Maple Morris Review

A few weekends ago, I went to very weird get together. The week before I went to upstate New York to a festival that drew 5000 attendees. Then, I went to Washington, DC to dance with 24 or 25 other people from across the country and Canada. I think of it as "my generation," Morris dance gathering.

This May marks my 10th anniversary of being a Morris dancer. I've spent most of that time, easily being twenty years away from the next-youngest Morris dancer on my team. Morris isn't aging quite that fast: but there are a lot of quirky things that happen given the small sample sizes.

I've been involved in the folk world for years. Lots of folk dance and traditional music. I'm so accustomed to this, that I'm not really sure what people who aren't do with their time. When I think about other communities, I always reach back to experiences and phenomena that I've seen in the folk world.

While I grew up in the folk dance world, I'm coming to terms with a couple of things: First, folk communities are different in different parts of the country/world, and the community in Boston (or New York, or Philadelphia) is very different from what I grew up with. Second, I'm realizing that while I'm "a young person" who grew up with music and dance, I'm no longer "a folk dance kid," (and that's a nifty thing to experience.)

Given this, I've had the following Morris related thoughts, that seem worth recording:

  • It's really nice to be part of a single age cohort in this activity, mostly because I've not had significant opportunity to dance with people in my general age group.
  • I quite enjoy being more than just a familiar face in a contra dance line, or someone that you see across the square when singing sacred harp.
  • These weekends always challenge me to be a better dancer, and make me realize that I need to focus and work on certain aspects of my dancing.
  • While it's in-ideal to have gatherings capped at really small numbers, having a small group means a greater strength of connection between everyone, and it means that a few people can do the organizing work without much institutional/organizational overhead. That's really cool.
  • Once again, my motto is "you don't have to do everything." Which is particularly difficult around Morris. But I think by avoiding overdoing it I'm able to: avoid injury and have greater successes at the things I do try. Can't argue with that. I'm young and I hope to dance for many years to come, and there'll be time enough for Sherborne then.
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