 PM

Many still are


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Subject: RE: The origins of Morris Dancing
From: mack/misophist
Date: 06 Nov 02 - 07:17 PM

The Morris Dance was actually invented by the infamous Texas feminist and millionaire, Oveta Culp Hobby. It was meant to help market her line of hobby horses. This nonsense about it being ancient is just a clever fraud. It was really invented in 1924.


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Subject: RE: The origins of Morris Dancing
From: Snuffy
Date: 06 Nov 02 - 07:18 PM

The Morris Ring is composed of all-male sides, and quite a lot of them mean for ir to stay that way.


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Subject: RE: The origins of Morris Dancing
From: Jock Morris
Date: 06 Nov 02 - 07:53 PM

Sorry Giok, but Scotland DOES have Morris dancing! There are (to the best of my knowledge) 5 morris sides in Scotland at the moment. Morris was prevalent in Scotland until about 1560(ish) when John Knox banned it for being far too much fun.

Scott


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Subject: RE: The origins of Morris Dancing
From: GUEST,Boab
Date: 07 Nov 02 - 01:43 AM

Bare feet, thistles and horse-flies in the hayfield....


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Subject: RE: The origins of Morris Dancing
From: banjoman
Date: 07 Nov 02 - 09:39 AM

Morris dancing was invented in the motor car factories of the midlands in the 1930's and was originally Austin/Morris dancing performed on the bonnets of every car produced. With the advent of the robotic panel beater in the early 1950's the tradition almost died out but was resurected in the 1960's by a group of enthusiasts who for reasons best known to themselves dropped the Austin part of the name. It has continued since then as morris dancing. North west developed in the Ford factories at Trafford Park (circa 1930) and Halewood (1960's) as an alternative to the,by now, established tradition, and because of the tag of "Nancy Boy" attatched to anyone who pranced about waving his handkerchief in the air. North Westerners preffered the use of sticks and slings which made fine weapons, and wore clogs in order to establish their superiority over rival teams. Women were admitted following the rent battles of Norris Green in the 1970,s. As to Cotswold -- enough said. It was probably derived from the halucinogenic effect of breathing the gases emmited during the maturation of local cheeses when handkerchiefs were waved about to dispel the vapours.
I hope this finally clears this matter up.


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Subject: RE: The origins of Morris Dancing
From: IanC
Date: 07 Nov 02 - 10:36 AM

What a load of rubbish. An authoritative account is in available on the web as part of the Brampton Bugle site.

;-)


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Subject: RE: The origins of Morris Dancing
From: Ross
Date: 07 Nov 02 - 10:56 AM

The Daily Mail had an article yesterday

They thought there was a link with the moors occupation of Spain

ie moors was bastardised into Morris

Also went on about Robin Hood & the standard characters

Dragons etc


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Subject: RE: The origins of Morris Dancing
From: Train Guard
Date: 07 Nov 02 - 11:16 AM

As far as the Lancashire tradition is concerned, there are two forms. The classic example is the 'garland', performed with a decorated half of a hoop. (As in 'Stubbins Lane Garland'.) The intricate movements have led to some of the dances being called 'maze dances.'

    In some places, there is also a tradition of sword dancing, or 'rapper', which seems to cross the Pennines to the North East.

    There are sometimes 'characters' introduced, often in connection with a Pace Egging ritual.

   The Bacup 'nutters' are a tradition all on their own - possibly introduced by quarry workers from Cornwall.

   All these dances a performed in clogs. It was never an 'all male' thing (at least from the eighteenth century), and mixed sides and women's sides were common. They appear to have been the preserve of particular communities, danced at 'Wakes' holidays, often in association with the local rush cart.

    To my way of thinking, they don't seem to bear any relation to Playford, or any kind of country dance for that matter. I have always understood that they were an old tradition, perhaps dating back to ancient fertility rituals.

    I have no doubt that they are the genuine article, and not a modern invention - many were preserved by girls' sides up to the 1920's. (And these were not Cecil Sharp influenced schoolgirls either, but local mill girls.)

   Train Guard


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Subject: RE: The origins of Morris Dancing
From: IanC
Date: 07 Nov 02 - 11:38 AM

*********


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Subject: RE: The origins of Morris Dancing
From: AggieD
Date: 07 Nov 02 - 12:40 PM

I always wondered why I have always had a special love for the Morris Minor - yippee now I know why.

The real truth is that we can only guess that Cotswold probably started as an integration of ancient, probably pagan rituals for bringing in the summer, as it was traditionally only danced around May to Whitsuntide and courtly dances. North West was as Harry says probably derived from the rushcart followings.

It is however very interesting to watch various European traditional dances & even Middle & Far Eastern dances to see how many elements are similar. Like all handed down traditions, they probably pinched the bits of others performances that they saw & liked. A tradition that still goes on today (Ring excepted!)

Just remember you don't have to be barmy to Morris dance, but it sure helps.

And if anyone asks me ever again (bearing in mind we're a female side)'Which one's Morris' so help me......


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Subject: RE: The origins of Morris Dancing
From: IanC
Date: 07 Nov 02 - 12:42 PM

I fail to understancd where this "courtly dances" thing comes from. Can anyone enlighten a long-time student of folk dancing?

:-)


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Subject: RE: The origins of Morris Dancing
From: AggieD
Date: 07 Nov 02 - 12:52 PM

'Courtly dances' were the ones the posh people did, and the plebs copied


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Subject: RE: The origins of Morris Dancing
From: Dead Horse
Date: 07 Nov 02 - 01:18 PM

See. You asks a dozen Morris dancers and you gets a dozen (different) answers. And serves you right!
And as for that phoney Scotsman who cant even spell *Jock* correctly, if I see him ogling my misses any more I'll shove his dirk up his trossachs, so help me I will.
To be serious (oh, yes I can) the term *morris* is nothing more than a convenient word to group together all the differing styles and traditions of folk dance in the British Isles - styles which have nothing else in common whatsoever. The original dances/customs have been so corrupted by time, that they bear no relation to what was performed, when it was performed, or why it was performed. But it is damn good fun, and far too good for women, who should be at home tethered to the kitchen sink anyway!!!


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Subject: RE: The origins of Morris Dancing
From: GUEST,Les in Manchester
Date: 07 Nov 02 - 02:25 PM

Sorry I am in a bit of a rush, I've got to go to the Folk Club..... now their's a strange tradition.

Thanks for so many interseting and funny responses. But, back to the origins. Those who seek an ancient, perhaps pagan origin, seem to have almost no evidence of such.

As to the connection between Northwest and all other Dances, surely, Northwest is more like Cotswold than any other form of Dancing?

Can they really have a completely different origin?

Once to your self?


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Subject: RE: The origins of Morris Dancing
From: Crane Driver
Date: 07 Nov 02 - 02:57 PM

Giok - there used to be a Morris dancer's costume in the museum in Perth (that's the Scottish Perth, too!) apparently the 'Worshipful Company of Glovers' had a Morris side there. It's green and covered with more bells than you could shake a stick at, to coin a phrase. I've never believed the 'Moorish' explanation myself, the alternate theory is that, in Tudor times, 'quaint rustic customs' like the display dances associated with spring, were brought into the towns as entertainment for the masses. In some places, people tried to show off their education by printing the posters in Latin, and a bad Latin translation of 'dances and customs' would be 'chorae moresque'. Badly translated back into even worse English, that gives 'Morris Dances'. Obvious, eh? Even better, though, is Dead Horse's explanation - that seems to just about cover it all.

Andrew


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Subject: RE: The origins of Morris Dancing
From: IanC
Date: 08 Nov 02 - 07:58 AM

RE: Courtly Dances

The situation is the other way round, if you read any serious history of dancing.

During the reign of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I the court took up simple peasant "country" dances as being more lively than the rather contrived and formal court dances. These became so popular that they were exported to France (the rest is, as it were, history).

In fact this was not the first time that peasant dances had been introduced to the English court as Edward IV, for example, was rather fond of them.

:-)


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Subject: RE: The origins of Morris Dancing
From: AggieD
Date: 08 Nov 02 - 08:42 AM

Ok, so let's be pedantic chaps:

If it weren't for Maud Karpeles & her girls would there even be any form of morris as we know it surviving.

Did galleys become fixed in Morris dancing because when Sharp went around collecting dances, one of the old chaps who vaguely remembered what was danced in his youth had one leg shorter than the other, or a gammy leg.

Did women dance Morris historically. Of course there is written evidence, certainly from Shakespeare's time.

Is Morris a corruption of anything. Most probably.

Did peasants copy the masters or masters the peasants. Surely there were plenty of dances pre-Tudor times, when Henry & Liz fancied being monarchs of the people & nicking their simple ways.

Who knows? The mists of time are creeping in again.

Great to have a real gloves off discussion about who did what & corrupted whom first.

:>)


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Subject: RE: The origins of Morris Dancing
From: Feadan
Date: 08 Nov 02 - 09:41 AM

[quote]
The real truth is that we can only guess that Cotswold probably started as an integration of ancient, probably pagan rituals for bringing in the summer, as it was traditionally only danced around May to Whitsuntide...
[/quote]

I would tend to agree with this but have often found that such a statement often arouses the "It-isn't-written-in-a-book-anywhere-and-there-is-no-evidence-so-it-must-not-be-true" crowd. :-)

Cheers,
David


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Subject: RE: The origins of Morris Dancing
From: breezy
Date: 08 Nov 02 - 10:35 AM

My 8 year old son had a dose of this today at school, cant help thinking 'thats another generation lost' as they grow up to associate it with child ish activities, which it is but some things are just not suitable for children, in case they embarrass their parents later.We'll carry on singing tonight at the Comfort hotel St Albans where n/w Anne Lister then 29th Jeremy Taylor and no dancing, cos we can sing!


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Subject: RE: The origins of Morris Dancing
From: AggieD
Date: 08 Nov 02 - 12:13 PM

Breezy: Don't dismiss dancers as non singers, or vice-versa. I know lots of people who have both talents & are even passably good musicians ;)

Feadan: Sorry I'm not an academic, so like to relate to folk tales passed on by word of mouth. Unfortunately many things written down have later proved to be totally made up. The latest is they reckon the Americans never did land on the moon, & millions of us watched that with our own eyes.

:)


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Subject: RE: The origins of Morris Dancing
From: Dead Horse
Date: 08 Nov 02 - 02:54 PM

No. You didn't watch it with your own eyes. You saw it (secondhand)through a TV set! I watched the Titanic finally reach New York, but it aint happened yet. So there!
It is almost certain that ritual dance was commonplace in pagan times, and what we know as Morris is a direct/indirect descendant.
It is equally certain that should any of those old frozen-in-ice pagans be thawed out and shown a dance in any of the existing morris styles, they wouldn't have a clew what we were doing, or why.
And why is it that folk assume that Cotswold is the most ancient of these styles? I personally think Longsword should be considered the oldest. A linked circle dance, carrying mystical objects, and practised in some form or other throughout the civilised world.
Not jumping up and down waving hankies, surely?


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Subject: RE: The origins of Morris Dancing
From: AggieD
Date: 09 Nov 02 - 08:28 AM

Didn't I hear somewhere that the 'swords' were originally used for scraping the sweat & muck off the backs of pit-ponies, much newer occupation than the pagan rites of fertility?

And let's remember chaps that the oldest pagan rites were supposedly to revere Mother Earth & all her offspring. I can't really see where bits of crafted metal would come into that, whereas shaking about bits of cloth or branches certainly wood(sic.) ;)


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Subject: RE: The origins of Morris Dancing
From: Bernard
Date: 09 Nov 02 - 09:38 AM

Most Cotswold dances are for six or eight persons, dancing in pairs. So mixed Cotswold sides seem logical for that reason alone...

However, if blokes want to ponce around with each other, holding hands... ;o)

Bernard
Earl of Stamford Morris
(mixed!)


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Subject: RE: The origins of Morris Dancing
From: GUEST,Peter from Essex
Date: 09 Nov 02 - 09:43 AM

Ordinary poor working people used what ever came to hand. If you needed a "sword" you used a rapper from your employer's stable or cut a bit of timber (depending on the tradition). If you wanted a disguise you stuck your hand up the chimney and took a handfull of soot. You did it because people would give you money.


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Subject: RE: The origins of Morris Dancing
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 09 Nov 02 - 03:00 PM

Which came first, rapper or longsword?


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Subject: RE: The origins of Morris Dancing
From: GUEST,Mal
Date: 09 Nov 02 - 05:11 PM

Talking about old customs etc. I wonder if pulling the wishbone of a turkey is a folk memory of an old human sacrifice tradition? I heard that the Vikings did something like this to kill British chieftains.

Mal


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Subject: RE: The origins of Morris Dancing
From: GUEST,Les in Manchester UK
Date: 10 Nov 02 - 09:52 AM

So did Northwest grow out of Cotswold then?


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Subject: RE: The origins of Morris Dancing
From: Dead Horse
Date: 10 Nov 02 - 04:03 PM

The sweat scrapers were the (supposed) origins of the rapper sword(load of baloney, IMHO)The magic of metal being made from mother earth, by means of fire, is surely more impressive than a bit of old timber. I can't see stone age man dancing galleys, or waving strips of beaten hide/cloth. I can see him doing a linked circle dance with sword shaped iron ingots. Go and talk to him about fertility and bean setting and he will laugh his head off. The earth god is all about fire and magic, not pretty flowers and bloody cornflakes!!!
And who the bloody hell invented those 'orrible little bells?
Some right bastard with a wicked sense of humour, I bet.


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Subject: RE: The origins of Morris Dancing
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Nov 02 - 03:47 PM

OK Dead Horse,

"I can't see stone age man dancing galleys, or waving strips of beaten hide/cloth. I can see him doing a linked circle dance with sword shaped iron ingots"

Stone Age? Why called that then? No bloody iron yet.

So did Northwest grow out of Cotswold then?

Just a little question to which we might just tickle out an honest answer. Anybody up for it?


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Subject: RE: The origins of Morris Dancing
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 12 Nov 02 - 07:51 AM

People often query the origin of "Jack-in-the-Green".

Originally, Morris Dancing was a rural pusuit, carried out amongst the fields, trees and bushes - but always accompanied by a large consumption of ale (as harvesting and other country labour was). The result was of course that the dancers (and probably spectators) needed to relieve their bladders at frequent intervals. The proximity to bushes and trees made this relatively easy. Local hostelries would of course also have their own toilet facilities so the dancing could proceed fairly unimpeded.

Nowdays, of course, if you wish to collect any money, the most profitable place is in a town centre amongst the people engaging in that much more modern custom of "Retail Therapy". There are usually plenty of signs adverting routes to "Public Conveniences". Usually, however, this name is a misnomer as you embark on a route march, sometimes to a neighbouring town, but more usually to a facility that is closed or has even been demolished.

"Jack-in-the-Green" was therfore invented as a sort of mobile bush cum Porta-Potti to help Morris Men to overcome these shortcomings.


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Subject: RE: The origins of Morris Dancing
From: Dead Horse
Date: 12 Nov 02 - 09:32 AM

Jack-in-the-Green as a porta potty! You must come to Bluebell Hill this coming May 1st, Dave, and I will hold you to it. (second thoughts, maybe I won't).


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Subject: RE: The origins of Morris Dancing
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Nov 02 - 01:38 PM

I think these stories of what might have been are brilliant. But what about this:

"Clog Morrris, so far as i can ascertain, is a completely different kettle of fish from Cotswold which does seem to have originated from courly entertainments of the 15th. century.

North West Morris stems from a processional dance used to accompany the Rushcarts and was essentially 'morris on the move' involving multiples of 4 men (and in some cases women) with occasional cross overs from one side to the other to break the monotony. When the cart halted more elaborate figuresd could be used for entertainment purposes basically evolved from simple country dance figures - - i.e. back to backs; stars, etc."

Just to quote Harry Basnet from early on. Harry seeme to accept that Cotswold grew out of courtly dance but suggests that Northwest came from somewhere else.

This seems a bit unlikely. How far back can we trace Nw? Does anybody actually know? After all it is knowable isn't it? Well if Nw is younger than Cw, perhaps one is daughter to the other. After all they do have lots of family likenesses don't they?


So did Northwest grow out of Cotswold then?

Just a little question to which we might just tickle out an honest answer. Anybody up for it?


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Subject: RE: The origins of Morris Dancing
From: Dead Horse
Date: 12 Nov 02 - 03:39 PM

.........and I therefore suppose that the U.S. Marching Bands grew out of NW Morris. The batons obviously have a connection with mill implements, and what other style has a big band?
Russian Cossack dances stem from Cotswold Morris, after the boys have got legless on Old Hooky laced with vodka!


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Subject: RE: The origins of Morris Dancing
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Nov 02 - 03:55 PM

Northwest and Cotswold are a lot closer than most dance forms in lots and lots of ways. Either they are connected or they are not. If not ...... I find that difficult to believe. If so .... how?

Do I detect a reluctance on the part of northern clogies to be associated with (I nearly typed southern cousins)Cotswold?

Cheers

Les


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Subject: RE: The origins of Morris Dancing
From: Hester
Date: 12 Nov 02 - 04:28 PM

In _The Stations of the Sun_, historian Ronald Hutton gives a helpful summary of the long-standing debate over the courtly vs. pagan origins of the Morris. Here's my recap:

Apparently, the pagan fertility rite theory starts with E.K. Chambers in _The Mediaeval Stage_. Hutton notes that Chambers would have been aware of the existing antiquarian theories linking the morris to courtly dance, but that he chose to ignore them, taking a more Frazerian leap of faith. Cecil Sharp then picked up on and popularized Chambers' theory, as it lent support to his idea that the dances were ancient and should be preserved in a static form. In 1957, Barbara Lowe made a detailed study of the earliest records of the morris in England, showing that it could be dated to no earlier than the mid-15th century, at which time it was clearly a court entertainment among European rulers. Lowe's findings have been supported by more recent and extensive scholarship, but were ignored by the folk dance community at the time, which held fast to Sharp's perspective until the 1970s, when more rigorous scholarly approaches were adopted by folklorists and politically more radical youth became interested in the folk dance movement.

Most scholars in the field now hold to the courtly origin theory. One exception is Sandra Billington, who suggested the "Morris" was actually just a new name applied to the older "routs and reyes" folk dances at the end of the Middle Ages.

As for the gender issue, Hutton notes that the extreme "men only" stance was championed most strongly by Sharp's disciple Rolf Gardiner (a Nazi sympathizer) rather than by Sharp himself. Indeed, although Sharp preferred an all-male tradition, he was aware of legitimately traditional 19th century examples of women dancing the Morris in Spelsbury, Oxfordshire and Blacknell, Worchestershire. Mixed and women's sides were also in fact quite numerous in 19th century Lancashire and Cheshire.

Cheers, Hester (a feminist and pagan)


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Subject: RE: The origins of Morris Dancing
From: Ringer
Date: 13 Nov 02 - 01:40 PM

Why is it necessary that NW "grew out of" CW which itself "grew out of" courtly? It's like saying that man is descended from monkeys: he isn't, but both have common ancestors. So, possibly with the different Morris traditions. And why does no-one ever mention the Litchfield tradition?

I'm going from memory here, but doesn't Douglas Kennedy, in English Folk Dancing discount the Moorish origins but not the Moorish etymology? (That is, doesn't he believe that because the dancers blacked their faces for disguise they were likened to Moors, hence their dances were labelled Moorish?)

And doesn't the same writer/book comment on the similarity of English sword-dances' movements with Basque handkerchief dances'?

But it's 30 years since I read it, so I could well be wrong. But that's stopped no-one else on this thread, has it?


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Subject: RE: The origins of Morris Dancing
From: GUEST,Les in Manchester UK
Date: 13 Nov 02 - 01:56 PM

At the risk of whatever:

Nw and Cw are a lot closer than people and monkeys...........
Perhaps Nw and Cw have a common ancestor, pretty recent perhaps

Northwest and Cotswold are a lot closer than most dance forms in lots and lots of ways. Either they are connected or they are not. If not ...... I find that difficult to believe. If so .... how? If so .... how? If so .... how? If so .... how?

Do I detect a reluctance on the part of northern clogies to be associated with (I nearly typed southern cousins)Cotswold?

Cheers

Les


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