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Morris Dancers-why do you dance?

GUEST,Andy 05 Jan 06 - 04:07 PM
GUEST, Topsie 05 Jan 06 - 07:24 AM
Grab 05 Jan 06 - 07:13 AM
GUEST, Topsie 05 Jan 06 - 07:00 AM
Wyrd Sister 05 Jan 06 - 06:56 AM
Manitas_at_home 05 Jan 06 - 01:54 AM
GUEST 04 Jan 06 - 08:51 PM
thefunkysocksgirl 04 Jan 06 - 08:19 PM
Wyrd Sister 04 Jan 06 - 07:05 PM
GUEST,neovo 01 Dec 05 - 03:40 AM
jonm 01 Dec 05 - 03:19 AM
JohnB 30 Nov 05 - 03:39 PM
Mo the caller 29 Nov 05 - 06:00 PM
concertina ceol 29 Nov 05 - 05:28 PM
Herga Kitty 29 Nov 05 - 02:40 PM
Bunnahabhain 29 Nov 05 - 01:29 PM
GUEST,barnetfolkbabe 29 Nov 05 - 11:29 AM
LesB 29 Nov 05 - 08:14 AM
Crystal 29 Nov 05 - 06:39 AM
GUEST 28 Nov 05 - 01:53 PM
Wyrd Sister 28 Nov 05 - 10:58 AM
Mr Fox 28 Nov 05 - 09:45 AM
GUEST,Rumncoke 27 Nov 05 - 07:56 PM
Folkiedave 27 Nov 05 - 06:47 PM
GUEST 27 Nov 05 - 02:20 PM
Fidjit 27 Nov 05 - 11:04 AM
GUEST,Mr Happy 27 Nov 05 - 10:19 AM
Midchuck 27 Nov 05 - 10:07 AM
GUEST,Billy 27 Nov 05 - 09:27 AM
GUEST,DB 27 Nov 05 - 09:13 AM
Azizi 27 Nov 05 - 08:32 AM
GUEST,Lee Edge 27 Nov 05 - 04:44 AM
Wyrd Sister 27 Nov 05 - 04:21 AM
Azizi 26 Nov 05 - 06:51 PM
Bunnahabhain 26 Nov 05 - 05:02 AM
Wyrd Sister 26 Nov 05 - 04:43 AM
Sue the Borderer 25 Nov 05 - 06:57 PM
Sue the Borderer 25 Nov 05 - 06:56 PM
GUEST,Bill the sound 25 Nov 05 - 05:55 PM
Bainbo 25 Nov 05 - 05:08 PM
Wilfried Schaum 25 Nov 05 - 04:42 PM
LesB 25 Nov 05 - 04:37 PM
Little Robyn 25 Nov 05 - 03:13 PM
AlexB 25 Nov 05 - 01:20 PM
Sue Wilcock 25 Nov 05 - 12:13 PM
GUEST,Bill the sound 25 Nov 05 - 12:07 PM
GUEST,Pavane 25 Nov 05 - 12:02 PM
GUEST,Bizibod 25 Nov 05 - 11:38 AM
the lemonade lady 25 Nov 05 - 11:21 AM
AggieD 25 Nov 05 - 10:27 AM
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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: GUEST,Andy
Date: 05 Jan 06 - 04:07 PM

Its from Reaper Man


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: GUEST, Topsie
Date: 05 Jan 06 - 07:24 AM

Lords and Ladies?


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: Grab
Date: 05 Jan 06 - 07:13 AM

Mr Fox, I thought I knew all the Pratchett books inside out, but that quote has me stumped. Where's it from?


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: GUEST, Topsie
Date: 05 Jan 06 - 07:00 AM

Whiskers, try here

http://www.charman.force9.co.uk/obj/objsides.html


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: Wyrd Sister
Date: 05 Jan 06 - 06:56 AM

Go for it Whiskers - there's something there to suit anyone!


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 05 Jan 06 - 01:54 AM

TRy this link for Side Finder http://www.morrisdancing.org/finder/sfcgi.html


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Jan 06 - 08:51 PM

O.K.   Several of us (most of us) play some instrument and/or sing. Since we have time to be involved in this FORUM it is reasonble to assume that we are not full time or big time making a lot of bucks out of it. So why do we do it. SIMPLE - because we love it. Let us not be so tunnel-visioned that we can not accept that other people do other things out of love for it. THERE'S YER ANSWER... LOVE.


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: thefunkysocksgirl
Date: 04 Jan 06 - 08:19 PM

wow, sounds great! have always wanted to have a go, but no idea where to start... and anyway, I thought it was boys only, though I guess this has changed a bit in recent years...?

where can I go near Reading in Berkshire for a bit of dancin' then...?!


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: Wyrd Sister
Date: 04 Jan 06 - 07:05 PM

Refresh


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: GUEST,neovo
Date: 01 Dec 05 - 03:40 AM

All of the above plus when you're walking round in your clogs and bells at a Christmas do the crowds part to let you get to the stalls. Seriously though, it's not just the actual dancing, it's all the stuff that goes with it like making firm friends, having a good sing at the end of the day, visiting interesting places etc etc.


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: jonm
Date: 01 Dec 05 - 03:19 AM

Most of my reasons are above, I've been doing it for 28 years (and I'm not yet 40!).

What saddens me most is this: When you go into Europe or Scandinavia and meet the local dance teams, they do not struggle for members, people are proud to participate in their local and national traditions, even when they are tedious circle dances. When they see morris danced properly, they marvel at the vigour, the violence and the precision and think it's wonderful. Then you come back to England and Joe Public and the press just take the p!ss.


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: JohnB
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 03:39 PM

All of the above reasons are very valid, though I think that the "Harley Davidson" biker types say it the best way.
(if this is not perfect it's pretty close) "IF YOU HAVE TO ASK, YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND!"
What a GREAT community, of which I am proud to be a small part.
JohnB


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 29 Nov 05 - 06:00 PM

For all injured and retired Morrispersons, try Playford dancing. You still got the joys of the music, fellowship, and movement even if the excersise is (sometimes) more gentle.
As with most forms of folk you can walk into a club in a strange town and be among friends who will greet you in the street the next day.
As for it being a waste of playing time someone said "Dance is music made visible". I prefer to respond to the music with my whole body, or,when I'm calling, with a room full of other peoples bodies. That may be because I'm not co-ordinated enough to make good music with my fingers (I can't clog dance either).
Oh the buzz of getting a difficult dance right. And the fun getting through a dance even if its gone wrong (I can go hopelessly wrong while trying to watch out for a beginner).
Happy dancing, whatever type is for you.


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: concertina ceol
Date: 29 Nov 05 - 05:28 PM

Fokiedave

Following "Wednesday" and Morris are not mutually exclusive!

I've got one to lift me up and the other to bring me down :-)


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 29 Nov 05 - 02:40 PM

I danced North West for about 10 years, until both knees were knackered and I endorse everything Barnetfolkbabe said. I wouldn't have attempted Cotswold because I don't think hourglass figures and Cotswold are compatible or aesthetic and anyway my centre of gravity was/ is in the wrong place.

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: Bunnahabhain
Date: 29 Nov 05 - 01:29 PM

We could ask why not everybody dances. Not just morris, but any kind of structured dance. Any dance form that requires you to learn steps, and formations, to listen to music, to dance with other people will do.

They'll all be good exercise, and will be fun.


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: GUEST,barnetfolkbabe
Date: 29 Nov 05 - 11:29 AM

I took it up because my boyfriend did it and I was fed up with being a hanger on. A secondary reason was that it looked like a fun way to get fit. I haven't regretted it for a second - I went to 11 festivals this year and didn't pay for a single one! I have made some fabulous friends and had some wonderful times. I agree with the comments about the buzz you get from being a well oiled machine - I've had many "buzzy" moments this year.

And also looking forward to Straw Bear - one of the highlighhts of the year on Planet Morris.


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: LesB
Date: 29 Nov 05 - 08:14 AM

I would quite like to wear white trousers. I dance longsword & we wear navy blue cords. Very hot in summer.
Cheers
Les


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: Crystal
Date: 29 Nov 05 - 06:39 AM

GUEST Find a side which wears black trousers insted!


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Nov 05 - 01:53 PM

I've always wanted to, but the white pants scare me.


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: Wyrd Sister
Date: 28 Nov 05 - 10:58 AM

As indeed you do, sir!


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: Mr Fox
Date: 28 Nov 05 - 09:45 AM

"In the village in the Ramtops where they understand what the Morris dance is all about, they dance it just once, at dawn, on the first day of spring. They don't dance it after that, all through the summer. After all, what would be the point? What use would it be?
But on a certain day when the nights are drawing in, the dancers leave work early and take, from attics and cupboards, the other costume, the black one, and the other bells. And they go by separate ways to a valley among the leafless trees. They don't speak. There is no music. It's very hard to imagine what kind there could be.
The bells don't ring. They're made of octiron, a magic metal. But they're not, precisely, silent bells. Silence is merely the absence of noise. They make the opposite of noise, a sort of heavily textured silence.
And in the cold afternoon, as the light drains from the sky, among the frosty leaves and in the damp air, they dance the other Morris. Because of the balance of things.
You've got to dance both, they say. Otherwise you can't dance either."

- Terry Pratchett


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: GUEST,Rumncoke
Date: 27 Nov 05 - 07:56 PM

When I was a lot younger I used to go out walking in all weathers - occasionally I used to meet the search and rescue people and had to beat them off with my stick because I didn't want to be rescued.

One Midwinter's Eve I walked to the top of a ridge and found myself in the middle of a small stone circle, standing on a large flat stone.

The sky was completely clear with a large moon - it might even have been full, already high in the sky. The sun's disk was between two stones and two hills, and it is exactly 180 degrees from the position of the sunrise on Midsummer Day. There was no sign of Human habitation, no sound - it could have been the last day of the world. There was a light dusting of snow and the breeze was ice cold.

We danced Long Morris at school, for a term or two, and I danced it there around the stone with the thud of my feet the only sound.

I knew nothing of anything much in those days - but I danced down the sun wearing my black weatherproofs. It seemed to be something that should be done and that things were better for it being done.

Anne


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 27 Nov 05 - 06:47 PM

I too took up the habit - I have since stopped.

For many years I was asked this question by students of mine who saw me dancing in Sheffield.

I used to answer as follows:

It keeps me reasonably fit and gives me a reason to go to the pub which my wife does not question.

I have been all around Europe, met civic and country's leaders. I have often been offered (and I confess accepted) the most stunning hospitality summed up with the legendary Sheffield City cry, "No more champagne for me!". (The team went to South America - I was not with them).

I have met some great people from all over the world at festivals and morris weekends, and some of these have been extremely attractive members of the opposite sex. Only the fact that I am married has stopped me wanting to take advantage of this.

To sum up, I have had a wonderful twenty odd years of travel, alcohol and so on........

I then used to ask what they did.

The usual answer was, "I follow Wednesday!"

(For those who do not know who "Wednesday" are, they are purportedly a football (soocer) team from Sheffield).

http://www.citymorris.f9.co.uk/


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Nov 05 - 02:20 PM

Hi everyone.....mt name is Dave Wynn and I am a morris dancer. I have been clean now for almost 5 years if you don't count a one day a year dance out for a local side. It ruined my life and destroyed my family. Friends rejected me and I was in endless bother with the police for having to feed my habit.

I hit the gutter around 5 years back with almost 6 continuous weeks of dancing at festivals and ceilidh's. When you are down there man you get time to reflect on what could have been had I not been stupid enough to have my first dance fix. Then another and another and by then it's too late. Hooked!!

I am trying to rebuild my life and marriage and with a little help and encouragement I may just make it.

To anyone out there considering fooling with the hard stuff like Northwest or Border just say no. Even a toke on Cotswold will eventually lead to the slippery slope. Don't do it friends. I have been there and it was hell.

DW


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: Fidjit
Date: 27 Nov 05 - 11:04 AM

No Celtic Muzak. I know that remark might be considered racist.
Boy am I looking forward to the, "Straw Bear" at Whitlesey. Come and see why we like it. More melodeons than you can shake a stick at. Good sessions of "English" music. And the dancing. Great.


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: GUEST,Mr Happy
Date: 27 Nov 05 - 10:19 AM

I did Morris in a mixed side.

I took it up to lose a bit of weight & get fitter.

never liked the idea of keep fit + exercise just for its own sake, so Morris was a perfect way to combine folking about & fitness- takes a lot of strength & stamina too!

always thought of it as 'Folkmobility'!!


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: Midchuck
Date: 27 Nov 05 - 10:07 AM

People throw rotten vegetables and dead cats at them, so they don't have to pay for food.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: GUEST,Billy
Date: 27 Nov 05 - 09:27 AM

muddleC, you said it all, vulgar trash modern culture vs. decent folk keeping traditions alive ------ no contest!!


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: GUEST,DB
Date: 27 Nov 05 - 09:13 AM

I read somewhere that there are more Morris Dancers now than there have ever been, ever. If you ever go to Whittlesey, in the Fens, on Plough Monday, you can actually believe that the previous statement might be true. Mind you, if you do go, you're in serious danger of hypothermia (I noted a big line of brass monkeys outside the welding shop, last time I went!).


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: Azizi
Date: 27 Nov 05 - 08:32 AM

Wyrd Sister,

In light of your comment about people thinking you racist because you participate in Morris dancing, I feel the need to state that I certainly don't think that Morris dancers are racists just because they are Morris dancers.

I admit that one custom of that dancing-blackening the faces-still bothers me. However, I now believe that that custom is not meant to be interpreted as racist.

I hope that in posting this comment I do not detract from your positive, uplifting thread. I would sincerely regret that.

I have already exchanged comments with folks about blackening up on an earlier Mudcat thread, and will not do so on this thread.

Best wishes,

Azizi


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: GUEST,Lee Edge
Date: 27 Nov 05 - 04:44 AM

Social cohesion? Imagine a football stadium full of Morris dancers at full pelt. How different would it really be to a 'rave' venue in Ibiza?


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: Wyrd Sister
Date: 27 Nov 05 - 04:21 AM

Thank YOU, Azizi. I was made to feel not just an outsider but almost racist in my former workplace because of my interest in, and love for, English tradition. Your reply and those of others validate that interest. Being thanked for it is a new experience!

Keep 'em coming, folks!


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: Azizi
Date: 26 Nov 05 - 06:51 PM

As a definite outsider to Morris Dancing, I want to add my thanks for this thread to Wyrd Sister and the other posters.

I am learning from reading the comments, and can identify with the feeling of being one with a community, and having the music energize you. From your comments, I can also imagine that Morris dancing can be both hard work and fun.

I appreciate your interest in preserving and passing on your traditions.

Thanks again.

Azizi


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: Bunnahabhain
Date: 26 Nov 05 - 05:02 AM

I dance Scottish country for much the same reasons. Great people, great fun, good exercise before it cripples you, lots of good tunes about ( but not so many as morris) and so on.

Dancing in public, and making it look good is fun as well. It doesn't have to be right, but if it looks good and it works, it feels great. Feels even better when something goes totally wrong, and no-one outside the set notices. You can tell when that hapens as the 'stage smiles' dissapear to be replaced with real ones.


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: Wyrd Sister
Date: 26 Nov 05 - 04:43 AM

Sue -forgiven for such an excellent reply!


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: Sue the Borderer
Date: 25 Nov 05 - 06:57 PM

Woops. Sorry Wyrd Sister
Sue


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: Sue the Borderer
Date: 25 Nov 05 - 06:56 PM

Thanks for the thread, Weird Sister. It's really made me think.

I dance because I enjoy it; because it's fun. Yes, it does use energy (and drinking and playing time, Paul) but it also energizes me and makes me feel fully alive.

An excellent taster workshop at Sidmouth 3 years ago gave me the chance to try Cotswold, Border, North West and Molly - and I knew immediately that it was Border I wanted to do. I liked the special 'Border energy' - the sort of "whuumphf' it has. When else can you shriek and yell in public and waive big sticks about without getting arrested?

My mother's words to me whenever I did anything slightly showy as a child were "Susan! Don't make an exhibition of yourself!" Maybe it's taken til now for Border to liberate me from those words and from worrying about what others think.

When I dance with my 'proper side' and we get it right I too get that sublime feeling Bainbo describes so well. When I dance with 'Herbaceous Border', the scratch side I help run, the buzz comes from encouraging other people - often non-dancers - to have a go and to hear them exclaim "Wow! That was fun!"


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: GUEST,Bill the sound
Date: 25 Nov 05 - 05:55 PM

The kindest thing they ever said to was-
you seem to endup in the right place at the right time but how the Hell did you get there?


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: Bainbo
Date: 25 Nov 05 - 05:08 PM

I've been a member of two teams one Cotswold one border. Border was more fun because there's more sticks and more violence. The teams, in truth, weren't among the best - at least not while I was member. (We did scare the cr@p out of a townful of Germans on a twinning visit once, though that's a different story.)

But on the odd occasions when we did it right, it felt sublime. A bit like what playing for a top-class football team must feel like. You knew exactly where to go, exactly where your mates were going to go and how you were going to interact with them, feeling the music and moving to it. Like being part of a well-oiled machine - and we were well-oiled pretty much most of the time. And we were usually appreciated.

Keeping alive a tradition, I'm afraid, came a pretty poor second.


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 25 Nov 05 - 04:42 PM

Seldom enjoyed so much reading a thread. Carry on, lads (oops, and lassies)


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: LesB
Date: 25 Nov 05 - 04:37 PM

It's the only exercise that i've ever enjoyed.
I help keep alive a tradition.
For the great social life.
A natural extension of my interest in folk music.
My natural cussidness in the face of people telling me how I should behave & what I should look like ( ie. the fashion police).
Because it is deceidedly un-trendy (see above).
I love the tunes.
Morris dancers know all the best pubs.
Because I still can (knees willing).
Cheers
Les


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: Little Robyn
Date: 25 Nov 05 - 03:13 PM

I've given up dancing but been the musician for our local side for the past 14 years.
I love the music - the changes of key or when you get to the slows - tunes like Saturday night on, or William and Nancy.
It's a regular music night for me. The dancers think they're calling the tunes but I set the speed and I reckon they're dancing for me!
But there are some things we don't dance because I have bother with the tune - like Haste to the wedding and Song of the chanter. I've nearly mastered Cuckoo's nest! Perhaps not quite good enough for a dance out, but reasonable for practise night.
I guess most of my repertoire comes from Morris On and Son of Morris On - great tunes.
And it is like a secret society - we usually dance the sun up from the top of Te Mata peak at mid-winter, and dance in the Hastings spring blossom festival parade each year. Kiwis love us - its only ex-pat Brits who rubbish us.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: AlexB
Date: 25 Nov 05 - 01:20 PM

Great fun, sillly people... oh, and I was told "your dad has joined a side, now you have NO excuse"


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: Sue Wilcock
Date: 25 Nov 05 - 12:13 PM

Some young people are joining Morris sides and carrying on the tradition. My son saw our local side in the carnival when he was six and asked them if he could join. They let him and at thirteen he's still dancing with them. Other young people have joined since and the team now ranges in age from 8 to 72. One of our 18 year olds (a fairly recent recruit) reckons Morris kit is a great tool for chatting up girls, and being chatted up by them.


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: GUEST,Bill the sound
Date: 25 Nov 05 - 12:07 PM

BECAUSE THEY CAN!
I tried it and soon found out I couldn't.
Also Why do folk singers sing?


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: GUEST,Pavane
Date: 25 Nov 05 - 12:02 PM

Call it Medieval High-Impact Aerobics - it fulfils all the requirements. Maybe that will pull in the recruits.


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: GUEST,Bizibod
Date: 25 Nov 05 - 11:38 AM

Because it's special and it's magic!It feels like a connection to people who've lived before,it's more than dancing, it's an uncontrollable urge, when you hear the music it's got you!


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: the lemonade lady
Date: 25 Nov 05 - 11:21 AM

cos they have wet hankies!

8D


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Subject: RE: Morris Dancers-why do you dance?
From: AggieD
Date: 25 Nov 05 - 10:27 AM

I danced the Morris for over 20 years, & still play for the side, but can't dance because of injuries, which my doctor ascribed to too much Morris dancing! Nevertheless I have had a spectacularly fun time.

I've met so many fantastic people (although I have also met some pedantic idiots)and made so many friends through the dancing, that I hope to be able to at least play for many years.

I also like to think that we've given many people entertainment. Whenever we dance most people do stop & watch & the little kids just love to dance around to the music as well.

The trouble is that because Morris is so ridiculed & sidelined, we aren't getting enough young people coming in to carry on the tradition, & many of the teams that started up in the 70's & 80' are really struggling or dieing out altogether.


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