What can we provide?
Inset for teachers and youth leaders
A video showing different styles of traditional dance
Demonstrations of dancing for groups or classes of children
Direct teaching days or half days for groups or classes of children
Equipment and apparel (includes “tatter coats”)
Awe, wonder, new skills, music and movement.
What styles of Morris do we teach?
So far we have taught mainly Border, a good style for young children as it doesn’t require complex stepping routines, but we have also taught Cotswold, North West and Garland dancing.
What about small schools or youth groups which don’t have access to a suitable hall?
Where venues are a problem we would be happy to book on a “fair weather” basis, coming only if the weather is suitable to use the playground or other hard level space.
Do we have any religious or political affiliation?
Does Morris have religious significance?
Not as far as we are aware, although some traditional dances were associated with the entertainment on various holidays.
What attitudes and dispositions can we help provide?
Spectacle, awe and wonder
Motivation for boys and girls who are normally reluctant to dance
Collaboration and cooperation in learning.
Discipline and coordination
Historical and traditional awareness
Musical experience and especially the chance to listen in context to culturally relevant tunes.
How does Morris link to the curriculum?
Morris is a natural developer of movement, coordination, use of space, balance and team building. Musical and mathematical ability is enhanced by the need to follow the tune and move to the beat. It is part of British social history and tradition. It is also good exercise and good fun.
The experience of Morris dancing is a great stimulus for poetry, art and report writing. It has been documented as part of British social history since Tudor times and is good for re enactments or research into entertainment.
More detail is given on the “Why Morris” section.
Is Morris relevant to children with special needs?
Yes, why not? The simple, well defined rhythms can be followed by children with learning difficulties while dances can be chosen to facilitate access by those with limited sensory or physical abilities. We can find something suitable for all abilities.
What sort of timescale is involved?
This will depend on how many children are involved and how far you hope to progress. Also, all children are different and will have varying prior experience. As a rule of thumb, we can deliver a short introduction regarding Morris and the instruments used and take a class of 24 children from total beginnings to proficiently completing a dance routine within an hour to an hour and a half. If children are already experienced country dancers this time may be reduced or the group can be taken further.
On a typical day, you can decide whether you want three or even four groups to have a short introductory experience or whether you want a single group taking into more complex routines.
Will the activity be sustainable?
Part of our mission is to involve the teachers or leaders so that they can repeat with other groups or develop the group further. We can provide advice on ways forward, a video disc with a simple tune repeated and further visits to work with the children.
How is Morris Minors financed?
We are a “not for profit” organisation set up and initially financed by its members and originally free at the point of delivery. We had intended to maintain this policy but in order to maintain our sustainability we regret we have had to introduce a fixed charge for full sessions only. None of our members receives a wage from our funds and all money is employed directly in funding, promoting and carrying out our activities. We intend, eventually, to return to the free at the point of delivery principle.
The current charge to schools is £50 for a full day’s activities. This includes involvement by our members and use of all equipment. We are happy to negotiate payments with schools and organisations requiring shorter periods of activity. We are also happy to continue the principle of booking on a “fair weather” basis for schools and organisations without hall facilities who may wish to work outside.
Are Morris Minors a Morris Dancing Team?
No. Our members dance with various local teams but are not a team in themselves. They come together in Morris Minors for the common purpose of teaching the dances to pass on the lore and tradition to young people.
Do Morris Minors provide teaching for adults?
Not normally at this moment, other than inset for teaching staff. We have worked with members of a U3A group and are currently booked to work with another U3A group in the spring of 2018. The local Morris teams all welcome beginners, including those merely curious about trying it, to their practise sessions. Addresses of local groups are included on the “Links” page and the styles can be examined as each has examples on Youtube. Teachers and leaders wanting to “dip a toe in the water” may find weekends such as “Freaks in the Peaks” useful.
Do Morris Minors provide help for schools and youth groups who prefer to keep teaching “in house” using only their own staff members?
Yes. The resources section lists a few useful items and addresses. We can provide a DVD of dances and an introductory powerpoint. No charges are involved. Feel free to ring or e mail us for any help or advice you may require.
Where can I see Morris Dancing performed locally?
Details of some “Dance outs” are given on our “See Morris” page.
The teams on our link page have websites which, when kept up to date, will usually list the locations of their dance outs.
Hull, Beverley, Driffield and Malton all have short Folk Festivals where there are usually several teams dancing in the street areas. The 2017 Kingston Upon Hull Day of Traditional Dance saw 21 Morris teams preforming in the City Centre and at the Marina. On 23rd September there will be 27 teams dancing in conjunction with the Morris Federation A.G.M.
Lincoln, Doncaster and York all hold major days of dance with many teams dancing out. The local tourist information will provide details.
East Coast Morris are based in Scarborough and hold an annual weekend of dance to which other teams are invited. They perform border and Cotswold Morris. Oddly enough, they don’t seem to keep the tourist office up to date with this but information can be had through their websites.
Whitby Folk Week, always the last complete week in August, is worth the distance to see some of the premier teams in Britain perform in the afternoons.
The Minerva Inn near Hull Pier, The Green Dragon at Welton, The Ship in Dunswell and the Tiger Inn in Lairgate, Beverley, often host Morris Dancers along with other pubs in the region. The Triton Inn at Brantingham usually hosts a Christmas gathering of Morris teams on St Stephen’s Day each year while Beverley Garland dance in the Saturday Market that day. It is best to check out the dance dates on the groups’ websites.