What is Morris?

KB: Morris in the History-Bible from Utrecht - anno 1443
Morris is both ancient and alive
In the middle-ages, Morris was danced in the whole of Europe, first at banquets at courts, later in villages and towns. One of the oldest pictures of a Morris dancer can be found in the 1443 History-Bible from Utrecht(!). However, Morris subsequently gradually disappeared from view.

By 1900, Morris only existed in a few villages in England. These dances were recorded by Cecil Sharp. His notes allowed new life to be breathed into Morris, and groups were created around the land. There are now hundreds of groups in the world, of which the majority are in England. There are three teams in the Netherlands.

Morris is both dance and music
You can dance morris with sticks or handkerchiefs, and with bells on your legs (according to the legend, this is to chase away evil spirits). Morris is a group dance, usually for six dancers at a time.

Morris is always danced to lively music. The most commonly used instrument is the squeezebox (accordion, or the English melodeon).

UMT Muzikanten Utrecht 2016
Alongside this, the violin and tin whistle are also commonly played. The musicians and dancers come together to create the rhythm of the dance.

Morris is English
Morris survived the longest in England. This is why all Morris dances, including the new ones, follow the English tradition. If ever there’s a village fair in an English TV series, you’ll see Morris dancers there. The Utrecht Morris Team mainly performs dances from the Cotswolds, to the north-west of Oxford..

Morris is fun and friendship
UMT Koningsdag 2015
The Utrecht Morris Team often performs in public, for example on King’s Day. On other occasions, we can decide on an ad hoc basis to dance at festivals. We are often invited to cultural events, often with an English theme.

Morris dancers visit each other. The different teams regularly come and dance, sing, and drink a beer together. The Utrecht Morris Team has a lot of contact with English teams. Every year we go to England, and we regularly have teams to visit in Utrecht..