North West Morris Dance Competition Rules

The aim of this competition is to raise awareness of North West as a distinctive regional style of Morris, to promote high standards, and to encourage new dancers to join existing North West teams or to start new teams.

Please send any queries to Judith at dance@wimbornefolk.co.uk or phone 01202 693039 (the phone has Callguard, don't panic, just give your name and say 'morris competition' and if I'm in, I'll pick up the phone.)

Rules of the Competition

  1. The competition is for North West Morris. Other styles of dance are not allowed (this does not exclude teams who dance other Morris styles on other occasions).

  2. Teams must be booked at Wimborne Minster Folk Festival in order to enter the competition.

  3. Dancers must be accompanied by live music. (There is an exception for children's teams, but they will be unable to reach a high score for music when using recorded music. They are permitted to use musicians from other teams, but will lose some points on costume if the musicians don't match the team).

  4. Each team may only enter once.

  5. The competition will be held on the second Saturday of June in the town of Wimborne Minster.

  6. There will be two parts to the competition. As North West was originally a processional dance, the first part of the competition will take part in the festival's Saturday procession. The judges will be positioned along the route and will judge the teams as they process past.

  7. The second dance of the competition will be a static dance, to be performed in the Allendale Centre. This part of the competition will begin after the procession has finished. Please make your way to the Allendale Centre after completing the procession.

  8. If there are more than eight teams entering the competition, then we may limit numbers going forward to the second part. (This is to prevent the competition running too late. This rule may change in future years when we've a better idea of how many competitors there will be.)

  9. One of the two dances must be traditional and the other modern. It is the team's choice as to whether to do the traditional dance in the procession or in the Allendale Centre.

  10. The closing date for entries is two weeks before the festival (but remember that your team must be booked at the festival to be able to enter). Early entries will make it easier for us to plan this first competition.

  11. There will be four judges, one each for:

    Technique – are the lines straight, are moves between figures fast and fluid, are dancers in synch, does the stepping include either single step or cross polka (rant), does the team move well in the procession.

    Performance – is the traditional dance actually traditional – our performance judge is willing to look at your notation long before the competition so that you can check you have a valid dance (You can upload the notation on your team web record, or tell us the name of the dance and the source you used for it – we suggest you do this early on. Any dance from the sources listed below is likely to count as traditional. If you have another dance that you believe is traditional, contact us and tell us all about it.); choreography of modern dance, interaction with audience, how is the director used in the procession, Wow factor, entrances and exits.

    Costume – is it NW in style, is it clean and in good condition, does it fit well, is it uniform across the team, does it appeal to the audience, deportment (do they look smart, do they stand smartly).

    Music – is the drummer on time, do the band sound good, do the band interact well with the dancers, does the music go well with the dance, do the audience respond well to the music, was a traditional tune used for the traditional dance.

  12. Clogs are not compulsory, but adult teams will score a little bit more if wearing clogs. There will be an exception made for the indoor dance, for teams who only have clogs with irons. We'd rather have no clogs than clog irons on a wooden floor...

  13. The judge's decision is final. The judges' guidelines are available, but these are guidelines only and do not constitute grounds for an appeal.

  14. There is currently no bar on a winning team competing the following year.

  15. If there are more than two teams with an average age over 50, then a special prize will be created for the best team in this category.

  16. If there are two or more children's teams, then the judge's may award a prize for the best youth team if they feel the standard is high enough. They may at their discretion, waive the requirement for two dances where children's teams are concerned.

  17. To enter the competition, tick the box on your team web record for NW competition. The option to upload notation for your traditional dance will then appear.

  18. If you would like tips before the festival on how to improve your dance, our head judge is happy to view videos and give constructive feedback.

If you need sources for traditional dances, here's a handy list:

  1. Roy Dommett's Morris Notes Vol 2 North-West Morris 1986 - available online at https://sites.google.com/wsesu.org/roy-dommetts-morris-notes/home/dommett-volume-2 It's a scan (with permission) of a photocopy, so not always easy to read, but it's very informative with lots of useful dances.

  2. The Lancashire Morris Dance by Maud Karpeles (Describes the Royton dance, which is also in Roy Dommett's Morris Notes)

  3. Mally's North West Morris Book by Carolyn Wade (A book of traditional NW music, on sale from Hobgoblin and other folk music shops. Contains lots of tunes in G and D that you will recognise. I taught myself concertina by playing tunes from this book.)

  4. North West Morris Dancing - a selection from Trefor Owen's Collection (For sale in the Morris Federation's online shop at £6:50 – contains some good dances)

  5. Morris Dancing on the Lancashire Plain. The Preston Tradition, 1890 to 1939 by Pruw Boswell, 1981
    Out of print, but copies come up second-hand, I've got one myself - can copy dances if asked)

  6. The Horwich Inquiry (Morris dancing on the Lancashire plain) by Pruw Boswell, 1984
    Hard to find even second-hand, but the Morris Federation have a copy in their library and might be willing to loan it.

  7. Morris Federation website online notation library. The dances here are a mixture of traditional and modern, so do check before using one.

    In particular Garland Dances and North West Morris