Thanks for visiting, lovely tosee you especially as today we are linking up with the FAST blog for Five on Friday.
As one of the traditional days for morris dancing is 1st May, which is amazingly just round the corner, today my five is all about this English tradition.
One - What is it?
Morris Dance is an English folk dance accompanied by music. The earliest record shows it taking place in he reign of King Henry VII in the 1500s as part of court entertainment but it then spread to large houses and village entertainment. Today most Morris clubs are revivals and at the turn of the Millennium, there were 800 clubs in the UK and 1000 worldwide. The dances are based on rhythmic stepping and choreographed figures, often with bells, handkerchiefs and implements waved overhead. A band of musicians accompanies the dancers as does a fool or a mythical beast.
There are several different types of dance coming from different parts of the UK: Cotswold, Border from the Welsh Borders, Molly Dancing, Rush Bearing, Rapper Sword Dancing, Longsword Dancing and North West Dancing. Each with different origins and using different types of costumes and equipment. For instance the Border type usually blacken their faces and Molly dancers have at least one man dressed as a woman.
Three - Costumes
My photos are of the Barley Brigg Morris Club that are based in Suffolk. They dance in the North West Morris tradition. You can see that their costumes consist of red socks, colourful flowered hats, with blue and white skirts for the women and blue breeches with a red sash for the men. They use a variety of implements from ribbon or plain sticks, short sticks covered in bells to heavy wooden bobbins and cotton rope slings with weighted ends.
Other forms of Morris have other traditions, some wearing costumes of rags, others are all in white with bells below the knee, some have black breeches and a white shirt covered in rosettes with flexible swords. Some look quite scary all in black.
Four - Music
Originally the dancers would be accompanied by pipe and tabor but these days you see fiddles, accordions, concertinas and tambourines with drums, even brass bands in the North West. Tunes played can be quite old or from the music hall era with songs adapted to fit the dances.
Five - The Morris Ring
The Morris Ring is the National Association of Morris Clubs which promotes Morris dancing and maintains its traditions. Have a look at the website to see much more about each type of morris dance.
If you'd like to see them dance, have a look at this YouTube video.
Many thanks Carly and Tricky.