Returning to Morris Dancing


Is Morris dancing something you grow out of?  I thought so and yet here I am in my 50s back with the sticks and bells, and very happy to be dancing Morris again.


I had danced with Westminster Morris Men in central London for 15 years until the birth of my children. Ten years later with the children growing up I thought I would give Morris another go.  Practicing up in central London no longer suited family life, so I used the Morris Ring's Google Map to Locate Morris Groups to find my local side who turned out to be Spring Grove Morris Men of Kingston upon Thames.


My biggest worry was that starting to dance again during middle age was unwise.  Morris Dancing is an athletic dance style that requires agility and stamina, characteristics I had all but lost since I stopped dancing.


The men were welcoming and as well as dancing they encouraged me to learn an instrument.  Steve started teaching me the new dances and Robin started teaching me the tunes and advising on playing for dancing on an ancient Weltmeister melodeon that had been collecting dust for 25 years.


Spring Grove Morris Men has only a small number of dances in common with my old side, so I could learn the new material without it feeling "wrong".  The problem was where the material was in common; trying to learn the same dance but differently is really quite challenging.  One of the side described this as "muscle memory", it took a few years, but I think I'm there now, and my fitness is much improved.


The other big difference for me is the nature of the events the side dances at.  Spring Grove Morris Men is very much a local side.  It proudly announces its connection with "The Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames", supports local charities, dances at local events and for its members it's part of the jigsaw of events that makes Kingston.


Colin Messer - May 2006

Joined 2005, danced in 2006


A couple of years on I bought a beautiful new Saltarelle melodeon, and can now play twenty or so tunes competently and couple of tunes well enough for the men to dance to when we are out, and after years of service Steve took a break and I stepped in as foreman.


There has been a revival of popular support for Morris Dancing and a greater appreciation from audiences who what and organisation who wish to book us for events.  This year, 2011, we celebrated the centenary of the revival of Morris Dancing in Kingston.  The side has also experienced something of a renaissance over the last nine years. From a low point around the turn of the millennium there are now fifteen men on the books and a healthy dance programme. 


Colin Messer - Aug 2011

Foreman - Spring Grove Morris Men - 2007-2017