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    Traditional Morris Culture Revival in London


    by NTDTelevision

    "5000 Morris Dancers" is a groundbreaking event, celebrating traditional English folk dance.

    Morris dance performances, pop art installations, top folk musicians, and a film premier, all showcase the best of Morris culture, at London's Southbank Centre.

    Pop artist David Owen organized the event to challenge widespread negative perceptions of Morris dancing.

    [David Owen, Pop Artist]: (male, English)
    "I was rather upset by a comment that Lord Coe made when he was watching the opening of the Beijing Olympics. Somebody said to him: "What will we be having at the opening of the London Olympics?" and he quipped: "Well,we'll have 5000 Morris dancers." He was saying that, because the Morris dancer is a bit of a figure of fun in English folklore and English folk culture. People laugh at the Morris dancer. He's seen as a bit of a fool and a bit of an old-fashioned sort of stupid image. I was a bit upset by that because I don't really think the Morris dancer should be portrayed that way, so I decided to kind of reinvent the image of the Morris dancer for the modern generation. Coming at it from a different perspective, show it to people in a new light, try and sort of change peoples default position on the Morris dancer. And just kind of reinvent it for the modern age really."

    Simon Wright, squire or leader of London based side Hammersmith Morris Men, curated the weekend's dance groups. Simon tells us about the history of Morris dancing.

    [Simon Wright, Squire, Hammersmith Morris Men]: (male, English)
    "It was first recorded in maybe the 15th century in this country, as a high form of culture danced at the court. And it was possibly taken into the countryside as a result, and died away as a form of high culture. But you will find similar forms of dancing, things like Moreska in Croatia, Moresco in Spain and Italy, and the Basque country has a very similar form of dancing as well."


    NTD News, London