The Woodward Morris Page
What is Morris?
Morris dancing is an ancient English ritual folk dance. Most Morris
dances come from the Cotswold region of England--each village had its
own particular style--though there are types of Morris from the
northwest and the Welch border.
The dancers wear white clothes with brightly
colored ribbons and vests/sashes/baldrics, with clusters of bells tied
to each calf, waving hankies or sticks. They usually dance in groups
of six, along with a musician and often one or more "characters," the
most common being the fool, the hobby (originally a horse, but it
varies with the team), and the Betty (a half-man, half-woman).
Historically, the Morris was danced exclusively by men, but
there is evidence that, like many historical accounts, it does not entirely
correspond to reality. In any event,
male, female, and mixed teams (or "sides") all abound today.
traditionally takes place in the late spring into the summer, and
is generally thought to bring fertility to the
crops (and the people); however, there are
on the origin of Morris dancing, as can be seen by following the
preceding link many times. Arguably the most important day is May Day,
when Morris teams all around the world dance the sun up.
on Morris can be found on
Morris site (among others).
What does this have to do with the Woodwards?
Trip has been a Morris dancer with
Oak Apple Morris (Wisconsin's
only active Morris side) since 1998; the bottom right photo
shows him performing at
the Dane County Farmer's
Market in 1999. (Click on this or any photos for larger and/or uncropped
versions.) Carey has been a Morris dancer since 1987,
mostly with Oak Apple, but also with
Lemon and Capers
Morris (which has since transmuted into
Red Herring Morris)
in the Boston area. The bottom left photo is Carey dancing with Oak Apple
sometime in the late 1980's; top left shows Carey dancing
Fancy with Lemon & Capers at
NEFFA sometime in the mid 1990's (and
casting a shadow that looks remarkably like Kokopelli); and top right is
also Carey in his Lemon & Capers days, helping Trip with a maypole dance
at Natick [MA]'s May Day festivities. More coming Real Soon Now.
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