Winchester Morris Men dance at the Eagle

Winchester Morris Men will be dancing in Abbotts Ann, at the Eagle, on Wednesday 3rd June 2015 at 8.45 pm

Winchester Morris Men dance what is known as Cotswold Morris from the South Midlands

The Morris Dance is one of the oldest continuing traditions of rural England, and in its origins, was thought by some to welcome the spring and to ensure the fertility of the year’s crops. Few dancers in the 21st century would seriously ascribe such reasons to their performance of the morris – we do it because we enjoy it, rather than for some mystical or pseudo-religious purpose.

Morris Dancing is distinguished from the English country dance by its movements based upon circles and processions. No-one knows where it came from – there are probably as many theories as dancers! All that can be said is that it is ancient and has had many influences over the centuries.

References to the dance extend back six hundred years, and by the time of Elizabeth I it was performed throughout the country. Agricultural change and the drift to the cities led to a decline in Morris Dancing in the nineteenth century, by the end of which few village teams or “sides” survived with an unbroken dancing history.