Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Morris Dancing on Promenade

Out for an evening jog, I could see something going on, on the south side of the Promenade. From a distance, I thought it was a group of cheerleaders throwing pom-poms. As I got a bit closer I all I could think of was that it was Greek dancing (Dancing Zorbas stuck in my head).

But as I stopped running, I saw a group of about 8 men, with bells strapped to their shins, wearing white pants and shirts, dancing a bit like Michael Flatly with scarves, while a fiddle/violin and accordian played a jig-like melody. Foreigners from the Old Country (wherever that may be) in town to perform in a festival? Nope, it was a Morris Dance group and the fun was just beginning.

Next it was the women's turn. Dressed in straw hats and a similar outfit with blue vests, they also danced a jig of sorts. It seemed like a mix of Irish dancing and how people dance around a May Pole.

Act after act, I stood there mouth agape ("close your mouth please, we are not a cod fish") but also smiling widely as I grew more and more amazed at what I had stumbled upon.

Finally, I watched a group of about 6 women dance with flexible swords that had handles on each end. It was absolutely amazing!

So what is Morris dancing? It is an old English form of dancing from the Cotswolds among other places. Apparently the sword dancing originated in the North of England. I asked one of the dancers more about it and he said he didn't think any of the dancers were themselves British, they just all loved to dance.

I'll see if I can "borrow" some pictures from another blog later today. There were so many cameras in the crowd, someone else has to have blogged about this.

Here's a video of Morris Dancing from 1929:

3 Comments:

Blogger Katie said...

Very cool! We're going to have to give that a try... perhaps find some lessons? Goes to show that running is the absolute best way to stumble upon things :)

1:24 PM  
Blogger Jim M. said...

It is a lot of fun. I've been on teams in Philadelphia and Bloomington IN, and now that I'm moving to Pittsburgh we're setting up a team there. Our Bloomington website, http://www.bloomington.in.us/~morris has links to some of the UK organizations of teams.

11:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought this dance had something to do with the planting of the crops in England

Mom

I am serious!!

10:50 AM  

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