North West Morris  (a very potted history)


The North West style of morris dancing has its roots in the industrial towns of the North West of England, the origins being obscured by time, a number of the traditional dances are named after the towns or districts where they were originally performed.

During the 19th Century the dances were generally performed as a processional routine to accompany the 'Rush Carts' as they made their ceremonial way from reed beds to church. Nowadays they are usually performed as 'set' dances, often at 'folk' events throughout the u.k. and abroad, or just at a local hostelry. Some 'Rush Cart' ceremonies are still performed and 'the morris' remains involved.

The dancers mostly wore brightly coloured, fancy costumes and often danced in clogs. The dances were inclined to be quite precise, and often had a leader who would keep the team together by the judicious use of a whistle. Unlike some traditions, where a single musician is the accepted norm, North West morris is performed to a band of musicians. The style, very different to the other forms of morris, is now danced by many teams from different regions of the United Kingdom, and beyond these shores. There are mixed and single gender teams, it continues today as a vibrant 'living' tradition.