Morris Dance

Morris dance is a form of English folk dance usually accompanied by music. It is based on rhythmic stepping and the execution of choreographed figures by a group of dancers, usually wearing bell pads on their shins. Implements such as sticks, swords and handkerchiefs may also be wielded by the dancers. In a small number of dances for one or two men, steps are performed near and across a pair of clay tobacco pipes laid across each other on the floor.

Claims that English records dating back to 1448 mention the morris dance are open to dispute. There is no mention of "morris" dancing earlier than the late 15th century, although early records such as Bishops' "Visitation Articles" mention sword dancing, guising and other dancing activities as well as mumming plays. Furthermore, the earliest records invariably mention "Morys" in a court setting, and both men and women are mentioned as dancing, and a little later in the Lord Mayors' Processions in London. It is only later that it begins to be mentioned as something performed in the parishes. There is certainly no evidence that it is a pre-Christian ritual, as is often claimed.

In modern day, it is commonly thought of as a mainly English activity, although there are around 150 morris sides (or teams) in the United States. British expatriates form a larger part of the morris tradition in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Hong Kong. There are isolated groups in other countries, for example those in Utrecht and Helmond, Netherlands; the Arctic Morris Group of Helsinki, Finland and Stockholm, Sweden; as well as in Cyprus; and Alsace, France.

Read more about Morris DanceName and Origins, History in England, Styles, Music, Terminology, Modern Dance, Evolution, Namesakes

Other articles related to "morris dance, dances, dance, morris":

Maud Karpeles - Bibliography
... Maud Karpeles "The Lancashire Morris Dance, containing a description of the Royton Morris Dance, collected and edited by Maud Karpeles" (London Novello Company) (1930 ... Beard) "Dances of England Wales" (1950) A ...
Morris Dance - Namesakes
... The dance may have given name to the board games three men's morris, six men's morris and nine men's morris. 16 realistic animated wooden figures in the late 15th century called the morris dancers ... Two ships named Morris Dance have served in the Royal Navy ...
Folk Music Of England - Forms of Folk Music - Morris Dance
... A morris dance is a type of English folk dance, usually accompanied by music, and based on rhythmic stepping and the execution of choreographed figures by a group of ... The name is thought to derive from the term 'moorish dance', for Spanish (Muslim) styles of dance and may derive from English court dances of the period ... References have been found that suggest that morris dance dates back to the mid-15th century, but claims of pre-Christian origins are now largely dismissed ...

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