… Morris Dancing
Clouded in mystery, the absolute origins of Morris dancing remain a source of uncertainty. Whilst legend would have you believe it is a remnant of pre-Christian fertility rites, actual records seem to date back no further then the 15th. century.
Quite old enough nevertheless to have declined almost to the point of dying out by the end of the 19th. century. Much of what remains today is down to the work of Victorian folk collectors like Cecil Sharp, who first stumbled on a performance of the Morris in 1899.
Today, Morris dancing can be found all over the world, fostered by organisations such as the Morris Ring, which was formed in 1934 to maintain and promote the Morris tradition.
… Helier Morris
Although the origins of Morris dancing may be lost in the mists of time, those of Helier Morris are not quite so hazy!
The first public performance took place in the summer of 1975, with a few dances from the Cotswold traditions. By Christmas of the same year a Mummers Play had been added and side has counted Longsword and Welsh Border style dancing amongst its repertoire. Helier have been responsible for spawning a separate ceilidh band and were admitted to the Morris Ring in 1990. They remain the only men’s Morris side in the Channel Islands and qualify as the most southerly team in the British Isles.
Now firmly established as part of island life, they perform regularly between May and September, supporting local events and festivals. In addition, they celebrate May Day with a 12 hour, 12 Parish marathon tour, dance on Boxing Day and go wassailing in early January. They have represented the island in England, France and the other Channel Isles.
Helier Morris are always looking to recruit more dancers – and we’d be delighted to hear from you if you’re interested.
The team practices each Monday night from October to April, in order to dance out in the summer months. Please get in touch via the details on the Contact page.