Try something different this autumn! Farnham’s local morris dance team, Jackstraws Morris,  is running free taster sessions on Monday evenings in September, in which you can have a go at morris dancing. Morris is a team dance to live music, related to European folk dance but very vigorous – and a lot more complex than you might think. It offers good exercise and coordinated teamwork, in a very sociable and friendly environment.

500 years ago, Royal courts and wealthy houses throughout Europe were hiring morris dancers – the style of dance is unknown, but you can see statues of ‘Morisktanzer’ carved in 1480 in the museum in Munich, Germany.

Changes in fashion, and the movement of country people to towns in the 19th century led to Morris dancing being almost extinct in Britain when in 1899 a folk music researcher called Cecil Sharp saw a group of dancers at Headington in Oxfordshire and realised that they were the heirs to an ancient tradition. He went on to travel all over the south midlands to track down dancers and those who remembered dances. Those dances, now called ‘Cotswold Morris’, form the basis of what Jackstraws perform.

Jackstraws is a team of female dancers, but the taster sessions are open to all. There will be sessions on 12th, 19th and 26th September, 8-10 p.m., at the Hale Institute, Wings Road, Upper Hale, GU9 0HN (overlooking the cricket field). Different dances will be covered on each evening, so you could come along to any or all of them.

For further details, contact or check out the Jackstraws website