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The Death of Morris

So, the The Morris Ring (1) have a problem with declining membership.

Let me see, could that be anything to do with their "oh no things can't ever change"/"we wouldn't even think of dancing anywhere near anyone who even looked like a woman" attitude (1)?

As far as I can see, there look to be quite a few young morris dancers around. Admittedly not in the ring though, whose average age seems on par with the combined age of the collections of the Natural History Museum (as mentioned above this may have something to do with their general outlook) (2).

Morris dead in 20 year? I don't think so...


(1) - For those that don't know, there are 2 other Morris organisations, The Morris Federation and Open Morris. Both organisations are somewhat younger than the ring and both have a somewhat more relaxed attitude to the whole tradition and who can dance thing.

(2) - OK, there are members of the ring who don't share that attitude, but there are those that do (to the extent that they won't dance in the same location as a side that include women) and as that is what the overall philosophy of the organisation appears to be.

(3) - OK, they're not quite that old, but having opened themselves up to ridicule, I'm happy to oblige.

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( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
capra_maritimus
6th Jan, 2009 20:19 (UTC)
So, the The Morris Ring (1) have a problem with declining membership.

Let me see, could that be anything to do with their "oh no things can't ever change"/"we wouldn't even think of dancing anywhere near anyone who even looked like a woman" attitude (1)?


That's my reason for not joining. Well, that anfd not living in the UK. :D
exmoor_cat
6th Jan, 2009 21:35 (UTC)
I'm still sniggering at the Ring. It's annoying though as a knock on effect seems to be that the "Original Welsh Border Morris" tour is also creaking at the knees.

My dad's side (Great Western) went through a stagnation bit, but suddenly in the early '0's, they picked up a dozen under 25s - part 2nd generation, but mostly young local dancers coming in via the young tradition and university folk societies.

The other sides I see managing to recruit to cover their losses all seem to be Fed or Open.
king_pellinor
6th Jan, 2009 22:41 (UTC)
It's not an attitude, it's an image. Unfortunately, it's a bugger to shake off :-(

I don't actually know anyone in the Ring who objects to women dancing, or to change. And as for youth, the Morris 18-30 is made up entirely of Ring members (or was last time I looked) :-) There are probably some rotten apples, but I've not come across them so they must be easy enough to avoid.

The problem seems to be more that there are people in the Open or Fed who have a grudge against the Ring... ;-)
hmmm_tea
6th Jan, 2009 23:15 (UTC)
It's not entirely unfounded. I've seen rings sides refuse to dance with other sides because they include women.
king_pellinor
7th Jan, 2009 22:32 (UTC)
Well that is explicitly *not* Ring policy. Witness the Trafalgar Square dancing and its sequels, for example.

The only reason I've seen the Ring give for not having ladies' or mixed sides is that most of the members like being single-sex. There's no objection to ladies dancing (I keep getting accounted a member of a ladies' side myself), it's just nice to get away from them occasionally ;-)
capra_maritimus
6th Jan, 2009 23:30 (UTC)
My former co-squire doesn't mention that she's a morris dancer to the Morris Ring people she knows when she visits them in England (she also dances English Country and Clog). So I would guess that the attitude is still around to some extent.

If it is just an image (and it would be lovely if the image were wrong!) then perhaps they need to change that by, you know, embracing a certain amount of change.
king_pellinor
7th Jan, 2009 22:29 (UTC)
It's not an image I understand, based on the people I know in the Ring. What sort of change would you like? It may already be underway.

I suppose one of the problems with the Ring is that part of its appeal is that it's got lots of old-fashioned elements (sit-down dinners with ceremony and speeches at Ring meetings, for example), but that very thing seems to suggest that all the values are old-fashioned too, which I don't think is true. Ho hum :-D
cartesiandaemon
7th Jan, 2009 00:43 (UTC)
Oh, I see. I should probably add "Step 18. Assume the first organisation you find that claims to be is the de facto governing body of the subject at hand" to my list. Obviously they had, I just didn't know they might have been wrong :)
packbat
7th Jan, 2009 03:13 (UTC)
So to draw a comparison to U.S. politics...
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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