Saturday, May 07, 2005

A True Morris-Man

This past week marked my first visit to the Greenwood Morris practice, to learn some Morris tunes on the tin whistle in preparation for accompanying "the side" in its performances at the 53rd annual Florida Folk Festival later this month.

Before long they'll get me dancing, and I'll be on my way to becoming a true Morris-man.
"When he is dancing, the true Morris-man is serious of countenance, yet gay of heart; vigorous, yet restrained; a strong man rejoicing in his strength, yet graceful, controlled, and perfectly dignified withal." -- Cecil Sharp
Truth be told, I can't wait. I'm a pushover for tradition, and Morris dancing goes back centuries. Neither I nor the Clog-wife are strangers to dancing. She, Irish, Appalachian clogging, contra, and Morris dancing; I, contra, Appalachian clogging, and soon, Morris. And we're both learning some basic Cape Breton strathspey stepdance figures to perform in the Fall at another venue.

Here is a lengthy article documenting 150 years of Morris fiddlers and dancers in Bampton, England, ancient Oxfordshire home of some of the dances that are performed by Greenwood Morris of Gainesville, Fl. Very old photographs of Morris dancers and numerous footnoted references are highlights of this article.

There are Morris sides practicing and performing all over the globe.

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