The Morris Comes To Stone!

Jeff Kent and Sue Bell
Jeff Kent and Sue Bell
Stone readers are being invited to put on their dancing shoes and join in the fun when the Mercia Morris dancers move their successful group to town.

Organisers Sue Bell and Jeff Kent will be leading the weekly sessions which start on Thursday 18th September at Pire Hill First School, in Tilling Drive (ST15 0AA).

Sue has many years’ experience as a morris teacher and as a dancer and musician with a number of different sides, including Glorishears of Brummagem, from Birmingham. Jeff is an accomplished musician who mainly plays percussion, but also assists with the dance instruction.

Sue and Jeff launched Mercia Morris in their home village of Cotes Heath in 2013 and are now looking forward to bringing the team to a new venue in Stone.

Sue says

“Morris dancing is great fun and helps improve fitness. I have taught hundreds of people to dance and there have been very few who haven’t mastered the essentials within a short time. Anyone can come along and have a go as we will be starting with the basics.”

The origins of morris dancing remain a mystery, but there are several references to it in Shakespeare’s works. In the late 1800s, Cecil Sharp toured Cotswold villages noting down the music and figures of the traditional English dance.

Today there are a number of distinct types and Mercia Morris concentrate on performing dances based on traditional Border and Cotswold styles, along with Molly dances from East Anglia.

The side includes plenty of the traditional elements of morris dancing, such as clashing sticks and waving hankies, but Jeff says

“We like to develop our own dances, often using 20th century music, played on the melodeon and percussion to give it a traditional flavour.”

The group is open to all adults (beginners and experienced dancers) and Sue recommends that participants wear training shoes or similar footwear. The first two sessions will be free of charge and the cost from then on will be £3 per week. The sessions run from 7.45 pm to 9.15 pm. Further information can be obtained from Sue or Jeff on 01782 791673 or by emailing suebell28@aol.com, but interested people can just turn up on the night!