Photographer's Note

There probably was nothing called "morris dancing" in England much earlier than the 15th century. Around then, a form of dance typically called by names like "moreys daunce" was imported from somewhere in Europe as court entertainment; this may have been the dance form (or one of several dance forms?) going by names like "morisco" on the continent. The dancers wore colorful, fairly elaborate costumes with pendant sleeves and attached bells. Very little is known about the dances per se, though there seem to have been two types: a solo dance, and a dance in a circle around a "maiden" (who could have been a man in women's clothing) for whose favors the dancers compete.

By the early 16th century morris dancing had become a fixture of Church festivals. Later in the century, the morris became attached to village fetes, particularly in the springtime; Shakespeare says "as fit as a morris for May Day" and "a Whitsun morris dance." In the process of going from court to church festivals to village festivals, some changes in the dance may have occurred. By this time we have references to dancing with hankies (this might have been a substitute for the pendant sleeves). Will Kemp danced a solo morris from London to Norwich in 1600 (see his Nine Daies Wonder). There was a brief fad of morris in the theatre; see The Two Noble Kinsmen, attributed to Fletcher and Shakespeare. Fletcher and Kemp both refer to women morris dancers; one can infer that women's participation in the morris was not uncommon in this era. Fletcher's morris dancers number twelve, six men and six women; little can be deduced about the choreography
This photograph was taken at Haworth, the little boy being fascinated by what he sees.
Oakworth Village Morris Men are a Cotswold Morris side based in the Oakworth / Haworth area of West Yorkshire. They were founded in 1981 and have been performing the "Morris" for over 25 years.

Oakworth are members of 'The Morris Ring' which is a national association of Men's Morris Teams.

The group perform dances mainly for six men accompanied by our musicians playing a melodeon and /or accordion.The Cotswold dances performed are from the villages of Adderbury, Bampton, Bledington, Brackley, Leafield (Field Town), Headington, Ilmington, and Upton-upon-Severn. The side prides itself in it's vigorous and polished style of dancing.

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Additional Photos by David Robinson (daveeho) Silver Note Writer [C: 0 W: 0 N: 15] (101)
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