Home   News   Article

Subscribe Now

Joint Morris Organisations’ National Day of Dance sees hundreds of Morris dancers perform in Newark





Over the weekend the town was bursting with song and dance — as hundreds of Morris dancers came together for their national day of dance.

It was only the second time the event, which is held annually to celebrate the country’s national dances, had been held in a market town rather than a large city.

Hosted on Saturday, April 13, by Sutton-on-Trent based Trentside Holmes Morris, the Joint Morris Organisations’ National Day of Dance saw 35 teams — made up of over 200 dancers — from across England perform at venues across the town.

Adlington Morris from Stockport.
Adlington Morris from Stockport.

It included sides from Yorkshire, Manchester, Somerset, East Anglia, and the West Midlands, as well as Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire.

The day was supported by the Lincoln and Micklebarrow Morris Men, based in Newark, and Rattlejag Morris, based in Retford.

Teams, who are part of either The Morris Federation, The Morris Ring, or Open Morris, danced in a variety of traditional styles including Clog, Border and Cotswold Morris.

Rattlejag Morris' Grymblewyrm.
Rattlejag Morris' Grymblewyrm.
Ragged Oak from The West Midlands.
Ragged Oak from The West Midlands.
Sullivan's Sword from Nottingham.
Sullivan's Sword from Nottingham.
Greenwood Step Clog from Nottingham.
Greenwood Step Clog from Nottingham.

The day began with a welcome from the town’s Deputy Mayor Diane Ledger in front of the Town Hall, before dancing took place at Riverside Arena and Riverside Park, the Town Lock, in the Castle grounds, at The Wharf, in The Old Post Office beer garden, and in the Market Place from 10am to 4pm.

The day ended with a ‘Rattle Off’ dance for everybody, led by Rattlejag Morris — who also brought along their mighty Grymblewyrm.

Lucy Grainger, publicity officer for Rattlejag Morris, said: “We have never seen the town a-washed with as many Morris sides as there was on Saturday. As a side we must admit to feeling emotional when the two hundred plus Morris dancers danced our audience participation dance at the end of the day.

“To hear all the bells and the clogs in unison followed by the 25 second long applause at the end was so joyous.

“In the morning Rattlejag Morris went round Newark dressed up as our very own Grymblewyrm, much to the bemusement of the locals — especially the motorists waiting at the zebra crossings. Someone described us as "joyful and a bit silly" which perfectly describes the Grymblewyrm, it's Rattlejag's silliness and joyfulness personified.”

Bakanalia from Leicester.
Bakanalia from Leicester.
Bourne Borderers from Bourne.
Bourne Borderers from Bourne.
Dukes Dandy from Retford.
Dukes Dandy from Retford.
Bourne Borderers from Bourne.
Bourne Borderers from Bourne.

Mike Everett, of Trentside Holmes Morris, said: “The day far exceeded our expectations.

“I'd like to thank the people of Newark for their generosity as we raised just over £300 for charity. This will be shared between the Mayor's charities and Newark Community First Aid.”

There will also be more Morris dancing in the area next month, as Rattlejag Morris host their annual May Day event in Laxton on May 1.

Rattlejag Morris' Grymblewyrm.
Rattlejag Morris' Grymblewyrm.
Letchworth Morris from Letchworth.
Letchworth Morris from Letchworth.

The side will be joined by Trentside Holmes on Castle Hill in to dance up the sun, starting at around 5.20am.

The entrance to the track up the hill is opposite the church in Laxton and usually takes around a 20 minute walk — and all the early morning effort is rewarded with the display of Morris dancing against the first sun rise of May and the barbeque breakfast and keg of beer Rattlejag have brought up the hill with them.



This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More