American Morris Newsletter  

American Morris Newsletter

Volume 25, Number 4
December, 2005

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 AMN Article  

The History of 
Village Green Morris Men

Daniel Stone

Pumpkin Creek festival near Roseisle, Manitoba. 1980.

The Village Green Morris Men of Winnipeg, Manitoba (VGMM) formed in 1974 soon after John Trevenen and David Williams, Scottish Country Dance teachers, discovered Morris and English Country at Pinewoods. 

Meeting for special events at first, VGMM started performing regularly in 1976 at a local farmers' market and at the British Pavilion in Winnipeg's week-long annual ethnic festival, Folklorama. Other notable venues included the Winnipeg Folk Festival (four times), the Renaissance Fair near Minneapolis (six times), and annual performances in rural Manitoba at the Gathering of Nations and the Manitou Opera house. The group organizes a performance in Winnipeg each year highlighting Morris, Sword, and a Mummers Play, and we do numerous shows by invitation.

VGMM started as a Headington and Bampton team. We added Fieldtown in the early 1980s, and have since become very eclectic with numerous Cotswold and Border traditions, longsword, and rapper. We adapt and compose dances, such as our signature Hockey Dance. In addition to performing traditional mummers' plays, we have written new ones on Quebec separatism, the Iraq War, and other contemporary issues.

The present membership is nine dancers and two musicians. One original member still dances actively; several joined early on. There are three English-born dancers who learned Morris here. The average age is about sixty. Sadly, three members of the original side have passed on, including our two founders. A boys' side existed in the 1980s. 

Group photo, 1994.

Dancing out with other sides is difficult due to Winnipeg's geographic isolation. VGMM is loosely associated with Village Green English Country Dance and Winnipeg Mountain Morris (a women's side). Many members concurrently pursue a wide range of other dance traditions.

Rapper set at the Gathering of Nations, Holland Manitoba, July

Of special note: we are probably the oldest Morris side in Canada and we think we set a world record for being the coldest when we performed outside on December 6, 1998 in -13 degree C. weather. We are also undoubtedly the only Morris side to have danced twice in Swan Lake.

Old Market Square (Winnipeg), 1998. World's Coldest Morris.


Drawn by daughter Rachel, age eight, 1984


 AMN, Vol. 25, No. 4, December 2005  ISSN: 1074-2689