Joining the 400 Roses Morris Side has been a bit like running away with the circus. I’ve always loved Morris Dancing– to see Brits dancing, in the streets no less, ringing in the spring and seasonal festivals is one of the highlights of living in England. The 70s folk revival has brought Morris traditions new life and with it the forms have evolved.
The 400 Roses is a uniquely Yorkshire side– founded by Christ Ogden, it’s a fusion of tribal belly dance and Morris formations with its own band T’Thorns playing traditional Morris tunes. The dances are done outside in the streets, in the wilds of village fetes, folk, waterways, steam trains and sheep festivals.
When I told my husband Mike that I’d been invited to join the Roses he exclaimed, “That’s one of the greatest honors in Yorkshire!” And he wasn’t wrong.
It took me some time to assemble the costume which is a reference to trad Morris gear and mummers coats. Chris generously lent me her bustle belt until I could make one of my own. You can’t hear the bells in the picture, but they are there en masse, heralding spring.