Strolling the streets of Troy, NY during the annual Victorian Stroll, I saw the oddest group. Men and women dressed in felts and tartan – hoisting antlers on sticks – weaved through the crowds. I followed them to the central square where they formed into a circle. And as a fiddler played a tune I couldn’t quite catch over the din, a harlequin jester chased a human horse.
Who were these people?
Of course, I asked and discovered that they were Morris dancers.
Say what? Wikipedia tells me that “Morris dance is a form of English folk dance usually accompanied by music. It is based on rhythmic stepping and the execution of choreographed figures by a group of dancers. Implements such as sticks, swords, handkerchiefs and bells may also be wielded by the dancers.”
In the United States, there are thought to be 150 Morris Dance teams, referred to as Morris Sides.
Now I thought they seemed like a jolly troop, but I’m told there is a dark side to this Morris dancing business. Don’t you worry, though, for there is a…