Why is morris dancing seen to be uncool?

Because you hang around with the wrong people.

Amongst one of my circles, there are people who call each other up and say ‘did you hear there’s a morris, today?’ ‘Hells yeah, do you know where it is?’ And so forth.

Genuinely. I even know a morris groupie. Her one aim in life is to get over her fear of beards and give her heart (and glass eye) to a morris man.

But yeah. For most, it’s just hanky waving, stick waving, leg waggling and bell tinkling. None of these have a huge underground appeal. There is no dubstep morris, although maybe there should be.

Traditional anything is hard to sell as ‘cool’, no matter how much the real point is to find people a way to drink lots and lots of ale together. Morris has a fairly embarrassing reputation to overcome, and it doesn’t help that it looks the way it does. It’s hard to do a sexy morris.

But then, different strokes for different folks.

It’s one of those things that could suddenly come into fashion at some point, but only once it’s opened up a little and had a bit of a demographic shift. Old beer swilling men aren’t the most marketable, and often aren’t the most welcoming.

And the music needs to be a bit better.

But then, would it be morris without the anachronism, the beards, the real ale and the stupid hats?

Yes. If it’s a form of dancing, then it’s still dancing without the trappings. A plié is still ballet without a tutu. Breaking is still hip hop without the dope, bling or low slung trousers. Doing a moonwalk still makes you look like a dick no matter what the circumstances.

I love dance. I really do. But I find it hard to engage with things that have strict structures (and struct strictures) within which you have to take part in order to take part. You shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to dance (unless you’re hulaing, or somesuch).

I recently felt excluded from a ceilidh on the basis of the gender stereotyping (this was magnified by the fact I was at a family wedding, and so was wearing trousers for the first time in forever). It was upsetting, even from afar, to witness such unnecessary rules being enforced by social norms.

I don’t know how bad morris is for that. Whether the morris men are exclusive by habit or their demographic is just unfashionable. In fact, the world of the beardy old men is opening up. Ale is in, and so are folk nights and apple days.

Morris is going to get in soon, I suspect. To broaden and welcome. The best thing is, it’ll stay uncool, it’s just that it’ll be the kind of uncool that’s cool for some.

But it’ll probably be a while before they start doing it to dubstep. Which is a pity.

My favourite bit of apple day this year was the incredibly incongruous dubstep.

Morris up!

Illustration by Chris, who had a million deadlines today, so I guess that’s okay.


About Alex Ava

Joiner of Dots. Player of Games. Unreliable Narrator. Dancing Fool.
This entry was posted in Questions by Kat, Special Guest Illustrations. Bookmark the permalink.

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