What is Morris Dancing, anyway?

Banbury cross dancers at Lilac Sunday, 2007It’s a traditional dance form dating 15th century England, but also one that is alive and well today with morris teams in many areas around the world performing both classic and newly-created dances. Bells, handkerchiefs, and clashing sticks, and fools are involved.

More at wikipedia, and even more at the morris dancing wiki site.

What is the team’s history?

Banbury Cross Morris and Sword was established by Lynn Beasley in 1981 as the first youth morris team in the United States.  There is an illustrated history of Banbury Cross and other local children’s morris sides, and lots of additional information, in these two articles:

Who can join?

Banbury Cross invites anyone from fourth grade through high school to become a member. You are welcome to attend a few practices before deciding whether to join. Everyone who attends practice regularly will have a chance to join in the performances.

How much does it cost?

This may vary from year to year depending on expenses and the number of team members, but the last few years it has been $100 for each of the fall and spring semesters. Funds go to rent the practice space, pay for a musician and teacher, and to purchase materials for the team’s costume or “kit.” You will also need a set of morris bells, which is a one-time cost of about $30.

Clothing needs?

Banbury Cross dancers at NEFFABanbury Cross members wear a baldric, which is supplied by the team, white pants and white button-down shirts for performances. If you have trouble finding either, we have extras available. A good set of athletic shoes is needed for practices and gigs.

How can I find out more?

Contact the team’s squire at banburycrossmorrisdance@gmail.com