January 5, 2009

"Morris dancing could be 'extinct' within 20 years because young people are too embarrassed to take part, a UK Morris association said today."

I read that and felt bad, but I also wondered: What's Morris dancing? Fortunately, there's YouTube, and I found this:

Okay, that does seem really embarrassing, but on the other hand, it looks like a lot of fun. And it would be a lot more fun if that one guy would get his head out of the way.

Lots more on Morris dancing here, and forgive me if I'm an idiot for not knowing about it.


erictrimmer said...

Don't let them hear you say their dancing looks embarrassing.

They're carrying sticks!

Could be good cover for a group of hooligans. Run from the police, beat them around a corner, start dancing and as the police run by tell them, "They ran that way!"

Original Mike said...

Now I know where Monty Python got their inspiration.

Chris said...

Yeah, now the Fish Slapping Dance doesn't seem quite as silly.

Ann Althouse said...

And "The Safety Dance."

john cage said...

lame music.
try this-

heywoot said...

Have seen it in person. Twenty years is a long time to wait.

chuck b. said...

As far as embarassing things go, how does Morris dancing outrank ghostriding the whip?

TheCrankyProfessor said...

The only place you're likely to have seen Morris Dancing live in America would be at a Ren Fair - and if you've succeeding in avoiding those you're not to be blamed!

Christy said...

The Annual Morris Dance is the only thing that brings Summer back every year! Well, that's one way of reducing global warming.

Not so different from the Philadelphia Mummers Parade every New Years. This is a slicker video using pics of this years parade.

Synova said...

Within 20 years the young people now will be the source of embarrassment for the next generation.

It seems to me that doing embarrassing things to recall your heritage is a cyclical pattern of revival and denial.

Skyler said...

It reminds me of chitty chitty bang bang and The Old Bamboo.

You better never bother with the old bamboo.

Ron said...

It's the Neanderthal of dancing compared to us Cro-Magnon terpsichoreans!

George M. Spencer said...

Come On, Eileen!

Smilin' Jack said...

Morris dancing could be 'extinct' within 20 years

As Instapundit would say, "Faster, please."

bearbee said...

Not so different from the Philadelphia Mummers Parade every New Years. This is a slicker video using pics of this years parade.

Philadelphians don't acknowledge

At about 1:30 into the vid you'll see what looks to be Morris dancing including sticks.
Mummers Parade 2009

KCFleming said...

Could be extinct?

It looks extinct now.

LonewackoDotCom said...

Not so oddly enough, I was several months ahead of the Morris association. See also this or this.

On a much less lighter note, this is what Althouse should be embarrassed about.

TerriW said...

My parents took my brother and I to a Morris Dancing festival at a pavilion in a park in either NH or VT when we were quite young. (We lived near the border, so it could have been either state, I don't recall.)

What I *do* recall was that there was a Klan rally at the next pavilion over.

Morris Dancing. Klan Rally.

I don't even know where to start.

LordSomber said...

"Within 20 years the young people now will be the source of embarrassment for the next generation.
It seems to me that doing embarrassing things to recall your heritage is a cyclical pattern of revival and denial."
In the ‘70’s, we said, “Look how silly we looked back in the ‘50’s.”
In the ‘90’s, we said, “Look how crazy we looked back in the ‘70’s.”
Today, thanks to prionic memes, we can simply glance about and say, “Look how stupid we look now.”

At least the Morris Dance wasn't rippin' anyone off. Or was it?

Anonymous said...

From an oldtime British radio comedy program called "I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again," which did a spoof of Robin Hood:

Sheriff of Nottingham: "I say, what's that going on over there?"

Henchman: "Oh, that's Morris dancing."

Sheriff: "Yes, I've been a little worried about Morris ..."

Cabbage said...

It seems to me that doing embarrassing things to recall your heritage is a cyclical pattern of revival and denial.

I recall a Chicago Tribune article about the popularity of Mariachi with younger hispanics. The parents, who rejected mariachi and listened to a lot of rock were embarassed that their kids took it up -- which pretty much explains why they took it up.

Meade said...

Let's not be cultural snobs, okay? After all, it isn't really any more embarrassing than this, is it?

ps: Note the cool green pants on the Beach Boys--way ahead of their time.

Host with the Most said...

"That's so gay".

Exact quote from a musical theater student of my daughter, while he was watching the video over my shoulder. And he is flaming gay.

Ann Althouse said...

Meade, "Don't Worry Baby" is such a beautiful song, and when I see that video, I think that the Beach Boys were a bunch of nerds trying to leverage themselves into the group of popular kids at the beach by singing about them. But you can see htey are not going anywhere near the beach. Especially Carl.

heywoot said...

Brian Wilson was a musical genius who, in order to deal with the abuse he took from his father, spent hours in his room learning music by listening to records.

He was deaf in one ear.

He worked with very primitive recording equipment in the early days of the BB and mixed those very complex arrangements and vocal harmonies down to stereo.

Don't think Brian was too crazy about the water, either.

But he may have been crazy, based on his behavior.

JAL said...

So now that we've had a variety of culturally snobby and occasionally funny comments, how about some history from someone knowledgable about the significance of this dance.

What, when, where, why, who, -- you know -- information instead of looking at the natives and smirking.

I thought we were all enlightened and beyond that these days.

John Burgess said...

You've discovered the secret behind the longevity of the British Royal Family... that business about the Illuminati is just to throw the naive off track.

You also discovered, if you read the Wiki entry closely, the origin of the term 'hobby horse' and, ultimately, 'hobby'.

Good work!

john said...

JAL said - I thought we were all enlightened and beyond that these days.

Far from it.

The provenance of the Morris dance is no one less than Benny Hill.

(That's Benny M. Hill.)

Ralph L said...

About 2 weeks after 9/11, my father & I drove by the Pentagon and then downtown. (There were about a hundred people just staring at its burned out hole from the hillside below the Navy Annex).

We got caught in a big ANSWER protest near the White House, and then parked by the East Wing of the Nat. Gallery to walk his Samoyd around. The mall was nearly empty on a beautiful Saturday. A group of Morris dancers (and a dozen spectators) were just finishing up at the bottom of Capitol Hill. There was ONE uniformed guard on either side of the Capitol, and no one else. Very weird day.

George M. Spencer said...

I think Glen Campbell plays on "Don't Worry Baby." Love the guitar at 1:42.

The "band" played the tours and sang on the albums, but Brian brought in session men (and women) to play on the albums.

So many unreal songs, so many little known gems...."Little Girl I Once Knew" (It actually stops at 0:38 and restarts and does it again at 1:13...the acapella "Our Prayer"..."This Whole World" "Marcella" (the guitar at 1:59!!!) and on and on. Those late '60s and early '70s albums are rich with undiscovered wonders.

Seeing Brian Wilson live is like seeing Mozart.

Christy said...

I may have mentioned here that a few months ago I read, unknowingly, two books back to back about a morris dance. Ngaio Marsh's 1957 Death of a Fool was a murder mystery that happened at said dance. She portrayed it as the remnants of a ritual fertility dance. Her dancers did a sword dance, had a Fool, a Whiffler (who beheads the Fool) a Beast ( or hobby,) and a Betty (a comic character - guy dressed as a girl and chased by the Beast.) The dance ends with the Fool (or pagan god, if you prefer) rising from the dead. It struck me as a well researched novel, but who knows? The other was a Terry Pratchett discworld novel. He says he made up a dark morris to bring Winter.

Dark Eden said...

So this is the culture the Euro's are always talking about the US not having.

Franz said...

Looks like the trailer for "Clockwork Orange II: Older and Geigh-er"

author, etc. said...

We should be more sympathetic here. It's been hard for these guys to self-express ever since Jerry Garcia died.

Ann Althouse said...

Oh, weird. They really do look like "Clockwork Orange" outfits.

Skinny Santa said...

Just imagine them doing the U.S. version, with handguns.

Charlotte said...

If you look here http://morrisdancing.wikia.com/wiki/Morris_teams_in_United_States
you will find there are loads of Morris teams in the US.
The Morris Ring was talking nonsense anyway - there are lots of youngsters dancing Morris, most decent teams have at least one youngster in them. My 16-year-old stepson does it.
Morris has been around since Tudor times at least - there are written records of it from the time of King Henry VIII. It's great fun.