Learn to speak fluent Morris…

Side –  A group of Morris dancers from the same team: “Are they a North West side then?”

Team –  Morris dancing is a sport after all…isn’t it?

Set  The number of dancers required to perform a particular dance – often in multiples of 4 or 6: “Can we have a set up to dance please?”

Squire –  Boss/captain of the side: “Squire says drink up – we’re on next.”

Bagman – The side secretary

Foreman – Dance instructor

Dance off – The extra bit after the dance ends, when the music starts again and the side dances off in a reasonably orderly fashion. It’s neater than shambling off to the nearest pub doorway and if timed just right can even lead directly into the pub doorway!

Dance out – As the evenings get longer and lighter, Morris sides venture out into the light after a long winter of hard graft in darkened church halls and community centres. Literally dancing out and about: “We’re dancing out next Tuesday” or “Next dance out will be at the Rose & Crown.”

Kit – The colourful Morris clothes “You’ve spilt beer down yer kit!”

Baldric – Not Tony Robinson, but the brightly coloured crossed sashes often worn over a white shirt

Sticks – These can range from little short things with bells or ribbons on to the longer, heftier and considerably more intimidating bits of tree bashed about by the border sides. Some sides use several different styles and often repurpose spindles or bobbins from old mills.

Hanks – Used like sticks, but made of coloured woollen yarn or cord and often plaited.

Irons – Like horseshoes for clogs – no good for your wooden floors, lethal on smooth and shiny surfaces, but oh so lovely and noisy!

Bells – On shins, on sticks, on shoes and on clogs. Some sides insist on everyone having them, some award them for years of service, some are conveniently left at home…

Blacking up – Usually Border or Molly teams upholding the traditions of disguising your identity. Some still look like they have had an argument with the boot polish, whilst others have developed painting their faces into an art form all of their own.