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origins of morris dancing

The Sandman 26 Feb 07 - 04:17 PM
bubblyrat 26 Feb 07 - 05:15 PM
RTim 26 Feb 07 - 05:26 PM
Jean(eanjay) 26 Feb 07 - 05:29 PM
skipy 26 Feb 07 - 05:32 PM
Tootler 26 Feb 07 - 05:34 PM
Jean(eanjay) 26 Feb 07 - 05:42 PM
skipy 26 Feb 07 - 06:02 PM
Bernard 26 Feb 07 - 06:26 PM
Dave the Gnome 26 Feb 07 - 07:35 PM
GUEST,Fidjit 26 Feb 07 - 11:52 PM
Les in Chorlton 27 Feb 07 - 02:51 AM
jonm 27 Feb 07 - 03:08 AM
fogie 27 Feb 07 - 04:31 AM
GUEST,buspassed 27 Feb 07 - 05:24 AM
GUEST,ib48 27 Feb 07 - 06:05 AM
GUEST,cmt49 27 Feb 07 - 07:57 PM
Jack Campin 27 Feb 07 - 08:09 PM
the one 28 Feb 07 - 03:41 AM
Les in Chorlton 28 Feb 07 - 04:02 AM
Folkiedave 28 Feb 07 - 04:17 AM
The Sandman 28 Feb 07 - 04:53 AM
Les in Chorlton 28 Feb 07 - 05:02 AM
Les in Chorlton 28 Feb 07 - 05:25 AM
Folkiedave 28 Feb 07 - 05:51 PM
The Sandman 01 Mar 07 - 02:41 AM
Les in Chorlton 01 Mar 07 - 02:56 AM
GUEST,ib48 01 Mar 07 - 07:33 AM
bubblyrat 01 Mar 07 - 07:37 AM
Les in Chorlton 01 Mar 07 - 08:53 AM
GUEST,buspassed 01 Mar 07 - 10:37 AM
Les in Chorlton 01 Mar 07 - 11:31 AM
Tootler 01 Mar 07 - 05:14 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 01 Mar 07 - 05:41 PM
Herga Kitty 01 Mar 07 - 06:20 PM
Rowan 01 Mar 07 - 09:16 PM
Gillie 02 Mar 07 - 10:08 AM
Greg B 02 Mar 07 - 08:06 PM
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Subject: origins of morris dancing
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 04:17 PM

there is an ancient window at betley staffs[dating from about 1470]which depicts morris dancers.
are there any earlier records of morris dancing,and is it of moorish origin.


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Subject: RE: origins of morris dancing
From: bubblyrat
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 05:15 PM

As Any Fule Noe, Morris Dancing originated in Bampton -In-The-Bush, and anything else is speculation & rumour. It is,once experienced, very more-ish----of that there is no doubt.Bampton was probably twinned with Betley , hence the stained-glass window commemoration of this prestigious link.


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Subject: RE: origins of morris dancing
From: RTim
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 05:26 PM

As someone who has been involved with morris for nearly 40 years - Dancing, teaching and leading teams in the traditional villages of Adderbury & Kirtlington, Oxfordshire; It is a HUGE subject.
I suggest you look at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morris_dance

I am NO good at blue clicky things on Mudcat!

This site is very good and leads you to other places.

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: origins of morris dancing
From: Jean(eanjay)
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 05:29 PM

I always thought it went back to the 15th century. Try John Forrest's book "The History of Morris Dancing 1458-1750".


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Subject: RE: origins of morris dancing
From: skipy
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 05:32 PM

Please take a look at Icknield way morris men site, there you may see photos of my 14 year old in full kit dancing out.
Proud Dad, Skipy


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Subject: RE: origins of morris dancing
From: Tootler
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 05:34 PM

Blue Clicky for RTim's link


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Subject: RE: origins of morris dancing
From: Jean(eanjay)
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 05:42 PM

Skipy, there are a lot of photos; I haven't found the one you mentioned yet but I did see a reference to 12C.


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Subject: RE: origins of morris dancing
From: skipy
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 06:02 PM

Look at present members, click on Thomas Guest.
Skipy


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Subject: RE: origins of morris dancing
From: Bernard
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 06:26 PM

It would seem the 'Moorish' connection applies mainly to dance traditions similar to (and including) the Britannia Coco-nut Dancers from Bacup, Lancashire.

Nobody really knows the full answer... there are theories that Cotswold Morris originated in European courtly dances, hence the tendency for dances in 'couples'.

Border Morris seems to be a combination of the two, and North West Morris defies both of the above explanations...

Of course, the most likely explanation is that we were invaded by aliens...

Did you know 'Line Dancing' was invented to give us Morris dancers summat to laugh at?!


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Subject: RE: origins of morris dancing
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 07:35 PM

North West Morris - Created by Blind Willie Higginthorpe of Mosley Common in 1872. After loosing his eyesight in an unfortunate accident involving 3 sticks of dynamite, 1 stick of gelignite and eleven pounds of Arkwrights tripe he was given the position of pit head bath water tester. When he discovered that rats were a serious problem in the baths he gained noteriety by being able to use his amazing hearing to stamp on the rodents running accross the shower floor. His heightened hearing gave him the ability to destroy whole colonies of the rodents by dancing on them with his clogs. North West Morris teams have tried to emulate his steps ever since.

As a side issue he also invented North West Blues music. In the early 1900's when he first heard American blues music his abiding memory was of looking in the mirror and seeing his face blackened with coal dust. When the accident occured he also suffered some memory loss and assumed he was related to the black musicians he was now so fond of. The end result was such classics as 'They call it stormy pay day' and 'Colliery wippet blues.'

Hope this helps.

Dave


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Subject: RE: origins of morris dancing
From: GUEST,Fidjit
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 11:52 PM

C Sharp discovered it at Hedingly??? in 1899.



Chas


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Subject: RE: origins of morris dancing
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 02:51 AM

This aspect of the living tradition, kindly revealed by Dave Polshaw above:

"After loosing his eyesight in an unfortunate accident involving 3 sticks of dynamite, 1 stick of gelignite and eleven pounds of Arkwrights tripe he was given the position of pit head bath water tester. When he discovered that rats were a serious problem in the baths he gained noteriety by being able to use his amazing hearing to stamp on the rodents running accross the shower floor. His heightened hearing gave him the ability to destroy whole colonies of the rodents by dancing on them with his clogs. North West Morris teams have tried to emulate his steps ever since."

was later drawn upon by Squire Townsend in his epic 1960's re-interpretation of the origins of the Morris: The Rock Opera Tommy!


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Subject: RE: origins of morris dancing
From: jonm
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 03:08 AM

The problem lies in the fact that nothing apart from the deeds of the great and good (or otherwise) among the monarchy, aristocracy and Church was recorded in any enduring form until about 1430. One of the earliest written records of life in the lowerarchy involves mention of morris i.e. it is older than written record.

There are several theories, it may have been named from the Latin (mores est = it is the custom) so could date back to Roman times. It was certainly a court entertainment in the time of Elizabeth 1 (for the Scots, yes, I know the current one is Liz One to you!). There is even a fairly ludicrous theory that it was invented in Spain by John of Gaunt and his men based on the Basque dancing (same root as the "moorish" idea) with the intention of providing court entertainment at some banquet or other.

The strength of its links and similarities with pagan (i.e. rural and pre-Christian) symbolism across Europe suggests it is much older and more "of the people" than some Tudor court entertainment.


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Subject: RE: origins of morris dancing
From: fogie
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 04:31 AM

There's a nice verse from the histrical band Elecampagne (?) which states- In a quarry in Tedddington (?) we danced all day till a man came by who said his name was Cecil, and he asked us Where'd you learn that dance, and so we told him - we saw it on the Generation game - (sung to "rivers of Babylon" )
Ive always considered this to be as good an explanation as any.


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Subject: RE: origins of morris dancing
From: GUEST,buspassed
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 05:24 AM

Not sure about the origins of Morris but clog dancing was invented in 1969 by Bill Tidy with t'Cloggies!

Fond memories of Double or Flying Arkwright [with legs akimbo!]
Hernia tariff 22.


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Subject: RE: origins of morris dancing
From: GUEST,ib48
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 06:05 AM

Who was that first nutter who donned monty python gear and pranced about like graham norton on speed?


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Subject: RE: origins of morris dancing
From: GUEST,cmt49
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 07:57 PM

Morris dancing is closely allied to other ritualistic remants of pre-christian society, like the maypole, god bless its phallic little head. The Celts probably performed the dances in rather different attire, though.


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Subject: RE: origins of morris dancing
From: Jack Campin
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 08:09 PM

There's no evidence at all of a Celtic origin for it.

It arrived in Britain at about the same time as the Gypsies, and shares some features with Indian folkdance (group stamping dances with ankle bells). So maybe they brought it?


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Subject: RE: origins of morris dancing
From: the one
Date: 28 Feb 07 - 03:41 AM

dying for a p-ss


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Subject: RE: origins of morris dancing
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 28 Feb 07 - 04:02 AM

Now, that Gypsy connection sounds interesting, any evidence whatsoever?


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Subject: RE: origins of morris dancing
From: Folkiedave
Date: 28 Feb 07 - 04:17 AM

I doubt it Les. There is a distinct similarity with Matachin which is easily googled for, also thought to be Spanish in origin.

The best reference is here.
and as usual I have a number of these books, previously cherished and at keen prices.

Dave


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Subject: RE: origins of morris dancing
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Feb 07 - 04:53 AM

I have a bOok called English Folk dances by violet alford,quite interesting, do you have this Dave.
I watched Sheffield united being beaten again.I agree with John Giles and Trevor Steven they were definitely penalties.,TV replays showed manhandling by Sheffield players,I hope for your sake they dont get relegated.


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Subject: RE: origins of morris dancing
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 28 Feb 07 - 05:02 AM

It is difficult to know what is actually known, so to speak.

The 6(?) men(?) sides of dancers in the south midlands in the 19C were certainly a collection of culture of some kind with many common features.

A common feature of 20C Morris is to seek a much older and possibly pre-christian origin. This search seems to have been most un-scholarly with people saying pretty well what they liked without much evidence and with all due respect EFDSS has not always been the best friend of serious study and I speak as a member.

I get the impression that Northwest Morris came out of nowhere during the Industrial Revolution but if people have evidence beyond Rushcarts it would be good to read it.   

What do you think are the soundset sources of evidence for the origins of these traditions?


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Subject: RE: origins of morris dancing
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 28 Feb 07 - 05:25 AM

Sorry Dave, I wrote that before I had a root through the EFDSS site. It certainly has a lot of sources. Hard to know where to start really.

Thanks


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Subject: RE: origins of morris dancing
From: Folkiedave
Date: 28 Feb 07 - 05:51 PM

Well Dick you were lucky to see the whole game we only got edited highlights herein the UK.

And I agree with other commentators that if the referee blew for every time a player put his arms around another player in the area at a corner there would be a penalty every corner.

But Gerrard dived for a penalty in the first game when Liverpool were losing - so Gerrard diving against Sheffield United is nothing new.

Violet Alford - well I have Sword Dance and Drama, Hobby Horse and other Animal Masks, Pyrenean Calendar, The Singing of the Travels, The Traditional Dance, and a whole range of books all entitled Dances of...... a huge number of European countries.


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Subject: RE: origins of morris dancing
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 02:41 AM

yes Dave, thats what needs to happen all referees should interpret the rules correctly,Then MAN HANDLING would stop.
teams should be deducted points,or given a massive fine like 500 grand,for the shannikins of chelsea and arsenal,that was much much worse than sheffield united.


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Subject: RE: origins of morris dancing
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 02:56 AM

I blame the evil and corrupt influence of Morris and Longsword on the noble tradition of football.

Young players have their heads turned by ridiculous offers of money and pies by the Godfathers of the Ring.


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Subject: RE: origins of morris dancing
From: GUEST,ib48
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 07:33 AM

les from chorlton,what are you on and can you get me some?


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Subject: RE: origins of morris dancing
From: bubblyrat
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 07:37 AM

Things tend to beget other things, and Morris Dancing was undoubtedly begotten by the need to give Melodeon players something to do with their chosen instrument following its invention ( by the Devil, some say )


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Subject: RE: origins of morris dancing
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 08:53 AM

Guest Ib48,

I have tried a number of substances but currently in Manchester my drug of choice is anything from the Marble Brewery sold through the Marble Beer House in Chorlton. It helps me to forget those damn bells, sticks and clogs!


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Subject: RE: origins of morris dancing
From: GUEST,buspassed
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 10:37 AM

Detrimental effect on football perhaps, but it did the summer game no end of good once we'd wrestled those six ash sticks and the white togs of the dancey lot!


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Subject: RE: origins of morris dancing
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 11:31 AM

Good one buspassed


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Subject: RE: origins of morris dancing
From: Tootler
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 05:14 PM

I have a CD of music from Playford's Dancing Master which features part of a painting of the Thames at Richmond, Surrey.

Prominent in the picture are Morris Dancers. There are just five dancers of which one is a woman (or a man dressed as a woman?) and one is a hobby horse. A sixth member of the team is collecting money from onlookers and the musician is playing a three hole pipe and tabor.

From the dress of the figures in the picture it looks as if it was painted in the early 17th Century so is interesting as one illustration of Morris dancing at that time.

The name of the artist is not given, but the credits on the CD say the picture is in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge (UK)


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Subject: RE: origins of morris dancing
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 05:41 PM

No, no, no! It goes much further back. Stan Rogers clued me in on the actual facts of this. It started with the cave men !! Neanderthals actually. Stan told me that is where the plodding knuckle-dragging beat first originated.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: origins of morris dancing
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 06:20 PM

John Cutting (Andy's dad) has published a book about the origins of morris, too. John danced with Herga Morris and Grand Union, and his wife Olive danced with Flowers of May (as did I) and Lord Paget's.

John Forrest danced with Datchet before he went to Oxford and became a member of Oxford University Morris Men and the Ancient Men (OUMM on tour). He published a paper on Morris and Matachin many years before his big "History of Morris Dancing". He's lived in the USA for over 20 years, and organised an Ancient Men's tour which they reckoned was intended to prove his theory that Matachin was related to Flowers of Edinburgh. Or vice versa, but in any case meant that the Ancient Men were all knackered by the time they got home.

Kitty


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Subject: RE: origins of morris dancing
From: Rowan
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 09:16 PM

So, the mixed side dancing Morris in Melbourne in 1938 weren't the first Morris side in the world!?

Well I'll be blowed!

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: origins of morris dancing
From: Gillie
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 10:08 AM

There are many different theories of where morris dancing came from. Whilst doing a project on the subject I found that Border Morris evolved from the poor in the Welsh/English border regio. They would black their faces and put on their most raggedy clothes and go and dance and sing in the streets. Their "costume" was so that their neighbours didn't recognise them, so they didn't lose face.

Of course there is the theory of moorish connections. King Richard came back from the wars with some dark skinned people who danced, wearing outlandish clothes.

Another theory ties in with fertility. Hitting the ground with sticks, encourging the crops to grow. Sticks were also used to make holes to plant the seed.

Pagan rituals also come in. Dances were done in two's (Man & Woman) three's (man, women and child) fours (man, woman and two children) etc. Three, five, seven and nine also figure strongly even today in pagan rituals.

Fasinating subject.

Gillie
(ex Morris Dancer)


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Subject: RE: origins of morris dancing
From: Greg B
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 08:06 PM

The account I wrote that made the rounds of the Morris world
some decade ago claims its actually of folk-revivial origin,
and has something to do with a Morris Minor stuck on the expressway
with a balky SU electric fuel pump, and four lads on the way to
a festival whacking it with sticks.


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