Monday, July 21, 2008


The Katonah Village Library is pleased to present American Travelling Morrice, a Morris Dancing group, on August 19 at 4:30 on our plaza.

The American Travelling Morrice dance group has chosen our area for their annual dancing tour for the first time in their 33 years of touring. The Travelling Morrice consists of Morris men from all over the country, including more than a few dancers of international fame in the field.

The merry jingling of bells and the resounding clashing of sticks will soon waft through
the summer air at the Katonah Library. The dancing is vigorous, colorful and great fun to watch. "There is nothing quite like the Morris dancers", says New York City resident James Walker, organizer of this year's tour. "The music of fiddles and melodeons, the sound of the bells on the dancers' legs and the bright colors flashing in the sun create an unusual spectacle which catches people by surprise. Suddenly there appears this incredibly energetic and exciting situation right in
the middle of the day! It is worth it to come out and watch".

This performance is free and open to the public. However, the dancers are quick to point out the time-honored Morris custom of passing the hat, enabling the spectators to participate in the tradition and, as they put it, "partake in the Morris luck".

While the origins of the Morris dance tradition are lost in history, the centuries-old custom first noted down in 1458 apparently evolved as a ritual designed to shake off the dark and gloom of winter and celebrate the coming of spring, bringing luck and fertility to participants and audience alike.

Most of the dances are performed by six men at a time, with either sticks or handkerchiefs in hand. The dancers are recognized by their distinctive outfits or "kits," consisting traditionally of white trousers and shirts set off by multi-colored ribbons, bells and gaily decorated hats. Accompanying each Morris team is at least one musician who performs lively English folk melodies on accordion, concertina, fiddle, or pipe and tabor (drum), as well as a mascot or Fool, who frisks about good-naturedly taunting and baiting the dancers and entertaining the crowd.

For further information, please contact the library at 914-232-3508.