Morris men bring city streets to life

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UP to 1,000 Morris dancers took to the streets of Sheffield for a national event.

Groups from across the country headed to the city and gave colourful performances at around 15 locations.

The event - the Joint Morris Organisation day of dance - is held annually at different places around the UK. Last year it was Bury St Edmunds and next year it will be in Stratford upon Avon.

Dominic Rice, squire of Sheffield City Morris Men, said: “We had a good day and the rain held off. There were around 50 to 60 teams from across the country who came along, meaning between 800 and 1,000 dancers.

“Performances took place at a whole range of places in the city centre, from Barker’s Pool to the Winter Garden, and outside the Cathedral and Town Hall.”

Proceedings at this year’s event were organised by Peter Halfpenny, of Harthill Morris Men, who is squire of the Morris Ring - one of three national organisations which oversee the traditional entertainment.

Saturday’s event in Sheffield city centre will be followed tonight by an evening dance out at the Union Hotel, Union Road, Nether Edge, from 7.45pm.

People who enjoyed the displays can see more at further Morris dancing events.

These include a display by Sheffield City Morris Men at Rivelin School’s May Festival on Saturday, May 21.

There will also be a weekend of Morris dancing in the Peak District next month.

Dancing is to take place over the weekend of June 4 and 5 at three locations - Hassop Station, Bakewell town centre, and Monsal Head.

Mr Rice added: “Sheffield City Morris Men’s programme continues through May, June and July.

“In addition to local events, we are also doing a couple of weekends away in Exeter and Northamptonshire, and dancing at Warwick Folk Festival in late July.