As our name suggests, we are based in Windsor, in Berkshire, one of the ‘Home Counties’ to the west of London, England. The town is dominated by the magnificent castle, one of the King’s main residences, which is portrayed in our logo.
The side was founded in 1974, which makes us one of the longest-established women’s morris teams in the country.
We are a friendly, energetic and enthusiastic group who enjoy dancing together and taking our dances to a variety of audiences. We get together every week, on a Wednesday evening, to work on perfecting our team-work, training up new dancers and musicians, and inventing new dances. The dancers in the team are all female, since we aim to have a consistent team style, but we do have male musicians.
Our dances are based on the styles performed at the end of the nineteenth century in the Cotswold villages of Badby and Brackley. We perform to the lively music of the melodeon, accompanied by an uplifting drumbeat. We have adapted these styles to provide an exciting spectacle and continue to compose new dances. We dance in a lively and energetic manner (well, most of the time!). We also like to create new dances - like our predecessors, we are keeping morris dancing alive by adapting it.
In 2005 we adopted a new ‘Tradition’ (style of dance steps and figures), based on Minneapolis-on-Charles, a style developed by The Commonwealth Morris Men in the USA. We first saw them dance it at the Marlboro Morris Ale in 1983, and learned the details from Tim Radford at an Advanced Morris Weekend some twenty years later! In homage to the original, we call it Windsor-on-Thames.
In September 2011, Shirley Dixon, our foreman (instructor) at the time, wrote a brief history of Windsor Morris where you can read about the “interesting times” in the 1970s when it was revolutionary for women to dance the Morris. This was originally published in English Dance and Song, the members’ magazine of the English Folk Dance and Song Society and has been reproduced by kind permission of the Society.
In summer we perform at venues in and around Windsor and further afield at festivals, and as guests of other Morris sides. Check out our programme for more details.
We are easily spotted in our sparkling white kit, with splashes of green, red and yellow on our rosettes and ribbons providing a colourful contrast. Watch out for our ‘Fools’, who act as our MCs and can give us a noisy whack with the bladder if we step out of line - Cherry, with the Round Tower hat, and Sally, given to punning limericks.
We are often asked how we keep our kit sparkling white. Quite easy really - we avoid messy food, children and dogs, and don’t sit down all day!
We run a ‘taster’ course every Autumn at which you too can learn to dance.