Friday 18 January 2019

What is Morris Dancing? - a 1976 definition

As an example of Morris Dance in the raw; this is Newcastle University's King's men rapper sword dancers - the dance was from the mining villages, designed to be performed inside pubs, in cramped spaces. The energy of the dance, and its dangers, is quite extraordinary.

(Originally, and still sometimes, this 'rapper' - or short, flexible, two-handed 'sword' - dance was performed by coal miners; and Morris dancing is associated with miners and quarrymen in many parts of Britain - leading to the speculation that originally the dance was a propitiation for man's extractions from the earth.)

I played my accordeon a couple of times for this troupe many moons ago, in rehearsal; but found the multiple repetition of the same tunes rather too boring - plus I could not keep up with the boozing.

Notice that as well as dancers there are 'comedy' elements - a dictatorial Master of Ceremonies and a Moll - macho man unconvincingly dressed as a voluptuous woman carrying something to hit people (e.g. bladder, balloon, here a feather duster).

Further discussion of the Morris Dance at Albion Awakening...

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