festivals and traditions

Morris Dancing

“A little Madness in the Spring
Is wholesome even for the King.”
Emily Dickinson

Morris Dancing is a traditional English form of folk dancing performed throughout the month of May by groups of men or women.

This type of dance has been performed for hundreds of years usually at festivals like  Rochester Sweeps Festival and others, and its steps have been passed down through generations in all the villages of rural England.

The origins of Morris Dancing are not sure. Some people think the name is linked to some forms of dancing that came to England from the Moors of North Africa. But the dance might have been called ‘Moor-ish’ just because the dancers, especially in the border regions, sometimes painted their faces black in order not to be recognized.

Morris dancers wear different clothes depending on the part of the country in which they dance.

The dancing is usually accompanied by the accordion (=fisarmonica), or the fiddle (=violin). There are usually six (or sometimes eight) dancers facing each other in two lines. The dancers usually carry short wooden sticks that they bang against each other as they dance.

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