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Author Topic: What is Morris?  (Read 23806 times)

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Re: What is Morris?
« Reply #80 on: January 06, 2008, 09:10:06 AM »

It's not a widely accepted explanation, but I like it: "Mores" (pronounced moorase) is a Latin word meaning (more or less) "a custom".  In mediaeval times, Latin was still used by the few people who could write: mainly churchmen.  Old customs such as dancing, plays etc. may have been called "Mores" and this could easily have evolved, via "Morrys" etc. to Morris.  Lots of Latin words have crept into general use (etcetera, vice versa, via) and some have been misheard and are now used in mainstream English in a distorted form.

Unless I missed it earlier in the thread, no one has mentioned the surviving traditions of Derbyshire, from the villages of Hayfield and Winster.  There are also isolated survivals like the Britannia Coco-Nut Dancers from Bacup.

In all cases, Morris dancing is a traditional dance form from England, and from the border area between England and Wales.  Teams (sides) were amde up of men from a particular village, and each village that had a side had its own distinctive style, and its own repertoire, ranging from one or two dances to 20 or more.

Morris dancing all but died out in the late 19th Century, and was then artificially revived.  It is now primarily danced as a hobby, by teams founded in the 20th century.  All or most of the "accepted wisdom" about it being a fertility ritual (etc. etc. blah blah) is sentimental nonsense, but those of us who do the dancing still value it highly for what it is - whatever it actually is!


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Re: What is Morris?
« Reply #81 on: January 06, 2008, 09:53:31 AM »

But those of us who do the dancing still value it highly for what it is - whatever it actually is!

I wish I had said that, in fact I probably will.

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Re: What is Morris?
« Reply #82 on: January 08, 2008, 05:58:09 PM »

Not quite sure where on this BBC page to find the specific interview, Matthew - and I haven't got time to listen to everything there to find it.  But I have a horrible suspicion that the "Old Bloke" may well turn out to be younger than I am..... ;D

Sorry for the slow reply D.  The interview is now gone.  It was buried in the middle of the 2 hour show (accessed by clicking "listen again").  Anyway, its substance was a guy called (I think) John Bedlam, who danced for a side called something like "The Shropshire Kirkpatricks", rattling on about where the drinks tent was, and what a remarkable number of men had started to show an interest in Morris dancing after the side had successfully recruited some young women dancers.  He seemed like a nice enough chap, but I'm not sure if anything he said would be of particular interest to a bunch of melodeon players. 


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Re: What is Morris?
« Reply #83 on: January 08, 2008, 10:19:18 PM »

Right...then he is younger than me!
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