Dance, Then, Wherever You May Be!

Recently, my mother was present at the Life Day Festival in
Batsto Village. I know this sounds silly, but she told me about these wonderful dancers she saw there last year. After listening to her description, I informed her that she had witnessed Morris dancers and gave her strict instructions should she meet them again. Well, this year they were again present and my mother marched right up and asked them the name of their 'side.' When the man smiled, Mom prompted, 'Did I ask the right question?' Yup - she's my mom. He assured her she did and told her they were the Millstone River Morris, out of Princeton. He also gave her a piece of propaganda which has touched my heart - ergo this write-up.

While in England on research, I saw the oldest and most prestigious side in the country. It was a thrill. My research has touched on the Dancers at several key places, so I'm always aware of them. They are a part of me now. I've seen videos of them on Cerne Abbas on Beltane moming—beating the ground to 'wake her up.' It is traditions like this that keep me going.

So what touched my heart in the xeroxed page of information my mother received?

Why do you Morris dance?
We have to.

Yes, we do.

—Art & Text by Pattie Lawler