Open Morris

Open Morris

Open Morris is one of the three umbrella groups for morris dance sides in England. It was formed primarily by members of Fenstanton Morris (an early mixed sex dance side operating near Huntingdon) in the early 1980s as a response to the male-only policy of the Morris Ring and the female-only riposte of the Morris Federation (although, by 1980, the Morris Federation had already dropped their female-only policy in favour of one that allowed mixed teams and would by the mid-80s allow all-male teams to join as well although several female only sides[who?] were against the idea of mixed dancing, just as much against it in fact as were Ring sides[citation needed]).

Today Open Morris has a large number of member sides and interacts happily with the other umbrella groups. Members of this grouping have always made a point of promoting morris dance as a living tradition and enjoying themselves. They are generally not especially "academic" about the tradition[citation needed].

The "politics" of morris dancing around the time of Open Morris's formation led to almost open warfare between some male-only sides[who?] and those of female or mixed gender memberships[who?] while others found it hard to see what the problem was. Instances of verbal and, on rare occasions, physical abuse or other attempts by a small subset of men's sides[who?] to prevent women's or mixed sides performing are well documented.[citation needed]

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