A Morris dancing group in Stretford is working to ensure the tradition still has a place in modern society.
The Manchester Morris Men, based in Stretford, were formed in 1936 and want to use post-pandemic life to promote the pastime.
George Clapton, the leader (or ‘Squire’) of the group, highlighted how the opportunities are there to reach a younger demographic.
He said: “We went to a pub in Didsbury and there were some youngsters there.
“What I try to do is invite people up to learn a simple dance. We were inundated, so much so that we ran out of sticks.”
Mr. Clapton has entered the third year of his tenure as Squire, a change to the usual two-year stint that his predecessors followed because of the disruption caused by the Covid-19 lockdowns.
“We had a whole year of programmes planned and it came along and of course we couldn’t do it,” he added.
“We did actually meet when we were allowed to do it and practised doing socially distanced dances.”
Mr. Clapton wanted to stress that the group has an important part to play in the local community in order to maintain the history of the north west heritage of Morris dancing.
“The main [forms of Morris dancing] that people know of are the Cotswolds Morris and the Border Morris.
“And then there’s the North West Morris, which has got its own traditions and was a consequence of people in countryside villages being moved to the cities and their foundries.”
The group’s practice sessions take place every Thursday between 7:30 and 9:30pm at St. Matthew’s Church Hall, with newcomers encouraged to come along.
More information can be found on Manchester’s Morris Dancing website at manchestermorrismen.org.uk