HISTORY OF NORTH-WEST MORRIS
North-West Morris dancing appears to have been started by textile mill workers in the 19th century. It is not hard to imagine that the figures in many of the dances were inspired by the actions of the mill looms – repetitive backward and forward and interweaving patterns of the shuttles, and the reels of cotton spinning round and round. During and after the First World War, the old men, young boys and women kept the dance tradition alive.
The mills had individual “teams”, which performed during Wakes (holiday) weeks or at Rose Queen carnivals and local fairs.
The dances were processional, with one line of dancers on either side of the street. They were often accompanied by the town brass band. Today’s dances have been adapted so that they can be seen ‘on the spot’, without processing down a street (although we can still do that). The brass band has been replaced by musicians playing an assortment of accordions, melodeons, tin whistles, drums, violins and whatever else seems to fit in!
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The Fair Maids of Perth formed in 1978 when the wives and girlfriends of the males-only Perth Morris Men (who dance Cotswold Morris), decided to start their own all-female 'side'. We are now open to dancers and musicians of any gender.