Morris dancing may be an ancient tradition but go to any summer fete, fair or countryside gathering and these flamboyant performers will still form a major part of the day’s activities.
Yet some Morris dancing groups are still struggling to attract younger members.
During the recent bank holiday, one of the county’s oldest groups, the Brackley Morris Men, kept a packed diary dancing at The Griffin in Chipping Warden, at Canons Ashby House, at the Everdon Fete, The Old Red Lion in Litchborough and at The Star Inn in Sulgrave.
The demand for their services is high, but the group, which is men only (although members do dance with other mixed sides) is keen to attract new blood.
Stephen Ferneyhough from the Brackley group, said: “Our heritage is 400 years old and we’re keen to keep it thriving for future generations to enjoy. All you need is a little rhythm, a bundle of energy, an enjoyment of teamwork and a big smile on your face.
“We have a long, colourful history dating back to at least 1725 when the Brackley Morris Men were paid half a guinea for dancing at the Whitsun celebrations at Aynho House, the seat of the Cartwright family. There is also a silver communion plate in the parish church of St Peter, Brackley, dated 1623, inscibed with the names of seven men, who are believed (according to local folklore) to have been the Morris dancers.”
Meanwhile, Pauline Dawes of the Braybrooke Morris Dancers (a mixed side) said: “It would be great if we could attract more young people into the Morris world, it is difficult to get young people to join. If I knew why, I would do something about it.”
For details on joining the Brackley group, call Stephen on 07764 799947 or visit www.thebrackleymorrismen.org.uk. To find out more about the Braybrooke club, visit braybrookemorris.blogspot.com or call 0116 2402481.