Category Archives: Dances

Morris Dancing

The Morris dance is common to all inhabited worlds in the multiverse.

It is danced under blue skies to celebrate the quickening of the soil and under bare stars because it’s springtime and with any luck the carbon dioxide will unfreeze again.

The imperative is felt by deep-sea beings who have never seen the sun and urban humans whose only connection with the cycles of nature is that their Volvo once ran over a sheep.

It is danced innocently by raggedy-bearded young mathematicians to an inexpert accordion rendering of “Mrs Widgery’s Lodger” and ruthlessly by such as the Ninja Morris Men of New Ankh, who can do strange and terrible things with a simple handkerchief and a bell.

Terry Pratchett – Reaper Man


Often seen as a quintessential English pastime, the full origins of Morris Dancing are lost in the mists of time. While there are mentions of sword dances, mumming plays, guising and other activities that we now associate with Morris, but it isn’t until the late 15th century that the term is first recorded. Even then, the term “Morys” seems to refer to a court dance rather than the public spectacle that it is today.

Abbots Bromley Horn Dance

In 1492, the Spaniards having driven the Moors out of the country celebrated with a pageant known as a Moresca which included a sword dance. It is likely that this is where the association between the name and the form of dance originates. With sword dances widespread around the world, it is probable that Morris was either a renaming or an adaptation of a much older tradition, the sticks commonly used by Morris Dancers today a remnant of the original swords.

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