If the rumours are to be believed, Morris dancing is on the up… especially if you’re in Sheffield. Perhaps you’re one of the untold multitudes desperate to don your bell pads and give it a go. Perhaps you’ve hammered your queries and frustrations into your nearest search engine, desperate to become a Morris dancer. “Dear Google. Regarding Morris dancing… How do you start? Where do you go? Who do you need to know?”
Well, we can’t all be Tradfolk Rachel and simply summons musicians and teachers to our door, and we certainly can’t all live in Sheffield (even though we’re sure they’d welcome us with open arms). The next best thing, therefore, would be an online Morris dancing introduction course, free to all. If only there was somewhere we could find one of those.
Where to learn Morris dancing
Good news! You can now take your first step hops into the Morris tradition with the Morris Hey! archive, freshly presented online by EFDSS. This is a multi-part introduction to Morris dancing, taking in a number of dances and a number of styles, presented through a series of diagrams and suggestions, a bit of historical context and a clutch of videos. It’s all packaged up neatly (everything you’d ever need, bar the hankies), ideally suited to beginners or teachers who might want to bring this traditional art form into the classroom.
What you’ll find in the box
The warm-up section demonstrates how Morris dancing is a vigorous physical activity, not to be taken lightly (though frequently performed while under the influence – definitely not a part of the tradition to be introduced into the classroom). Following that, we’re straight into the real meat and veg. Dances instructed include ‘Bobbing Around‘, ‘Dilwyn‘, ‘Balance the Straw‘, a Molly dance, ‘Walton’s Parade‘ and ‘Willow Tree‘, and each are presented with instructions on formation, steps, hand movements and dance sequences. It’s like an easy-to-use instruction manual for a domestic appliance that dances around your room with bells strapped to its appendages.
And with that, there’s really not much left to stop you. What are you waiting for? Get your hankies ready and join the latest craze sweeping the nation. And if this robust little intro gets your pulse racing, just imagine what you could achieve if you moved to Sheffield.
Morris Hey! was written by Mike Ruff and the Morris Hey Set. It was filmed by Max Thomas and performed by Fool’s Gambit, with music from Ollie King. Click here to get started. While Morris Hey! is now available for free, it was originally published as DVD and CD set, which can still be purchased in physical formats from this website.