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Help me undestand Morris Dancing

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FreddyHeadey 22 Feb 17 - 05:53 AM
Gillie 12 Apr 02 - 11:09 PM
GUEST,GrayD 12 Apr 02 - 08:48 PM
John MacKenzie 12 Apr 02 - 03:24 PM
pict 11 Apr 02 - 10:58 PM
JennieG 11 Apr 02 - 09:29 PM
Bob Bolton 10 Apr 02 - 11:50 PM
Snuffy 10 Apr 02 - 08:56 AM
Herga Kitty 10 Apr 02 - 02:47 AM
Herga Kitty 10 Apr 02 - 02:46 AM
Yorkshire Tony 10 Apr 02 - 01:07 AM
GUEST,Guest 10 Apr 02 - 12:23 AM
Yorkshire Tony 09 Apr 02 - 07:46 PM
GUEST,Midchuck downstairs 09 Apr 02 - 02:27 PM
GUEST,with long hair smoking funny tobbacco 09 Apr 02 - 09:04 AM
John J 09 Apr 02 - 08:22 AM
IanC 09 Apr 02 - 07:09 AM
Dave Wynn 12 Sep 01 - 06:46 PM
GUEST,the rock 12 Sep 01 - 06:17 PM
GUEST,JohnB 12 Sep 01 - 12:37 PM
GUEST,Les/ Manchester uk 11 Sep 01 - 04:17 PM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 10 Sep 01 - 05:27 PM
wysiwyg 10 Sep 01 - 04:25 PM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 10 Sep 01 - 12:47 PM
Penny S. 03 Oct 99 - 02:07 PM
The Cisco Kid. 02 Oct 99 - 01:52 PM
Rana 01 Oct 99 - 03:02 PM
T in Oklahoma (a.k.a. Okiemockbird) 01 Oct 99 - 02:28 PM
Rana 01 Oct 99 - 02:04 PM
Andy 01 Oct 99 - 10:08 AM
Rana 01 Oct 99 - 08:12 AM
paddymac 01 Oct 99 - 06:40 AM
T in Oklahoma 30 Sep 99 - 10:07 AM
Jim Banham 30 Sep 99 - 09:09 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 30 Sep 99 - 07:58 AM
paddymac 30 Sep 99 - 04:39 AM
Len Wallace 30 Sep 99 - 02:44 AM
gint 29 Sep 99 - 08:13 PM
T in Oklahoma 29 Sep 99 - 07:57 PM
Tom on Comfort 29 Sep 99 - 01:05 AM
Roger the skiffler 28 Sep 99 - 03:23 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 28 Sep 99 - 03:15 PM
Liya 28 Sep 99 - 01:57 PM
Andy 28 Sep 99 - 08:23 AM
Rana 28 Sep 99 - 07:27 AM
Andy 28 Sep 99 - 03:15 AM
annamill 27 Sep 99 - 08:13 PM
bobby's girl 27 Sep 99 - 06:30 PM
Graham Pirt 27 Sep 99 - 04:17 PM
dwo 27 Sep 99 - 03:46 PM
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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 22 Feb 17 - 05:53 AM

BBC radio4 22 Feb 2017
Funnyish piece here by Shappi Khorsandi & Morris dancers & fertility dance.
about 35 minutes in / 9 minutes from the end.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08fdb2v 


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: Gillie
Date: 12 Apr 02 - 11:09 PM

Morris dancing - I just to love it, great fun and as already been said a chance to drink, make merry and have fun.

Whilst at college I chose to do my presentation on the subject!! I entitled it "Tradition or History?" There are many arguments ranging from fertility (human and nature) the sun, begging, pagan rights, Mooorish dancing and the thery that (1) man, meets women (2) begats a son/daughter (3), this can then be doulbled (6) and so on - giving the number of dancers in any given dance.

My favourite, has got to be one definition of where Border came from. Originating in the English/welsh borders, people found that they where short of money. Because they did not want their neighbours to know that they were begging, they doned their most ragged clothes and blackened their faces with soot from the fire.

Fasinating subject, which I throughly enjoyed researching.

Gillie


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: GUEST,GrayD
Date: 12 Apr 02 - 08:48 PM

For goodness' sake. You all know what line dancing is. Just make it competitive, add beer, an English accent and something to hit your opponent with - Morris dancing.


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 12 Apr 02 - 03:24 PM

It is like a bad joke, if you need it explaining it ceases to be funny.....Giok


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: pict
Date: 11 Apr 02 - 10:58 PM

When we saw them doing their fertility dance we knew it was time to charge over the border and fertilise their women for them.


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: JennieG
Date: 11 Apr 02 - 09:29 PM

I have heard it said (not by me, I hasten to add!) that God invented line dancing so that Morris dancers would have someone to laugh at.....
Cheers
JennieG


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 10 Apr 02 - 11:50 PM

G'day IanC,

The Bill Tidy cartoon that most sums up \The Cloggise would be the big, singlepanel, one I saw, years back, in Punch.

This in set a beer garden; all the Cloggies sitting round a huge oaken table ... packed with empty pint pots ... The leader leans back, wipes his mouth and says: "Well lads, what will we do with the rest of the Arts Council grant ...?"

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: Snuffy
Date: 10 Apr 02 - 08:56 AM

The Bidford-on-Avon tradition died out after 1914, but in the early 50s the local schoolmaster got together a side of boys to revive the tradition, drawing on the memory of some old men from the pre-1914 side.

One of those boys was Tony Parsons, great grandson of the Bidford foreman in the 1880s and 90s. The boys side disbanded in the mid-60s, but Tony still dances, as does his son, Geoffrey, with Shakespeare Morris, who still keep alive the traditional Bidford dances.

That do you?

WassaiL! V


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 10 Apr 02 - 02:47 AM

And I think it was Headington who appeared in Dr Who (and Westminster in St Trinian's and the Great Train Robbery).


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 10 Apr 02 - 02:46 AM

As far as I know there's been a more or less continuous tradition in Abingdon, Bampton, Chipping Camden, Headington Quarry ....


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: Yorkshire Tony
Date: 10 Apr 02 - 01:07 AM

How do you determine if anything has 'real heritage in the folk tradition'? This is clearly going to be a very subjective judgement. The evidence presented by Forrest strongly suggests that the Morris has almost died out and been revived on several occasions in the past six hundred years and has changed its form significantly over that period. Seen in that context, the most recent revival is very much part of the folk tradition, albeit aided by much more powerful information recording and distribution technology than was available in earlier episodes.


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 10 Apr 02 - 12:23 AM

I challenge Morris dancers to prove that what is called "Morris Dancing" today has any real heritage in the folk tradition. It had all but died out by the end of the 1900's (presumably because the folks back then decided they didn't want to look like a bunch of stupid rubes) and was resurrected in the 1930's by people who had no links (and C#'s descriptions). Hence the lack of real knowledge of the actual dances, traditions and symbolism behind Morris, aspecially among the "Sides" who are dancing?


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: Yorkshire Tony
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 07:46 PM

If you are academically inclined I suggest 'The History of Morris Dancing, 1438-1750' by John Forrest. I don't necessarily agree with his interpretation of the evidence but he has compiled a lot of interesting material.


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: GUEST,Midchuck downstairs
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 02:27 PM

What's to understand?

People put on silly costumes and bells and jump up and down waving sticks.

Naturally, the onlookers point at them, and laugh and call them nasty names, and pelt them with rotten vegetables and dead cats.

They get mad, chase the onlookers, waving the sticks, until the police grab them and lock them up as dangerous lunatics.

Then everything's peaceful until they're let out and it starts all over again.

P.


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: GUEST,with long hair smoking funny tobbacco
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 09:04 AM

Wow!


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: John J
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 08:22 AM

As an ex-dancer I don't understand it at all, but it's a load of fun!

John


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: IanC
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 07:09 AM

When this thread first turned up, I looked for Bill Tidy's "The Cloggies" on the web in vain. Now it's turned up, so I'll add my idea of an explanation of Morris Dancing here.

Cheers!
Ian


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: Dave Wynn
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 06:46 PM

I have danced Morris since 1978. I still dance in June every year for a particular team who has a day of dance for itself and not really for an audience.

Too long an explanation why.

I like it and wish I was young enough to do it all again.

So I suppose I am saying "if you don't and never have danced it then hold your peace"

I promise never to post anything about Banjo's or Blues coz I don't know anything about them worth saying.

Nuff said?

Spot the Dog


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: GUEST,the rock
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 06:17 PM

i have made my point about morris dancers previously.. watching paint dry comes to mind!!!


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: GUEST,JohnB
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 12:37 PM

That's about it Les/ Manchester uk but it is based on a very great long and noble Tradition of, just dancing about and having a drink and laugh. You should try it, it's not half bad/don't knock it until you have tried it, as applicable. JohnB (also, from Manchester uk, many years ago)


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: GUEST,Les/ Manchester uk
Date: 11 Sep 01 - 04:17 PM

So, sorted then, just dancing about and having a drink and laugh. No real origin or purpose beyond. Fair enough carry on. But nor po-faced lectures about fertility and such like


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 10 Sep 01 - 05:27 PM

I am not much good at making links, the last few times I have tried I have messed it up!


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: wysiwyg
Date: 10 Sep 01 - 04:25 PM

John, links to the other Mosrris threads would be great, for others to refer back to.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 10 Sep 01 - 12:47 PM

I am refreshing this thread because the other one has a bad title, shall we discuss morris in this one?


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: Penny S.
Date: 03 Oct 99 - 02:07 PM

But Morris dancers don't leave a heap of rubbish outside my house.

Penny


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: The Cisco Kid.
Date: 02 Oct 99 - 01:52 PM

Whats rthe difference between Morris Dancing and a mcDonalds Burger? You dont have to be shit-faced to enjoy a McDonalds Burger! Cisco.


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: Rana
Date: 01 Oct 99 - 03:02 PM

Yep,

It was the Daemons - 'twas a Cotswold stick dance. Rana


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: T in Oklahoma (a.k.a. Okiemockbird)
Date: 01 Oct 99 - 02:28 PM

I believe that was "The Daemons." The Master had become the vicar (Mr. Magister) of an English village("The soul is an out-of-date concept...looking at it existentially...") He terrorized the villagers and ordered them to celebrate May Day as usual. The Morris Dancers then went dancing into the town square and captured the Doctor. It was a stick morris they were dancing, if my memory is accurate. It's been a while, though, so I may not remember that detail quite right.

Okiemockbird (a.k.a. T in Oklahoma)


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: Rana
Date: 01 Oct 99 - 02:04 PM

Still off the actual thread, I suppose, but having evolved (devolved?) to Morris and the the good Doctor, does anyone ever remember seeing the episode of Dr. Who involving Morris dancing - The Devils - I believe. He was captured by a group of Morris dancers under the power of the evil "Fool" (who was under the power of the Master.

Rana


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: Andy
Date: 01 Oct 99 - 10:08 AM

Whilst I hate to go off subject but Morris fanatics who don't know who ????

a XXX


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: Rana
Date: 01 Oct 99 - 08:12 AM

Time And Relative Dimensions In Space (TARDIS)


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: paddymac
Date: 01 Oct 99 - 06:40 AM

Animaterra & T in OK: Aw' Gee whiz guys. I owe (or blame) it all to a pint too many. BTW, can you refresh my mind as to the meaning of TARDIS?


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: T in Oklahoma
Date: 30 Sep 99 - 10:07 AM

paddymac, congratulations on the success of your mission. But I think you need to need to check the symbiotic feedback circuits in your TARDIS.


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: Jim Banham
Date: 30 Sep 99 - 09:09 AM

I was there and agree with Selby.Didn't have chance to say goodbye.Thanks to Tony for towing our trailer off the field.


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 30 Sep 99 - 07:58 AM

....paddymac, I am speechless with awe...


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: paddymac
Date: 30 Sep 99 - 04:39 AM

T in OK and Animaterra have craic-ed the code. I had the great pleasure of making one of the earliest exploratory excursions in a vintage Tardis and can state with authority (having been told by one of the concubinal persons affiliated with the venerable Hokey Pokey and the Druids) that the otherwise seemingly inexplicable gyrations which formed the foundation of the exercise system known today as Morris' Dancing (Morris is reputed to have operated a cut-rate flop-house in the early days of the east end) grew out of a domestic dispute in which a Might in Rusty Armor, being especially vexed by a teeming wave of minute hoppers which had taken up residence under his tin-plate, ill-advisedly communicated to his/her/its domestic partner her/its/his (apparently poorly founded) suspicion that its/his/her vexation was somehow related to micro-faunal population explosions in the partner's deliberate of re-cycled bedding materials.

The practice of swinging sticks or antlers or other longer-than-wide things of variable lengths was added in response to the domestic partners' initial repy to the accusatorily presented hypothesis regarding the origin of the initial population of minute hoppers whose sudden population growth in the warm and moist confines of the Might in Rusty Armor once encased in heavily oxidized plating gave rise to the initial vexation. Later analysts have sometimes suggested that (not entirely convincingly) that this phase of the ritual actually derives from attempts by the tecnologically-challenged Might in Rusty Armor to emulate the defensive force-field which he/she/it perceived encompassing the Tardis. Having initially perceived the original dancers to be non-threateningly disposed towards our observation party, we had taken special care to minimize any possible perceptions on their part of the vastly superior technology represented by our exploration as in-any-way threatening toward them, and thus do not accept the theory of emulative technology, at least as applied to our original visitation. However, our ROD (Report Of Discovery) was enthusiastically received by the COD (Council Of Directors) upon our return and subsequently afirmatively advanced to BOD (Bored Old Duds) and presented to GOD (Goofy Old Dud), who apparently determined to place the locale on the YID (Young Innocent Duds) itinery for field observations, thus increasing the frequency of Tardial incursions and the possibility of adverse encounters between the primitives and Tardial PFFs (Protective Force Fields). A search of the FEP (Field Event Prognosticator) indicates that a more detailed hysterical report was filed next year.


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: Len Wallace
Date: 30 Sep 99 - 02:44 AM

Yup, Valerie Rogers (Stan's mom) once related to me that Stan disliked Morris Dancers and that he really was surprised when one of their favorite tunes to dance to was his song "The Idiot". somehow he found it appropriate.

I could never figure out who Morris was myself and why men are given sticks, some of them dressing as women and then trying to beat themselves with them.

Okay, okay . . it's a joke!

Speaking of jokes... What do you call annoying dancing people who hang around folk music festivals?

Morris Dancers!

It's a JOKE!!! Sheeesh... I'll make sure my back's not left unprotected at my next festival.


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: gint
Date: 29 Sep 99 - 08:13 PM

I was attending a re-enactment training session in Tintagel Cornwall U.K., as I am a watcher not a do'er I went for a Cornish pasty

On returning to the practice pasy in hand I could not get into the pub grounds as it was blocked by Morris Men violently waving their sticks (quite well done)in fact.

When I finally got back to the practice I mentioned this to the re-enactors who with much glee dashed off to rib, cajoul (take the p**s )the morris men about the way they dress

They were in various pieces and styles of armour with swords and all the accoutrements.

they couldn't see the irony


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: T in Oklahoma
Date: 29 Sep 99 - 07:57 PM

The most esthetically pleasing origin theory so far posted to this thread is poet's prarie-dog theory. Maybe it could account for longsword dancing, also.

A good source of what is known about the history of morris is Kieth Chandler, "Ribbons, Bells and Squeaking Fiddles"-The Social History of Morris Dancing in the English South Midlands, 1660-1900, Hisarlik Press, 1993.

An example of some of the interesting information found in this book: Chandler documents the displacement, between 1770 and 1870, of the pipe & tabor by the fiddle as the instrument of choice for morris accompaniment (Figure 9.1, a table of instrumentalists' birthdate-incidence by decade.)


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: Tom on Comfort
Date: 29 Sep 99 - 01:05 AM

Three cheers & a pint for a most enjoyable discussion on Morris. I've heard most of the different theories etc., but some cool new ones too.

I do like (as Andy pointed out) that there's so much pleasure taken in the dance and in the music and the cameraderie. That's quite magical, I think (without sounding too much like hokeypocitologist, I hope).

May your ankles & knees & feet last a hundred years! Goodness knows you got lots o' soul.

:) Tom


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: Roger the skiffler
Date: 28 Sep 99 - 03:23 PM

I had a friend who was a Morris dancer, went to see his "side" once. As far as I could tell the dances were to fill in the time waiting for the next round of pints! Never could work out which once was Morris. Mind you, he was a civil servant!


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 28 Sep 99 - 03:15 PM

Actually, recent research definitively states that Morris dancing was originated by the Druids
You may know the initiation rite: "You put your right foot in...."
Allison-ducking-and-running-for-cover


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: Liya
Date: 28 Sep 99 - 01:57 PM

In regards to Stan Roger's comments about Morris Dancers: I wonder if Stan would be amused that The Idiot is in fact a very popular dance among several San Francisco Bay Area Morris teams. hee hee.

Liya, Squire, Mayfield Morris and Sword


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: Andy
Date: 28 Sep 99 - 08:23 AM

Hi Rana,

At the risk of diverting the list - probably would be the answer - I danced with Whiteknights men as well as the girls side. As the other mails on the list have indicated Morris was always a good excuse for a few beers and a sing song. I shall decline to give the Morris definition of 'few'.

I'm also still here and about to begin dancing again ! Praps, I spend most of my time calling for Barn dinces etc. now.

A X


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: Rana
Date: 28 Sep 99 - 07:27 AM

Hi Andy,

I wonder if we ever bumped into each other at Whiteknight's - The closest I got to Morris in my Reading U. days (72-75) was Morris On and meeting someone I knew in kit at the Student's Union Building. Little did I realise that I'd take it up 10 years later.

Cheers Rana


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: Andy
Date: 28 Sep 99 - 03:15 AM

I only look a these pages rarely and follow odd threads through. Great to see - at last - a bunch of reasonably minded morris based souls, concentrating on enjoying the dance and not worrying about 'preserving the traditions in aspic' especially good to see the admission that the original roots of the dance cannot be truly traced and that there are a number of options. The main thread of the discussion should have caused many of the old die hard Morris ring members to turn prematurely (assuming that some of them aren't actually dead already !) in their graves. Sadly much of it all was no help to the original enquiry. The answer seems to be we don't B Know but we damm well enjoy it.

I am currently working on a 21st Centuryt version of the Tardis partly intended to help understand the roots of this tradition. It may even give us the chance to get a true perspective on Cecil Sharpe as good intentioned though he was he was wrong in many areas but hell he was our first archivist in real terms of something which was dying. So any more kwestions and I would be pleased to take them along on my first voyage when ever (or is it if ever) I complete this damm Portaloo. Trouble is it keeps turning upside down and flooding when you land.

Also good to see the girls getting recognition. When girls (I hope that is not offensive to our female alter egos ?) first started at Reading Uni here there was a lot of uproar about Wimin doin Morris (back int '70s) But cheers to Windsor who joined us on our first tour. Sorry I am a man but what the hell no one is perfect !!!!!

My final point is can you all continue to spread the word about enjoyment of the dance - I'm sure the original enquirer must have seen a good side as I have heard so many comments lately about how boring it can all look when all these old men prance about with serious expresssion on their faces. I'M sure the original dancers way back whenever and wherever did not wear ballet shoes and iron their hankies absolutely flat !!!! Still the Portaloo will prove or disprove that theory.

Now that should start a row !

Tarrraaa

A. XX


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: annamill
Date: 27 Sep 99 - 08:13 PM

This sounds very interesting. Is Morris Dancing anything like the dance done in Germany, where they slap their feet and each other?

Will there be any Morris Dancing done at FSGW? Are there any groups in New Jersey or around it?

Love, annap


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: bobby's girl
Date: 27 Sep 99 - 06:30 PM

Graham Pirt - I shall take you to task for that remark when next I see you. Wildlone - If we saw any underground mutton we'd have to stop dancing and go home! The Morris actually combines Tophill and Underhill amicably, with a few Kimberlins included. (We have now totally confused the rest of the world!)


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: Graham Pirt
Date: 27 Sep 99 - 04:17 PM

There are some around who think that "Morris Dancing" is an oxymoron!


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Subject: RE: Help me undestand Morris Dancing
From: dwo
Date: 27 Sep 99 - 03:46 PM

I had a similar and equally unforgettable experience of the Abbott's Bromley Horn Dance, at Mendocino English Week a couple of summers ago. And Peter Kennedy, when first performing the dance he helped work out, wrote of a tremendously powerful experience for dancers and audience alike. So here in North America we have created a powerful, meaningful and moving tradition. It is quite distinct from the "real" tradition as it has evolved back in Abbott's Bromley. Both are alive, growing, changing. But no one should mistake the North American tradition for an authentic survival of pagan ritual.


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