Portsmouth celebrates ancient Morris dancing tradition

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THE ancient English tradition of Morris dancing is to be celebrated with a Day of Dance in Portsmouth.

Locations across the city will play host to more than 18 ‘sides’ of visiting dancers from across the south for a colourful and family-fun live musical spectacle.

The day kicks off at 10am on July 19 in Guildhall Square, with a vibrant demonstration from all 18 groups.

They will showcase the variations of costume, dance styles.

In addition to the classic stick and hanky dances associated with Cotswold-style Morris, groups will perform Border-style, with masked faces and cloth-tatter coats.

There will be north-west style dancing, which originated in Lancashire.

And spectators can enjoy performances of Appalachian, rapper-sword and garland dancing.

Event organiser Mark Taylor of local Portsmouth group Victory Morris is looking forward to the celebration.

He said: ‘We’re excited about bringing Morris to the masses.

‘This is the second year we have held this event, there will be more morris dancers in the city than you can point a large stick at.

‘It promises to be a great family day out, with a colourful host of culture and music to take in.’

The event will end will end with an evening of singing and music to be held at the Barley Mow pub in Castle Road, Southsea, from 5.30pm