Welcome to our Newest Members
Welcome to our Newest Members
The Morris Ring is delighted to welcome the latest side to join to our new Joint Membership scheme the Wakefield Morris Dancers who are “very proud and excited to be part of The Morris Ring". And we’re proud to have them on board.
In the thirty years that the team has existed they have toured in France and Germany and performed at many folk festivals throughout England. they have gained a reputation for a fast and lively dance style, and are considered to be one of the best mixed north west morris sides in the country.
Some of the dances that Wakefield Morris perform were traditionally used in such processions in the early 20th century, but over time the team has also written dances of its own, taking their inspiration and dance names from landmarks in and around Horbury. These team-written dances are now collectively known as the Horbury Suite. The team colours of blue and gold are taken from the crest of Wakefield City.
They join a growing list of new members which recently included The Witchmen, from the Daarkside (where pagan ritual dance meets street entertainment). Traditional border morris dances originated in the Welsh border counties, and over the past 30 years or so they have mutated that style to create dances which are exciting, entertaining and relevant to 21st century audiences. They have taken up Associate Membership as have “Big Jigs”, First Class Stamp and Golden Star Morris.
Big Jigs started in 2012 as an informal group practising Cotswold jigs, but soon the membership wanted to dance out. Now they dance out with the local morris sides and at a couple of festivals every year (including the Strumpshaw Tree Fair and Harlequin Faire). They have members who also dance with Golden Star, Kemp’s Men, Pedants Revolt, Fiddlesticks, East Suffolk and the Norwich Kitwitches.
Golden Star Morris were formed in 1979 in the pub of the same name on Colegate in Norwich. The landlord contributed to the initial purchase of kit and the side practiced over the winter and danced out in 1980. At that time were the only mixed Cotswold morris team in the Norwich area. In addition to 20 or so dancers and several musicians the side boasts a fool, their wicker hobby horse ‘ Champion’ and their collecting vessel ‘The Lollypop Man’, all of which can frequently be spotted when they dance out!
First Class Stamp are an Appalchian dance team based in Nuneaton who have become favourites on the festival and ceilidh circuit and are very much part of the morris world. They started up in 1990, as an offshoot of Broomfield Clog, Nuneaton’s established Step-Clog team. A team member visited Kentucky and came back with a repertoire of Appalachian steps, which she wanted to teach the team. This went ahead in tandem with the Clog, until joining the wave of Appalachian teams emerging on the English Folk Dance scene, First Class Stamp replaced Broomfield.The team’s dance style is known as “Buck and Wing”, characterised by vigorous stepping with the feet lifted high. The repertoire is of choreographed dances for two or more, mostly created by the team, but some modified from dances borrowed from others.
The credit of being the first side to join the Morris Ring in the new Joint Membership category were Phoenix Morris whose history can be traced back to 1952 and who have been based in Rickmansworth since 1983. Most of the time since they have been a mixed Cotswold morris side and perhaps unique in performing dances in the Stretton on the Fosse tradition.
But the very first Joint Membership went to the Illustrious Order of Fools and Beasts who rejoined us at last year’s ARM just after the vote was taken to welcome all morris sides to Morris Ring membership. They can be very wise.
You are all very welcome indeed.
If your side would like to be a part of our growing, dare I say, “rejuvenated” organisation, contact any one of our Officers or have a browse through our Membership page.