Morris Dance

Morris is a traditional English folk dance form originating hundreds of years ago. Shakespeare called it "the ancient art", and the earliest official records in the 1300s are of arrests for dancing when the Church forbade it.

There are several styles of Morris dancing practiced enthusiastically by sides around the world today.

The "Cotswold" style has dances from villages in that region of England, including Adderbury, Upton, Bucknell, Bampton, Bleddington and Fieldtown, and features hankies or sticks, complex figures and graceful capers. The "Border" style hails from the Welsh border region of England and is distinguished by the brightly coloured flaring costumes worn by dancers, so called 'tatters'. The dances involve hearty stick clashing and loud whoops. Both styles are accompanied by the jangling of bells worn on the dancers' lower legs.

In Toronto, there are two groups of clog dancers, who perform intricate steps wearing clogs with wooden soles. Clogs were common footware for the women who worked in industrial jobs in Northern England. In addition, there are two groups in the Toronto area who carry on the traditional form of sword dancing.

The usual musical instruments accompanying Morris dances are the accordian (or concertina), fiddle, whistle (or pipe) and drums.
Dancers wear traditionally derived costumes, often featuring a white shirt, black or white pants, and colourful waistcoats, tabbards (short tunics) or baldricks (crossed sashes).
For more information, see