A morris dance is a form of English folk dance usually accompanied by music. It is based on rhythmic stepping and the execution of choreographed figures by a group of dancers. Implements such as sticks, swords, and handkerchiefs may also be wielded by the dancers. In a small number of dances for one or two men, steps are performed near and across a pair of clay tobacco pipes laid across each other on the floor.
There are claims that English records of the morris dance dating back to 1448 exist, but these are open to dispute. There is no mention of "morris" dancing earlier than the late 15th century, although early records such as Bishops' "Visitation Articles" mention sword dancing, guising and other dancing activities as well as mumming plays. Furthermore, the earliest records invariably mention "Morys" in a court setting, and both men and women are mentioned as dancing, and a little later in the Lord Mayors' Processions in London. It is only later that it begins to be mentioned as something performed in the parishes. There is certainly no evidence that it is a pre-Christian ritual, as is often claimed.
In the modern day, it is commonly thought of as a uniquely English activity, although there are around 150 morris sides (or teams) in the United States. British expatriates form a larger part of the morris tradition in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Hong Kong. There are isolated groups in other countries, for example those in Utrecht, Netherlands, the Arctic Morris Group of Helsinki and Stockholm, as well as in Cyprus and Alsace, France.
What is Morris Dancing?
Morris Dancing in Oxford
Morris Dancing - Lord Chancellor's Folk in Hackney
Morris Dance Funk, Oxford Folk Festival
Extreme Morris Dancing
Cotswold Morris Dancing
Chinewrde Clog Morris dancing Whitby Shindig
Morris Dancing performed at the Wimborne Folk Festival 2006
Morris Dance - 1
Morris Dancing in Chingford
Morris dance - 1st YouTube video
Morris Dance - Hoggetowne Medieval Faire 2006
yet another Alternative Morris Dance
Crook Morris First dance out 2007
A Stic Dance, Morristanz at the Leopolditanz in Klosterneuburg, 6. 11. 2010, Hammersmith Morris Men (London)
Morristanz at the Leopolditanz in Klosterneuburg, 6. 11. 2010, Hammersmith Morris Men (London)