Morris Dancers at the Perth Medieval Fayre


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Morris Dancers at the Perth Medieval Fayre


baldricks, bell pads, Cotswolds, custom, dance, dance troupe, dancers, dancing, ‘early Morris Project’, festivity, flowers, Folk dance, handkerchief, hat, May, maypole, medieval festivities, medieval recreation, morris dancing, Perth, Perth Medieval Fayre, re-creation, recreation, sticks, traditional dance, Western Australia, WA


Morris dancers performing a version of the folk dance at the Perth Medieval Fayre in Western Australia. The style of the dance is derived from the English villages of the Cotswolds and is characterised by groups of six men dressed in white clothing with coloured baldricks, bell pads and flower-covered hats dancing in formation. The dancers also frequently make use of handkerchiefs and sticks in this form of morris dance. The origins of morris dancing are subject to debate, with some scholars arguing that it developed from a pagan fertility ritual, and others arguing that it originated in the medieval period. Scholars involved in collating references to morris dancing for the ‘Early Morris Project’ have suggested that the earliest written reference is in two English wills dated 1458 (see John Forrest and Michael Heaney, ‘Charting Early Morris’ in Folk Music Journal, vol.6, no.2, 1991, pp.169-186). Morris dancing has also frequently been linked to the month of May and the dancing and festivities that took place around the maypole.

The Perth Medieval Fayre is organised and run by the Western Australian Medieval Alliance. In 2011 it was held at Supreme Court Gardens on 19 March. Enthusiasts and vendors showcased a range of medieval arts and crafts, from dancing, calligraphy and lace-making to demonstrations of the techniques, weaponry and apparel of medieval combat.


McEwan, Joanne


19 March 2011


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