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