Learn how to morris dance

Morris Hey! Learn your first steps in the comfort of your own home

If the rumours are to be believed, Morris dancing is on the up… especially if you’re in Sheffield. Perhaps you’re one of the untold multitudes desperate to don your bell pads and give it a go. Perhaps you’ve hammered your queries and frustrations into your nearest search engine, desperate to become a Morris dancer. “Dear Google. Regarding Morris dancing… How do you start? Where do you go? Who do you need to know?”

Well, we can’t all be Tradfolk Rachel and simply summons musicians and teachers to our door, and we certainly can’t all live in Sheffield (even though we’re sure they’d welcome us with open arms). The next best thing, therefore, would be an online Morris dancing introduction course, free to all. If only there was somewhere we could find one of those.

Where to learn Morris dancing

Good news! You can now take your first step hops into the Morris tradition with the Morris Hey! archive, freshly presented online by EFDSS. This is a multi-part introduction to Morris dancing, taking in a number of dances and a number of styles, presented through a series of diagrams and suggestions, a bit of historical context and a clutch of videos. It’s all packaged up neatly (everything you’d ever need, bar the hankies), ideally suited to beginners or teachers who might want to bring this traditional art form into the classroom.

What you’ll find in the box

The warm-up section demonstrates how Morris dancing is a vigorous physical activity, not to be taken lightly (though frequently performed while under the influence – definitely not a part of the tradition to be introduced into the classroom). Following that, we’re straight into the real meat and veg. Dances instructed include ‘Bobbing Around‘, ‘Dilwyn‘, ‘Balance the Straw‘, a Molly dance, ‘Walton’s Parade‘ and ‘Willow Tree‘, and each are presented with instructions on formation, steps, hand movements and dance sequences. It’s like an easy-to-use instruction manual for a domestic appliance that dances around your room with bells strapped to its appendages.

See also

And with that, there’s really not much left to stop you. What are you waiting for? Get your hankies ready and join the latest craze sweeping the nation. And if this robust little intro gets your pulse racing, just imagine what you could achieve if you moved to Sheffield.

Morris Hey! was written by Mike Ruff and the Morris Hey Set. It was filmed by Max Thomas and performed by Fool’s Gambit, with music from Ollie King. Click here to get started. While Morris Hey! is now available for free, it was originally published as DVD and CD set, which can still be purchased in physical formats from this website.


Jon Wilks is the editor of Tradfolk.co. He has previously worked as the editorial director of Time Out Tokyo, and editor of Time Out Abu Dhabi. Over the years he has written for the Guardian, Dazed & Confused, the Japan Times and many more publications. When he is not writing about traditional folk music on this website, he's performing and recording traditional music over on jonwilks. online. His original blog, Grizzly Folk (2017-2018), forms the basis of the early posts on this website.

England-Morris Dancing - Online education for kids


Morris dance is an English folk dance traditionally done in groups of six or eight hardy men–hardy men, mind you, who are wearing pretty kerchiefs and jingle bells. During a morris dance the dancers, who most often wield wooden sticks, step rhythmically and execute choreographed moves, weaving among each other and hitting each other’s sticks when appropriate. A quick quiz: which of the following statements is true? 1) Morris dancing has likely always been open to both men and women, and today many teams are integrated. 2) Morris dancing may have one time come across a not-very-hip form of artistic expression, but today it has become really cool. The answer…depending on who you ask, BOTH!

Some who practice morris dance claim it originated in the late 15th century, but while there is mention of dancing in Church records of the time, the first appearance of the name “Morris dance”–possibly derived from Moorish dance, or dance of the Moors, though
there are many other theories of the term’s origins–doesn’t appear until the 17th century.

Whatever its origins, morris dancing is believed to have arisen as as a ritual dance meant to invoke a magic power and bring protection against evil rather a purely social dance. Over the centuries a specific culture has developed around the ritual, complete with its own terminology and carefully prescribed roles dancers must play.

First, to prepare ourselves to try some morris dancing, let’s learn some morris terminology:

the morris: the term dancers use to refer to the world of morris dancing.
side/team: a morris troupe
set: the a number of dancers used for a regular arrangement. (This is usually six or eight.)
jig: a dance performed by one or two dancers rather than in a set. (Not to be confused with an Irish jig)
tradition: a collection of dances from a particular area.
ale: a private party where a number of morris sides gather and dance for each other rather than for an audience.

Next, we must assume the set of roles required of each side:
a squire: usually the side’s leader who calls the dances and decides the side’s program, or at least the side’s administrator.
a foreman: trains the dancers and is responsible for the high standard of the side’s dance.
a bagman: the member of the side who keeps the side’s money and equipment (nowadays kind of like a club secretary)
a ragman: the member of the side who co-ordinates the team’s “kit” or costmue: what would morris dancers do without bell pads, ribbon pads and sashes?
— one fool, or more: costumed and silly, the fool will entertain the crowd throughout the dance.
a beast or a hobby: a dancer in costume made to look like an animal. This dancer entertains the children.

Okay, enough of this preparation! Let’s look at examples of real live morris dancing so we can figure out how to do some of our own.

Over the centuries a number of varieties of morris dancing have developed. Which of the following should we do in class?:
Cotswold Morris: normally danced with handkerchiefs, sticks and hand movements. Watch the Isca Morris Men dance with kerchiefs. (Remember, hardy men doing a hardy dance.) Watch some Cotswold dancing done with sticks.

North West Morris: more like a military processional. Watch the Jabberwocky North West Morris Dancers.

Border Morris: a version from the
English-Welsh border with more interpretive choreography and multi-colored costumes. Often the dancers paint their faces in black or other colors. Watch Wicket Brood’s border morris dance (the dancing starts at 0:37)

Longsword Morris: mainly danced in circles and mainly danced with swords. Watch the Martlet Sword and Morris Men.

Rapper or Short Sword Morris: from
Northumberland, done in close circles with short swords. Watch Short Circuit
Rapper Dancing.

Molly Morris: prancing and stomping from the Midlands. Watch the colorful Gog Magog Molly Dancers. Watch the Seven Champions dancing Molly Morris to a tune
that–though we’re not experts–is probably not a traditional Morris accompaniment from the 17th century.

So which of these amazing morris variants shall we try in class? How could we ever choose? Let’s fire up “Morris Reel” by Sean Quinn and try them all.

Dancing for All: New York Dance Courses

It's never too late to learn! If you often thought about starting dancing, but something constantly distracted or interfered with you, then you should leave these days in the past. For everyone who would like to develop their plasticity and horizons - Afisha publishes a list of classes where you can get all this!

Dancing is a whole universe full of emotions and experiences. If you have been thinking about becoming students in a dance class for a long time and mastering any direction, then you should do it. And do it immediately! The poster will tell you where you can come and not be upset.

Beginning Salsa at Peridance

Beginning Salsa at Peridance

Do not focus on the name of this place. In collaboration with the teachers of Salsa at Peridance , all students will be able to comprehend not only the basics of salsa, but also a huge variety of other dance styles, such as ballet, jazz, yoga and other various dance gradations. The presence of a partner is not a prerequisite for admission to the courses, so you should not even think about which of your friends or relatives to persuade you to go with you. You will certainly feel all the charm of the dance world, and in return you will be able to get an amazing shape and graceful plasticity.

BollyX at Mark Morris Dance Group

BollyX at Mark Morris Dance Group

If you are more interested in modern choreographic experiments, then your path should certainly lead you to BollyX at Mark Morris Dance Group . Located in the center, with a huge and spacious room, this class for dancers will definitely please you with excellent professionals who work there, as well as an unusual system of knowledge transfer and, of course, location. These classes are almost always attended by a large number of people, so there is a high probability that you will become not only a member of a large team, but also part of a large community and choreographic composition.

Broadway Jazz at Broadway Dance Center

Broadway Dance Center

A true classic that will never go out of style. If you live in New York and don't want to learn how to dance to "All that Jazz" at the same time, then this mistake needs to be corrected urgently! Be prepared for the fact that learning to dance at Broadway Jazz at Broadway Dance Center will require perseverance, perseverance and high energy costs from you. However, do not forget that the game is worth the candle and you will certainly get beautiful and plastic movements, as well as hear your favorite Broadway melodies in a completely new way.

Extreme dances: POPACTION at Streb


Elisabeth Streb and her colleagues are an amazing group of extreme dancers whose abilities and numbers are built on the borders of the human body, circus art and even sometimes martial arts arts. This whole unique cocktail is seasoned with modern choreography and eventually turns into an amazing performance when each of the participants leaves their comfort zone and literally becomes a superhero in their own eyes. This is not at all surprising. because dancing is an exciting adventure!

PopStar Dance Fitness at Banana Skirt

PopStar Dance Fitness at Banana Skirt

those dark thoughts from my head. In this difficult task, PopStar Dance Fitness, can become a faithful assistant for you, where you can not only learn the basic dance movements of the direction you are interested in, but also completely liberate yourself by looking at Queen Bee or Rihanna in the mirror. No more waiting and fear, the magic of music works right there!

If you have been thinking about the question of whether to go to the dance for a long time, then you can no longer put off this positive answer! In the life of every modern person there is a huge number of problems and worries, but this does not mean that they should win all your free time!

Read the Poster, be at the epicenter of events!

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