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Image by Don Theyken

Ann Arbor Morris

The Ann Arbor Morris and Sword Team evolved in 1976, out of the formerly annual Ann Arbor Medieval Festival. Since then we have performed traditional English morris dances in the streets of Ann Arbor and elsewhere. We recently shortened our name to Ann Arbor Morris, but not much else has changed over the years. Our team currently consists of fourteen members. Our dances are generally of the Bucknell tradition, although we frequently experiment with others and even make up our own dances to keep things lively. We hope to see you at some of our performances!

Past performances: Shakespeare in the Arb production of As You Like It, The Midwest Morris Ale!, Annual May Day Celebration at Nichols Arboretum, the Farmer's Market, and Heavenly Scent Herb Farm in Fenton.

Join Ann Arbor Morris

New members are always welcome! We practice Sunday nights from 6pm to 8pm. Please contact us first to let us know you're coming, as we sometimes cancel practice for special events.

Practice Locations:

Sep 1 - Apr 30: Indoors at Gretchen's House Childcare Center, 1580 Dhu Varren Rd, Ann Arbor, MI 48105.

May 1 - Aug 31: Two locations, depending on weather, both on the main campus of the University of Michigan.

What is Morris dancing?

Morris dancing is a ritual folkdance that originated in England and goes back to at least the 15th century. (Shakespeare mentions morris dancing in Henry V and All's Well That Ends Well.) As a ritual dance, morris has other purposes besides just plain fun. Fertility, death, and rebirth are common themes in morris. Morris dancers everywhere celebebrate May Day to welcome in the spring.

Morris dancers traditionally dress in all white, wear bells tied to their shins, and carry sticks or hankies. They dance to live music played on instruments such as the accordion, penny whistle, fiddle, and tabor. While many dances have been passed down over the years, new dances and traditions are being developed by teams everywhere.

Fortunately, morris dancing is no longer considered a misdemeanor!