Dispatches from the South: Dances With Ales – Morris Dancing

One of the major differences between living in Sussex and living in Clifton Park is that, while I was living in New York, I rarely ever left my apartment and walked into town to find it teeming with men and women dressed in all manner of strange get-up, festooned in jingle bells and prancing about whacking at each other with big sticks. In fact, I don’t recall that happening at all. Here, it’s just another day.

Or, to be precise, the Day of Dance, a yearly festival my town hosts that brings out the Morris Men (and women), cloggers and the occasional Scottish Sword dancer.

Morris Men

Getting ready to whack at each other with sticks

Morris is the traditional English folk dance. Where it came from, no one knows but, depending on who you choose to believe, it is either a modern (by British standards) affectation or a mysterious ritual passed on from the misty depths of time.


Women can be Morris Men, but an All-Woman Morris troupes are called Magogs

Whatever. It’s a hoot. And a fun day out.

And how can you not admire a dance that includes drinking in the choreography?


The all-important drinking step.



morris goth

Morris Dancing is changing a bit, to make it more appealing to the younger generation. Here we have Morris Goths...

punk morris

... and here, some Morris Punk.


  1. avatarRachel Titley says

    You evidently didn’t go into York on the right days – York has a morris festival the first weekend in September, and at least five resident dance teams.

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