About the Morris
Overheard, "When does the Morris dancing start?"
"Oh, in about two pints."
Morris dance, that mildly mystical form of folk dance from old Blighty thrives on this edge of the continent. Not so inexplicably, as Victoria has been described by some as more English than England.
Who we are
Youth sides, or "Morris Minors" in the vernacular, have popped up, in the past seasonally in Campbell River, and some years ago in Victoria. Quicksbottom Morris now has several Morris Minors (or Minions depending who one speaks with). So if you are or have youth interested in The Morris don't hold back. Check us out and join in.
What we do
We maintain and create the traditions of several styles of this public folk dance. English folk dance is the cultural root material to which Canadian, New World and contemporary aspects have been added.
We "Dance out" or perform throughout the year, especially in the summer - at farm markets, community fairs, various events or locales (invite us to your brewery or cidery!), often right out in the streets.
Also, we gather for May Day mornings, perform Mummers plays during the Yule ("Christmas") season and have special dance outs for such times as St. George's Day in April, and the Canada Day picnic along The Gorge in Victoria and in various community events on Gabriola Island and Mayne Island.
This is a performance, ritual or "display" dance style, as
many Folk dances generally are. It takes dedication and just a bit of
to learn. This is what we say anyway. Ask us about it, maybe over a
pint, and between songs.
Spread throughout the islands are individual dancers & musos, British expats, the makings of some nascent sides, also good friends willing to host shenanigans, dance outs and pub sings. Let's find the spark to build more sides. A few of our sides are generally available to visit, perform or perhaps hold a workshop anywhere on the Islands.
Hollytree Morris, Canada's oldest side, is "mixed" (both genders) team dancing in the Cotswold style. They have an early history, the first decade 1974-1984, now posted on-line. Practise is weekly, Tuesday, 8 p.m., Fairfield Scout Hall, 459 Chester Ave., Victoria, V8V 4C2. 250.475.1706
Island Thyme Morris a women's side, dances primarily Garland and Northwest. "Pacific North West" we've been told <grin>. They're not above attempting the dreaded Stick and Bucket Dance, and continue the "Mirkmuir Tradition" as well.
Quicksbottom Morris, once the Men's Side of ITM (when IT was a Joint Side), has continued in the Welsh Border style of Morris and, after becoming a standalone side (2005) also became mixed team (men & women.)
Drumbeggar Border Morris of Gabriola Island, another mixed Border side, first danced out in the spring of 2012. A few members are former stalwarts of the Morris & folk song scene in Vancouver and great friends of the pre-existing Island sides
Morris dance merry making - May Day, the first of May. Clover Point, Victoria. 0530 - 0630. Yes, 5:30 a.m. After all we wish to be dancing before the sun rises at 0553 ! A May Pole, Morris dances, circle & other dances for all. Come along. Also see Ric's North American Morris May Day page
Quicksbottom Morris performs a Yule ("Christmas") season Mummers play about the area in December & January each year, and occasionally St. George's Day play in April. Background and a schedule may be found at their site and at the Master Mummers site
Wassail - Waes Hael - “be of good health”. Olde English tradition of wassailing, dating back to the 1500s, is -- a seasonal greeting; a ceremony in or at "big houses" (those of the well to do) involving visiting by Wassailers travelling door to door; a ceremony to wake fruit trees from their winter slumber and scare away evil spirits, ensuring a good harvest.
Need to ensure a good crop of cider apples? Give us a call.
For those wishing to join in Morris dance & music, exchange communication about it, or gather more info in an active manner, contact any of the sides. See their web pages. The Island Dance webmaster will also be happy to answer most questions about local Morris dance
ITM (Monday) & QBM (Wednesday) practise in various parks throughout the summer. Please contact them for location. The rest of the year -- QBM is at the View Royal Community Assoc. hall, ITM at St. Aiden's in Saanich
HTM uses the Scout Hall in Fairfield, on Tuesdays (~8:15 p.m.) and sometimes takes the summer off practise, placing their energy exclusively in dancing out
Most activities, both practise and performance, are completed with a requisite visit to the pub. For more information see the individual web sites for the teams, or give them a call
Occasionally an Ale will pop up in the region, to which many sides stream, process or caper.
An Ale, or Parish Ale to be correct, was once a church parish function, sort of a combined day of social welfare and church fund raising. It incorporated drink (ale, natch), entertainment (Morris dancers!), and food. The name was taken over by "the Morris" for gatherings when the former activity dried up, so to speak
Victoria locals and visitors sides enjoyed a Morris Ale in honour of one of our own. Fred's NineT Ale honoured Fred Carr and his 90th natal anniversary, Victoria 12-14 June 2015. Eight Morris sides participated in outside touring and more inside fun
Seattle sides may be found via Seattle Dance.org
A major regional gathering that attracts the Morris is NW Folklife Festival in Seattle, WA during the USA Memorial Day weekend in May. Sides from BC, WA, and OR dance out there and socialise. Occasional individual representatives from some other sides make an appearance, i.e. Rant & Raven, from Anchorage, AK
Long time proponent of International Folk Dance and Morris Dance in Victoria & BC, died Sunday 17 August 2014