Mor­ris danc­ing

SPEND A DAY LEARN­ING A NEW SKILL. MIND­FUL AND MIND FULL ( IN A GOOD WAY)

The Simple Things - - LIVING - By CLARE GOGERTY

MOST BOX­ING DAYS find me at a coun­try pub await­ing the ar­rival of the Mor­ris Men. Ev­ery year as I watch their vig­or­ous stick bash­ing and ad­mire their feath­ered hats, tin­kling bells and lively an­tics, I de­clare that I want to be a Mor­ris dancer, too. So, when I heard that more women are tak­ing it up than ever, and saw that Ce­cil Sharp House in Lon­don holds weekly classes, I went along to learn more. Tu­tor Andy Richards (right) pa­tiently ex­plained the ba­sic steps of the Ad­der­bury Mor­ris, which is in the Cotswolds tra­di­tion, to a group of men and women of var­i­ous ages and na­tion­al­i­ties. Once the steps were al­most mas­tered (Mor­ris danc­ing is not as straight­for­ward as it ap­pears), we put them to good pur­pose in a num­ber of dif­fer­ent dances, some of which – joy! – in­volved sticks, ac­com­pa­nied by Andy on the pipe and ta­bor. More ex­pe­ri­enced dancers joined us later and, af­ter help­ing us out in a cou­ple of dances, took to the floor to per­form the more tech­ni­cal Field Town dance. See­ing how it should be done was enough to per­suade me to re­turn. As one of the women dancers said, “Mor­ris danc­ing is ad­dic­tive. Once you get the hang of it, you won’t want to stop.”

Mor­ris danc­ing classes are held ev­ery Tues­day at Ce­cil Sharp House, Cam­den (ce­cil­sharphouse.org). For more about Ad­der­bury Mor­ris, in­clud­ing where to learn, visit adder­bury­mor­ris.org.uk.

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