Guildford-based Mad Tatters Morris dancers compete in International Folk Dance Festival


The Mad Tatters Morris folk dancing group performing in Shanghai.
The Mad Tatters Morris folk dancing group performing in Shanghai.

THEY are bright, loud and love to dance.

The Mad Tatters Morris dancing group has just returned from a trip to Shanghai, where it competed in the Fourth International Folk Dance Festival.

The members’ bright, eye-catching costumes got the attention of the Chinese judges, who gave the group the “best creativity award”.

Morris is a form of folk dancing done in groups, which sees dancers perform traditional dances originally from English villages along the border between England and Wales.

Morris dancers usually wear bell pads on their shins and wield sticks, swords and handkerchiefs.

Team leader Christine Hogan said it was the second time the Guilford-based group had been chosen to represent Australia.

“We were so excited when we were chosen in 2014 to represent Australia, and were even more elated when we found out we were invited again this year,” she said.

“When we asked the Chinese committee why they decided to invite us back again, they told us it was because we connected so well with the Chinese audience.”

The 16 team members who went to the festival come from all over Perth, including Guildford, Midland, the Hills and Swan Valley, as well as Toodyay and York.

Ms Hogan said the group was formed about four years ago and had grown since |then.

“It’s really morris dancing with attitude,” she said.

“We dress up, make a lot of noise and smash sticks.

“We like to keep fit, but we also go to the pub after.

“We make mistakes but we fix them; it’s about getting in the zone and losing yourself to the music.”

Ms Hogan said seven other countries were represented at the cross-cultural meeting, including Sweden, Egypt, Argentina, Peru and Sri Lanka.

“Music and dance is a fantastic way of communicating across cultures,” she said.

“We chose to fuse our traditionally based dances with a famous, Chinese folk song, entitled Mo Li Hua (Jasmine Flower).”

The Mad Tatters Morris practise weekly in Guildford.

Bookings and new dancers are always welcome.

For more information, call Ms Hogan on 9279 8778 or visit www.madtattersmorris.myclub.org.au.