A bit of History about North West Morris
North West (Clog) Morris derives from the processional dance traditions that evolved in Lancashire and Cheshire in the early 19th century. There is a parallel but separate dance tradition of Step-clog dancing. This involves fast and intricate steps performed wearing clogs with wooden soles (ideally made of ash wood) and leather uppers – but without the rubbers or irons of the North West tradition.
Whilst in the 19th century the North West sides would consist mostly of men, in the early part of the 20th century more women became involved in Morris Dancing, probably as a result of the toll the wars had on the male population. During this time teams tended to be formed from the employees of textile mills and other local factories. In its heyday North West Morris was danced to the sound of the local brass band. Today the bands of the North West sides normally feature a drum, an accordion and a tambourine.
The dances are often named after the towns or villages in which they originated or were first collected: names like Runcorn, Blackrod, Horwich, Grenoside, Saddleworth. The dances are normally for sets of eight, or sometimes six, people and consist of patterns involving a repertoire of basic steps. They are mostly set to traditional English tunes which can be played by anything from a brass ensemble to a single accordionist or, in our case, a melodeonist.
We are a women’s side who dance in the NW Clog Morris style. We wear traditional Lancashire clogs.
The group was formed in Cambridge around 30 years ago and is still going strong.
We practice from September until May in St Augustine’s Church Hall, Richmond Road, Cambridge. In the summer we usually ‘dance out’ on our practice night at a variety of local venues. We also dance at a number of other events and festivals each year, both in East Anglia and further afield. Whittlesea, Ely, Rochester, Sheringham and Leigh-on-Sea are among some of our regular festival appearances. See our Diary page for more information.