Morris & Other Dance Display Groups

Morris dancers in full regalia – Witham, Essex, 2016

Morris dancing is a form of Folk Dance traditional in England which dates back at least as far as 15th century. There now are a few predominant styles of Morris dancing, each named after its region of origin.

Many Morris sides specialise in one of these styles:

  • Cotswold Morris: originating from an area mostly in Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire.
  • North West (or Clog) Morris: a style that developed out of the mills in the North-West of England.
  • Border Morris from the English-Welsh border region.
  • Long Sword dance from Yorkshire and Teesdale.
  • Rapper Sword from Northumberland and Durham.
  • Molly dance from Cambridgeshire. Traditionally danced on Plough Monday.
Border Morris dancers and musicians 2021

Some Morris dancers used to wear black face paint, but moved away from this a good while ago.  Hence you’ll now see them wearing many different colours, designs and masks too. 

However, Morris isn’t the only folk dance style. EFA has many members who practice different styles of folk dance:

Some are social groups that meet periodically to have some fun. Some are display groups that practice so that they can give dance performances in a more formal setting.

Not only are there groups that perform English folk dances, but there are also groups that specialise in other international folk dance styles and mixed styles.

There are dance groups in and around the county that specialise in Irish dance, Caledonian dance, Flamenco, Appalachian, even Egyptian and Eastern dance.

Dance groups need dancers and musicians, so if you feel energetic enough and would like to join one of these groups why not contact the organiser or secretary of the group (known as the “bagman” in Morris parlance).

What is the correct collective noun for a group of dancers? A troupe, a gambol, a flight (male), a float (female)? Well, in Morris parlance it’s a ‘side’.

Dance Troupes/Sides who specialise in a particular style of dance and give displays:

Sunday Groups

AnnieMation (Colchester)
Sundays 11am – 1pm
http://anniemationclog.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/AnnieMationClogColchester/
Ian Parker:  01206 577222   anniemationclog@gmail.com

Flamenco Ole
Jennifer Godwin: 01277 355423, the.godwins@btinternet.com

Hoddesdon Crownsmen (Rapper Sword Team)
Tim Short: 07503 914189

Priory Morris
Miriam Russel: 01255 822481

Upstreet Morris
Suzanne Eccleston: 0208 550 2470

Monday Groups

Belchamp Morris
A Border Morris side. In January each year Belchamp Morris change their garb and become Molly dancers, known as Belchamp Ploughboys and girls.
Contact: Cathy Fitzgerald (bagman)
kieransgm@gmail.com

Chingford Morris Men (North-West Morris)
http://www.chingfordmorris.org.uk
were founded in 1962 and continue to perform their Chingford dances and dances from the north west tradition.  They welcome beginners at practices.
Helen Wilson (Bagman): 01992 712765  enquiries@chingfordmorris.org.uk

Colchester Historical Dance 
Caroline Rudd: caroline_rudd06@yahoo.co.uk

Leading Lights Morris (October-April)
Maggie Schooler: 01255 504590, margaret.schooler@tiscali.co.uk

Thaxted Morris Men (October-April)
http://www.thaxtedmorris.org
Christopher Bull: cbull1@btinternet.com

Tuesday Groups

Benazir Eastern Dance Troupe
An Eastern (Habena) oriental dance troupe based in Romford (Harold Hill).
Weekly Intermediate/Advanced classes held on Tuesday Evenings.
Contact: Rosie Flint: 01277 374378

Fiddlers Brook Morris
Gill Munro: 01279 723707, neilandgillmunro@aol.com

Maldon Greenjackets Morris
Originally with all male dancers, but since 2000 it has been a mixed  group or “side” that dances mainly in the Cotswold tradition.
http://www.maldonmorris.org/MGJhome.html
Contact: Dave/Linda: 01621 851164, maldongreenjackets@hotmail.co.uk

Morrismen of Little Egypt
Mike Sewell: 01787 280145   mike_sewell53@yahoo.co.uk
http://www.little-egypt.org.uk

Wednesday Groups

Alive & Kicking North West (Clog) Morris
A mixed Morris side, formed in 1992 from Maldon. Their colours were chosen from the Maldon crest and consist of royal blue, with gold and white.
http://www.maldonmorris.org/ANKhome.html
angelaclarke60@googlemail.com
bullenbell@btinternet.com

Aswan Egyptian Dancers
Gayla Rowling: gayladenise@hotmail.com

Benazir Eastern Dance Troupe
An Eastern (Habena) oriental dance troupe based in Romford (Harold Hill).
Weekly classes held on Wednesday Evenings:
Beginners/​Improvers 19.30-20.45.
Improvers/​Intermediate 20.45-22.00.
Contact: Rosie Flint: 01277 374378

Blackhorse and Standard Women’s North West Morris
Beginner female dancers and musicians (any gender) are always welcome at their practices in Walthamstow, 7.45 – 9.45pm.
Carol McGuinness: 020 8514 8771, Blackhorseandstandard@googlemail.com
Facebook: Blackhorse and Standard Women’s North West Morris’.

Blackhorse and Standard Morris at Larkshall, Chingford

Blackmore Morris 
Hamish Bremner: 01279 413962, blackmoremorris@gmail.com

Chelmsford Morris (Men) September-April
http://www.chelmsfordmorris.co.uk
Celia Kemp: 01245 263753, bagman@chelmsfordmorris.co.uk

Mehalah Morris (Border Morris-Mixed Men and Women)) – West Mersea
Nina Stevens:  07538 462232,   playisland@gmail.com

Platypus Appalachian
Kathie Bamforth: 01206 241266

Soken Molly Gang
http://www.battym.freeserve.co.uk/soken.html
Malcolm Batty: 01255 851399

The Thameside Mummers (alternate Weds – ‘phone first)
Simon Hill: 07768 363808, thamesidemummers@gmail.com

Thursday Groups

Bows ‘n’ Belles North West Morris
Bows ‘n’ Belles are a ladies North West Clog dancing team.
Practice night is Thursday 8.00pm at Aldham Village Hall.
New dancers or musicians are always welcome.
Contact: Sue Pratt Tel: 01206 240682
or email: bowsnbellesclog@yahoo.co.uk

Chelmsford Morris (Women)
September-April
http://www.chelmsfordmorris.co.uk
Celia Kemp: 01245 263753, bagman@chelmsfordmorris.co.uk

Cockleshell Clog (Leigh-on-Sea)
Mary Storrar: 01702 218081, cockleshellclog@live.co.uk

Dark Horse Morris
A Morris side from Maldon that dance Border Morris.
http://www.maldonmorris.org/DH%20home.html
Liz Jeary: 01621 742488
darkhorsemorris@yahoo.co.uk

Mayflower Morris Men (September-April)
http://www.mayflowermorris.com
Geoff Douglas   01277 650631   e-mail: bagman@mayflowermorris.com
http://www.mayflowermorris.com

Royal Liberty Morris  http://www.royallibertymorris.org.uk

Rumford Morris Men
Sue Fuller: 01375 374648, rumfordmorris@hotmail.com

The Good Easter Molly Dancers (November-Plough Monday, January)
Simon Tarrant  01245 231437   tarrant.simon@outlook.com

Friday Groups

Colchester Morris Men
http://www.colchestermorrismen.org
Russ Smih:    bagman@colchestermorrismen.org

Hands Around Basildon Morris (mixed)
June Wells: 01268 521645

Rising Larks
Sue Curd: 01473 811742, susiecurd@hotmail.co.uk

Saturday Groups

Maureen Corr Irish Dancers
Maureen Corr: 01702 230788