I’ve often thought about the same question as Dave has in his ‘Why I Dance’ article. It has interested me for a long time, why do we dance and in its widest sense not just why the Morris, and I think there are other reasons in addition to the 4 that Dave gives.
The first is the need to passionately express feelings of happiness, joy, freedom and the like.
A child will dance around in an uncontrolled way to express his/her feelings even animals leap about for no apparent reason.
So I think that all forms of dance are the need to express ourselves in an artistic form. Humans being human have created and developed to varying states of excellence many styles of dance to express what they are feeling inside.
Some have lost the original sense and become so stylised perfection becomes the purpose. But others, and folk is among them has stayed close to its roots, re one of Dave’s point. That leads to another potential reason for dancing Morris, it is somehow genuine, it is not an engineered production, packaged and marketed but Morris is what it is, what you see is genuine. Yes there are mistakes and individualism but there is an overall cohesion, simplicity and genuineness. That might be why some people stop to look at it.
People then for cultural and choice choose a form or forms of dance they like. Mostly for the reasons Dave has given. The music is written to match that form of dance, and so each feeds off the other. However whatever the reason is for dancing a particular form of dance, for me the essential ingredient is passion both in dance and in playing the music. If you have no passion about your dance or music then I can’t see the point of it.
The Spanish have a word for it “duende” the state of being when the musician or dancer or both together reach a state of being that transcends their existence. Flamenco dancers and musicians will search for years to find duende, Morris dancers often reach this state after two pints.
Peter Morris, dancer and musician