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The Winchester Morris Men dancing in Overton, summer 2023

The 2023 Morris Census: A New Chapter in Understanding Morris Dancing

Morris statistician and dancer, Jack Worth, announces the latest entry in his ongoing study of traditional dancing.

Trad dancers ahoy! The 2023 Morris Census has officially commenced. Spearheaded by Jack Worth, an ardent Morris dancer and professional statistician, this comprehensive survey seeks to illuminate the current state and dynamics of Morris dancing worldwide.

Morris dancing, a traditional form of English folk dance, has evolved significantly in the 21st century. The Morris Census, an endeavor to capture this evolution, is not merely a collection of statistics; it’s a narrative about the people and practices that keep this cultural gem alive. This year’s census follows the successful surveys conducted in 2014 and 2017, which garnered responses from nearly 600 and 700 Morris sides, respectively.

The initiative is supported by key organizations like the Morris Federation, Morris Ring, and Open Morris, underlining the importance of the census in understanding the current landscape of Morris dancing, encompassing not just traditional Morris sides but also related forms like sword dancing, mummers, and Appalachian and clog steppers. (What’s that? No dusking, we hear you cry?)

The survey was originally crafted with help from various contributors, including Melanie Barber, Eddie Worrall, Nicki Pickering, Jerry West, Jon Melville, Jon Brenner, and Chloe Middleton-Metcalfe, ensuring that the census addresses relevant aspects of Morris dancing, from demographic details to the challenges and opportunities faced by dancers.

Jack Worth, the driving force behind the census, blends his passion for Morris dancing with his expertise in statistics and economics. A member of the Headington Quarry Morris Dancers and an experienced statistician with the National Foundation for Educational Research, Worth’s dual interest makes him uniquely qualified to lead the project.

The survey, designed to be completed in about 10 minutes, aims to capture a snapshot of the Morris dancing community without imposing a significant burden on participants. Contributors can submit their information online, or they can access a printable PDF version for consultation before submitting their responses online. Individual responses will remain confidential, with only aggregated data being published on the census’s website.

As the deadline for submissions is set for December 15th, 2023, sides are encouraged to participate and contribute to this vital endeavor as soon as possible. The findings, which will be made available on the morriscensus.uk website, promise to offer invaluable insights into the demographics, trends, and future prospects of Morris dancing.

This census is more than a statistical exercise; it’s a celebration of a rich cultural tradition and an effort to ensure its vitality for generations to come. For queries, participants can reach out to Jack Worth at morriscensus@gmail.com, signaling a collaborative and inclusive approach to understanding and preserving the heritage of Morris dancing.

Click here to enter your data into the Morris Census, 2023.