Wychwayz Border Morris

********** WYCHWAYZ BORDER MORRIS ***********

Dancing practice Every Tuesday 7.45 - 8.45 pm Charlbury Scout Hut

Good exercise and Good Fun see us now on Facebook

Contact Liz on 01608 810657 or 07800 744787

Facts and Myths about Morris Dancing

Morris dancing in England has its beginnings principally during the reign of Henry VII. The dance known as Moorish or Moresque dancing was known in the courts of Europe

Henry VII had been educated at the French court and in 1494 he paid £2 for the 'playing of the Mourice Daunce' at the English court.

Many other influences became integrated with the Morris dancing gradually modifying the performance from individual to group and processional but beyond the 17thC popularity declined and the activity became associated with drinking and fighting and it lost respectable support. (No longer any fighting, however drinking has still been observed after dancing .....)

By the 19thC Cotswold Morris was confined to rural areas principally around the Cotswolds with the Wychwood Forest as a central point. So although there are no records of a Morris group in Charlbury it is very appropriate that we dance here.

We dance in the BORDER Morris Tradition Basically we have different costumes and we use sticks and not handkerchiefs and we also paint our faces when dancing out (but not practicing). Rather than black we use a variety of coloured face paints and designs.

The Border Morris dances were mainly performed in the winter by farm labourers and fishermen (on the Severn) as a means of earning a little extra money when work was scarce – it was a form of begging, and as such it was illegal. This is usually offered as the explanation for the tradition of blacked-up faces as a means of disguise.

People have been painting their faces for a long time, and this may not be the original explanation. Blackened faces were used as a form of disguise in the "Rebecca Riots" in South Wales in the 1830's, which were a protest against toll roads, which also involved mean dressing as women. They may have been revived following the Minstrel Shows of the early 19th century. Did the face-blacking continue through the Puritan era following the Civil War? How was it treated following the Black Act of 1723 which treated face blacking as an intent to commit a crime, with harsh penalties?

Fortunately none of us has been arrested for Border Morris Dancing although some say we should be at times !!!!

We practice regularly on Tuesday nights in the Scout Hut, Nineacres Lane (from 7.45 till 8.45 pm)

We are a mixed group of laid back Morris dancers who like to have fun.

If you would like to come along and dance with us, or you play an instrument and would like to join the band please call in on any Tuesday evening or contact Liz on 01608 810657 or 07800744787 or Janet on 07947076257.

No experience necessary !

Everyone welcome

Contact for Web page Tony (01608 811022)

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