Melbourne Daily Photo

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Waltzing Australia

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Ruby Tuesday ~ Morris Dancers

Dancing at the fair
We went to a local fair in October and there were Morris dancers performing. I really love watching them - listening to the bells on the men's legs and all the handkerchief waving and the music. It's a real fun day and it's sort of like stepping back in time to the olden days. Quite a number of teams have fancy hats with lots and lots of flowers on them. The hats with the flowers are worn by the men. I saw several Morris dancing teams at a folk festival a couple of years ago, took heaps of photos and found I'd accidently deleted them. I was so disappointed. The men's hats were lovely.

Above: Let me drop everything and dance on your problem!
This is the motto of the Brittania Morris Men.

The history of Morris Dancing
Morris dancing has been around for a long, long time - much longer than you or I. Our great grandparents weren't even a twinkle in their parents eye. Go back to Shakespearian times - Shakespeare mentions Morris dancing in "All's Well that Ends Well", and makes it clear that the Morris dance was commonly performed on May Day (May 1).

It is believed that dancing formed part of the celebration of Celtic festivals, but somewhere in the mist of time, the origins of Morris dancing have become lost and today survives as a form of folk dance performed in the open air in villages in rural England by groups of specially chosen and trained men and women. Rather than being a social dance, it's more ritualistic. The dancers take their dances seriously and feel the dances have a magic power which serves to bring luck and ward of evil.


Above: Traditional set
The dancers here performed in the Cotswold style. The chap at the front left of the set is the Caller - the person who calls out the figures of the dance.



I videoed part of the dancing. The first is a Handkerchief dance, followed by one of the stick dances - the dancers have long sticks about a metre in length and tap the ground and cross sticks. Different dance teams have different versions and no two are exactly the same. Today's quote is the motto of the Tarka Morris Men of Bideford, England


Click here to see more photos around the world from Ruby Tuesday

Today's quote: Nemo Enim Fere Saltat Sobrius, Nisi Forte Insanit. (Hardly anyone dances sober, unless he's completely mad. Cicero 106 - 43 BC)

8 comments:

Lois said...

That looks like so much fun for both the dancers and the audience!

Liz said...

Looks like a really fun event. Great shots.

Happy Holidays!

My Ruby link

Luna Miranda said...

this is wonderful and quite interesting. we have a festival here where couples who have difficulty conceiving dance. one of my friends believes that she conceived after dancing at the festival.:p

Dimple said...

I had heard of Morris dancing but never seen it. It looks like fun!

Greyscale Territory said...

Such an incredible, colourful sight to see! Wonderful series of photos!

brattcat said...

Our town fills with Morris Dancers one weekend every year. I love it too. The music, the dancing, the piping, the drumming, the antics, the sticks, the bells, the all of it.

HOOTIN' ANNI said...

I love street fairs!!!!


Link to my Ruby Tuesday

diane b said...

That is an interesting and very old tradition. I love your Aussie Christmas video too.

Melbourne Daily Photo

Hello, I created this blog because Melbourne is my city and I want people to see what a beautiful place it is. So come with me on a journey of discovery as we traverse the dining precincts, the culture, the laneways and hidden gems that make Melbourne marvellous.