Morris Dance                

Sad News


David Winn, long time proponent of International Folk Dance and Morris Dance in Victoria & BC, died Sunday 17 August 2014

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


Victoria is home to three sides (teams), Hollytree Morris, arguably Canada's oldest, Island Thyme Morris & Quicksbottom Morris

Gabriola Island is home to Drumbeggar Border Morris, a new and still somewhat shiny side on the scene

Youth sides have popped up, often seasonally in Campbell River, and a few years ago in Victoria


What we do


We maintain and create the traditions of several styles of this public folk dance. 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 toward or during the Yule 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

This is a performance, ritual or "display" dance style, as many Folk dances generally are. It takes dedication and just a bit of time 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, and 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

Sides


Hollytree
is a "mixed side" (both genders) dancing in the Cotswold style. They have an early history, the first decade 1974-1984, now posted on-line

Island Thyme is a women's side, dancing primarily Garland and Northwest. "Pacific North West" we've been told. They're not above attempting the dreaded Stick and Bucket Dance

Quicksbottom, 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 standalone, has become a mixed side

Drumbeggar Border Morris of Gabriola Island 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 existing Island sides


May Day


Morris dance merry making, May Day, 01 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 left coast Morris May Day page

Mummers Play


Quicksbottom Morris performs a Yule season Mummers play about the area in December & January each year. Background and a schedule may be found at their site and at the Master Mummers site


Join us


For those wishing to join in Morris dance & music, communication about it, or gather more info in an active manner, contact any of the sides. See their web pages. The webmaster will be happy to answer general questions about local Morris dance

A good start for reading about the Morris may be the VI Morris Links page. (Will be transferring those here by Jan 2015)

ITM & QBM practise in various parks in the summer (Mon & Wed respectively). Please contact them for location information. The rest of the year -- QBM is at the View Royal Community Assoc. hall. HTM uses the Scout Hall in Fairfield, on Tuesdays and often takes the summer off practise, exclusively dancing out, finished with the requisite visit to the pub

Regional Morris


Occasionally an Ale will pop up in the region, to which many sides stream, or process and caper I suppose. An Ale, or parish Ale to be correct was once a church parish function, sort of a day of social welfare. 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 sides announce a Morris Ale in honour of one of our own. Fred's NineT Ale will honour Fred Carr and his 90th natal anniversary. Victoria 12-14 June 2015. Registration opens early March 2015

There are two Vancouver sides (Vancouver Morris Men & Tiddley Cove Morris) and one Bowen Island side (Black Sheep, "Baa!") with whom we have much fun either side of the Strait

Seattle sides may be found via Seattle Dance.org

A major regional gathering that attracts the Morris is NW Folklife Festival in Seattle over the USA Memorial Day weekend in May. Sides from BC, WA, and OR dance out there and socialise. Occasional individual representatives from some sides show, e.g. Anchorage, AK