Morris dance on, off screen this weekend

morris-dance-seattleIf you’ve seen the trailer for Morris: A Live with Bells On, the “mockumentary” that opens this weekend at SIFF, you might have assumed that the existence of Morris dancing is itself part of the joke.

You would have assumed wrong, but don’t feel too bad – while there are plenty of Morris dancers all over the world, even here in Seattle (note this photo by Ashley Fisher of some Morris dancers at Gasworks Park for evidence)–this traditional English folk dance isn’t exactly a household name kind of dance.

Over a hundred dancers who come from British Columbia to Arizona and all points in between are hoping to do something about that, celebrating both the North American debut of the film and the Northwest Folklife Festival with appearances this weekend at the Seattle Center. Morris dancers will parade the Center grounds and perform outside of SIFF Cinema before the 11 am screening of A Life in Bells on Saturday, May 23.

Morris is a style of dance which includes rhythmic stepping and choreographed routines by ribbon and bell festooned dancers who use accessories including sticks, swords, and, of course, handkerchiefs, to carry out their performances. Be sure to stop by SIFF Cinema or the Northwest Folklife Festival this weekend to see it for yourself.

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