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Morris dancing - what's it about ?

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GUEST,Curious 02 Mar 04 - 11:22 AM
Dave of Mawkin 02 Mar 04 - 11:23 AM
Cllr 02 Mar 04 - 11:26 AM
GUEST,davy 02 Mar 04 - 11:26 AM
Bobjack 02 Mar 04 - 11:26 AM
Partridge 02 Mar 04 - 11:27 AM
Doktor Doktor 02 Mar 04 - 11:45 AM
The Villan 02 Mar 04 - 11:45 AM
Sttaw Legend 02 Mar 04 - 11:55 AM
Bobjack 02 Mar 04 - 11:58 AM
GUEST,ClaireBear 02 Mar 04 - 12:03 PM
pavane 02 Mar 04 - 12:05 PM
Nemesis 02 Mar 04 - 01:00 PM
Folkiedave 02 Mar 04 - 01:29 PM
Madame P At Work 02 Mar 04 - 01:42 PM
GUEST 02 Mar 04 - 01:46 PM
Little Robyn 02 Mar 04 - 01:50 PM
Herga Kitty 02 Mar 04 - 02:29 PM
Richard Bridge 02 Mar 04 - 02:34 PM
GUEST,ClaireBear 02 Mar 04 - 02:50 PM
GUEST, Mikefule 02 Mar 04 - 03:10 PM
GUEST 02 Mar 04 - 03:19 PM
Herga Kitty 02 Mar 04 - 05:07 PM
Allan C. 02 Mar 04 - 05:48 PM
GUEST 02 Mar 04 - 05:52 PM
rock chick 02 Mar 04 - 05:54 PM
Sttaw Legend 02 Mar 04 - 06:37 PM
The Fooles Troupe 02 Mar 04 - 07:03 PM
Bobjack 03 Mar 04 - 04:24 AM
Doktor Doktor 03 Mar 04 - 04:33 AM
Bobjack 03 Mar 04 - 04:36 AM
Dave Hanson 03 Mar 04 - 04:56 AM
Sttaw Legend 03 Mar 04 - 05:01 AM
Nigel Parsons 03 Mar 04 - 05:58 AM
Nigel Parsons 03 Mar 04 - 06:03 AM
GUEST 03 Mar 04 - 06:07 AM
Little Robyn 03 Mar 04 - 06:14 AM
Folkiedave 03 Mar 04 - 10:58 AM
Bobjack 03 Mar 04 - 11:08 AM
Sttaw Legend 03 Mar 04 - 11:15 AM
Dave Bryant 03 Mar 04 - 11:16 AM
Teresa 03 Mar 04 - 11:27 AM
GUEST,Train Guard 03 Mar 04 - 11:31 AM
GUEST 03 Mar 04 - 11:32 AM
GUEST,Spot the Dog 03 Mar 04 - 12:46 PM
Teresa 03 Mar 04 - 02:22 PM
GUEST 03 Mar 04 - 02:38 PM
Teresa 03 Mar 04 - 02:40 PM
LesB 03 Mar 04 - 02:44 PM
The Villan 03 Mar 04 - 03:42 PM
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Subject: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: GUEST,Curious
Date: 02 Mar 04 - 11:22 AM

Knowing I frequent folk clubs on some occasions, I have been asked what is morris dancing all about - over to you ?


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: Dave of Mawkin
Date: 02 Mar 04 - 11:23 AM

dancing


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: Cllr
Date: 02 Mar 04 - 11:26 AM

with maurice


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: GUEST,davy
Date: 02 Mar 04 - 11:26 AM

Boozing and dancing!


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: Bobjack
Date: 02 Mar 04 - 11:26 AM

on a Morris Minor.


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: Partridge
Date: 02 Mar 04 - 11:27 AM

Its great fun, but should be taken seriously as it demands a lot of hard practice.

Pat x


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: Doktor Doktor
Date: 02 Mar 04 - 11:45 AM

Its a cross between California politics and the game of cricket


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: The Villan
Date: 02 Mar 04 - 11:45 AM

Is there going to be any Morris Dancing going on on May 1st in Whitby this year. Anybody clued up on that.


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: Sttaw Legend
Date: 02 Mar 04 - 11:55 AM

Don't believe a word of it. Morris dancing is entirely a myth, as a traditional art. It was actually invented by a bunch of students from Oxford who were on their way to Wales for a folk-festival in 1964.

They were motoring up the road in a clapped out Morris 1000 when the SU fuel pump packed up.

They all piled out of the miserable old motor, and stood about looking glum. Going off to the bushes to have a piss, one of them returned with a bit of wood that he thought would make a smashing swagger stick.

When he returned to the car, one of his comrades, who wasn't very popular, had pulled out his wheezy old melodeon and began to play what he thought passed for a jig, only he never could get the timing quite right, and had to slow down in order to get all the notes in some of the passages; neither he nor his melodeon were much good at making music.

Motivated by the contents of a couple of bottles found in the boot, and by memory of a course in modern dance which they had taken when they had mistakenly thought they were signing up for crew, and hampered by the contents of a couple of bottles found in the boot, the other lads began to improvise a modern dance to the strange wheezings of the melodeon. The driver, meanwhile, decided to have one more go at starting the Minor - anything to get away from the racket.

In any case, just as the lad with the stick came 'round the back fender of the car in the midst of his Isadora Duncan impersonation, he managed to whack the car with his stick. "Oi, oi, oi, mind finish!" says the poor old rust-pile's owner.

Just then, the Morris came to life, the jolt of the dancer's stick having temporarily unstuck the contacts which motivate the fuel pump's oscillations.

Some sixty miles later, the scene was repeated, but the lads knew just what to do. As the engine starved and died, they would pull to the side of the road, get out the melodeon and the stick, and perform what came to be called the "Morris Dance," which got them all the way to the folk-festival and back.

The original Morris from which this dance originated can be seen, now preserved as a living memorial, just round the corner from Cecil Sharpe House. Unless someone's nicked it again.


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: Bobjack
Date: 02 Mar 04 - 11:58 AM

Wow! Thanks for that insight Sttaw, you have increased my education no end. I thought morris dancing went way way back to the 1950's.


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: GUEST,ClaireBear
Date: 02 Mar 04 - 12:03 PM

Just on the off chance that someone actually wanted some information, here's a link to a Morris Ring history of morris page:

clicky


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: pavane
Date: 02 Mar 04 - 12:05 PM

All wrong, of course. It was developed as medieval High-Impact Aerobics to ensure that our archers kept fit.


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: Nemesis
Date: 02 Mar 04 - 01:00 PM

The £20,000 question that Arun District Council and Littlehampton Museum in West Sussex, UK are endeavouring to answer for young people with a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund...

There! Told you there was more to Littlehampton than .. erm ...


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 02 Mar 04 - 01:29 PM

Try "The History of Morris Dancing 1483-1750" by John Forrest.
About £17.00 from Amazon. He argues it is developed from a court dance if I remember correctly.

Regards,

Dave
www.collectorsfolk.co.uk


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: Madame P At Work
Date: 02 Mar 04 - 01:42 PM

It was actually weopons training for young squires. First hankies were used whilst the novices got used to moving in unison and their stamina increased, then sticks and eventually onto swords. The young squires would then be able to protect fallen knights and horses in battles, whilst waiting for relief.

Much what the modern audience feel today.................   :)

TTFN Lady P.


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Mar 04 - 01:46 PM

"young squires.....waiting for relief" theirs a novelty


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: Little Robyn
Date: 02 Mar 04 - 01:50 PM

Thank you ClaireBear, that's most informative.
Sttaw Legend, I remember that Morris - I bought it in 1972 - for fifty pounds! I found it in Cornwall when I was staying in Padstow. It took me all round Britain, to Helston for Furry day, to the first Laycock Folk Festival, to Wells and Loughborough and eventually to Northumberland. I finally did in the big-end on the M1 trying to get to Nottingham Trad FC, to hear Colin Ross and Ray Fisher. I sold it to the junk man for six quid!
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 02 Mar 04 - 02:29 PM

John Forrest will be dancing with the Ancient Men (Oxford University Morris Men on tour)in Dorset in July, and then staging a performance of court dancing at the Sidmouth festival, if anyone wants to try spotting the link...

There's morris dancing as tradition, and morris dancing as performance... sometimes they overlap. Anyone remember Albion v Old Spot (Sidmouth 1974)?

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 02 Mar 04 - 02:34 PM

Like most dance, the form of display ritual associated with sexual attraction. Young men displaying their giant (what's the word?) leap to attract the ladies.


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: GUEST,ClaireBear
Date: 02 Mar 04 - 02:50 PM

Sticks. The word is sticks.

Unless it's hankies.


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: GUEST, Mikefule
Date: 02 Mar 04 - 03:10 PM

The question was, "What *is* it about?" not "What *was* it about?".

What it is about is whatever we want it to be about.

We are the dancers, the audience, the hangers on. We all see it differently.

I dance Morris because I have danced it for the last 20 years. I'm unlikely to give up now.

We dance it "like this" because we've always danced it "like this", except for when we used to do it a bit differently.

It's a performance, it's a sport, it's an art, it's a mystery. We can think far too deeply about it and disappear up our own backsides... but then, thinking too deeply about things is an expression of our modern culture.

It's easy to forget that future generations will look back and see us as just ordinary people, products of our own time and culture, neither more nor less traditional than the dancers of 1899, or 1797, or 1698, or er.. well you get the idea.


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Mar 04 - 03:19 PM

What is Morris Dancing about? It's about 20 minutes too long when you are sitting there watching these weird people go prancing with their white hankies and clicking their little sticks together. How do we solve the problem of too many Morris Dancers? Why put them in a room with mimes of course.


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 02 Mar 04 - 05:07 PM

Little sticks? Real morris dancers use bloody great big ones...


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: Allan C.
Date: 02 Mar 04 - 05:48 PM

I know Sttaw Legend's history to be factual because once, when I wandered the streets of London, someone sold that very same stick to me!


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Mar 04 - 05:52 PM

Mikefule has missed the whole point of Mudcat which is of course to miss the whole point of the original post.


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: rock chick
Date: 02 Mar 04 - 05:54 PM

over to you geoff the Duck, of course your get a load of Quackers


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: Sttaw Legend
Date: 02 Mar 04 - 06:37 PM

Rock Chick, as requested:

Beautiful
Orgasmic
Delectable
Heartfelt
Regions
Always
Nurtured


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 02 Mar 04 - 07:03 PM

But since the GUEST's name was Mikefule, the unnmaed GUEST has really missed the point (say the name 'Mikefule' over and over, out loud very slowly until you achive enlightment!)

Robin


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: Bobjack
Date: 03 Mar 04 - 04:24 AM

I'm not too bothered about the tradition (or lack of it) but we always enjoy any Morris dancing. It is colouful, lively, noisy fun and rather quaint, long may it continue in England.
My youngest used to be petrifeid by a bunch of dancers from Bradford who used to dance at Beverley Folk Festival, because they used to appear with blacked up faces and straggly black outfits. Anyone know who they were?


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: Doktor Doktor
Date: 03 Mar 04 - 04:33 AM

Sounds a bit like like the Bacup Coconuts.


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: Bobjack
Date: 03 Mar 04 - 04:36 AM

The dance they did involved one of them holding a stick between his legs whilst the others whacked it with their sticks, he would then make the stick shorter and shorter. Result ;my kids would literally fall about laughing.


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 03 Mar 04 - 04:56 AM

Sounds like the John Wayne Bobbit dance to me.
eric


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: Sttaw Legend
Date: 03 Mar 04 - 05:01 AM

Bobjack, seen them and know exactly who you mean, they are all ex Hull City players.


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 03 Mar 04 - 05:58 AM

Earlier thread The origins of Morris Dancing

Nigel


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 03 Mar 04 - 06:03 AM

Or, to ge a song in When this Morris dance is over

Nigel


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Mar 04 - 06:07 AM

Well it's all left to Robin and Barry now of course.


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: Little Robyn
Date: 03 Mar 04 - 06:14 AM

We do a dance called 'Bashing the Bishop' which is a bit like the dance Bobjack describes, tho' the sticks don't get shorter. We'll be doing it at the fair on Saturday!
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 03 Mar 04 - 10:58 AM

There is an article by Simon Pipe here:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/2026567.stm

When I was lecturing in an FE college there was always some smart*ss student who would seem me dancing in town and tell the class and then someone would ask. "You are morris dancer then, why do you do that?"

So I told them that I hade been all over Europe including paid trips; been on telly and in film, and on radio; Sheffield City Morris were the first (and I think only) team to go to South America; I have met country's Presidents; drunk a lot of beer and wine especially champagne for nothing; met some wonderful people all over the world, and in GB and in general had a good time that has not cost too me much.

I then used to ask them what they did. "Follow Wednesday" was the inevitable reply. (for non -Sheffielders that is "Sheffield Wednesday", supposedly a football team).

Regards,

Dave
www.collectorsfolk.co.uk


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: Bobjack
Date: 03 Mar 04 - 11:08 AM

Excellent article folkiedave. did my cheque bounce?


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: Sttaw Legend
Date: 03 Mar 04 - 11:15 AM

Why should that cheque be any different Bobbyboy


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 03 Mar 04 - 11:16 AM

The dance with the sticks held between the legs sounds a bit like one of the spoof versions of "Bean Setting" which was called "Tool Setting" there was also a Monty Python style one, "Brain Setting", where they wore knotted hankies on their heads and hit each other with rolled up newspapers to shouts of "My Brain Hurts". In the best version I saw of the latter, the penultimate man had a proper stick and the last man wore a tin helmet, so that you got Thunk-Thunk-Thunk-Thunk-Clang !   I have a feeling that these dances came from either Albion or Great Western morris sides.


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: Teresa
Date: 03 Mar 04 - 11:27 AM

hee hee! I love Morris dancing. I'll see if I can find a transcript of Stan Rogers' hilarious description of it. It's on his Home In Halifax.
Teresa


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: GUEST,Train Guard
Date: 03 Mar 04 - 11:31 AM

Why is it that most people want to talk about Cotswold Morris? What's wrong with some of the northern (clog) traditions - Lancashire Maze, Rapper, and Pace Egging?

None of these originated in court dances......

Disgusted of Manchester


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Mar 04 - 11:32 AM

the one Sttaw Legend posted early in the thread is worth a read, i'll be useing it in the future


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: GUEST,Spot the Dog
Date: 03 Mar 04 - 12:46 PM

I don't normally but here goes. I have danced morris off and on since 1978 (Northwest and Border mainly). I have also sang in folk clubs for a good bit longer (as a floor singer and semi-pro). The parallels are many and obvious. Both involve performance art that is disliked by the majority , hated by the media and make the performer some kind of involuntary curator of tradition.

Because I am involved in both aspects I perhaps see these parallels , I guess FolkieDave does too. Taking the water out of morris does it no service especially from a group of people who are living targets.

Not that I mind coz I can equally piss take either the saddo's who meet in upstairs rooms of pubs droning long forgotton songs to long forgotton audiences while bashing substandard music out of substandard instruments. Or worse who actually write some brain numbing ditty ridden with cliche about some obscure disaster hoping it will change the world....as I can out of dipsticks who dance the morris.

My point , if I have one , is that I would have hoped from this forum a more considered view.

Spot the Dog


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: Teresa
Date: 03 Mar 04 - 02:22 PM

Spot the dog, I take your point, and the artic


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Mar 04 - 02:38 PM

What is morris dancing all about?
Pain in huge amounts!
It is a form of maschocism!


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: Teresa
Date: 03 Mar 04 - 02:40 PM

Aaaaarrrrrghghgh!!! Sorry, technical difficulties there. As I was saying, i take your point with respect, and the linked articles are very informative.

However ... as to my above post: Stan Rogers' comments on Morris dancing ... and other things too. ;)


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: LesB
Date: 03 Mar 04 - 02:44 PM

In answer to 'The Villan's' Question. The answer is Yes there will, be some ritual dancing at Moor & Coast Fest at Whitby on May 1st. I will be dancing rapper & sword with Lamb & Flag, Red Rose Rapper will be busking and as for the other teams I don't know who will be there at present.

Les


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Subject: RE: Morris dancing - whats it about ?
From: The Villan
Date: 03 Mar 04 - 03:42 PM

Les
Good. As family and I will be in Whitby that week starting the 1st. Is it over that weekend?
I thought the Morris Dancers were very good last year.
Friends of ours in Brum go to that festival each year. So we meet them up there.
The evening folk at the School is a bit of a problem as we have a special needs girl and she was a bit of a handful last year.
Anyway looking forward to it.
Les


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