We are indebted to the Bourne River Morris Men for this.
There has been much talk recently of Lone Morris, in which a single dancer performs in his or her own garden, as a means to maintain fitness and continuity of the Morris.
Following recent clarification of Government guidelines, it seems there may be scope to maintain a more familiar form of Cotswold Morris at least, and the following is offered for consultation.
Obviously we must respect the need to avoid non-essential outings. The Government has recognised that exercise is a necessary and permitted activity, and since, for many if not most dancers, Morris dancing includes an element of exercise this should be acceptable under current rules.
The second requirement is to limit the frequency to one such activity per day. Since most sides are completely knackered after one practice per week, this should again be easily met.
Since shopping for essential supplies is also permitted, it may be permissible to include a brief dance stand on the way to, or perhaps from, the supermarket to get a six-pack and a couple of bottles of ale. Supermarkets and other stores are not yet banning entry to customers with tankards, although these should be empty on entrance and much preferably also on exit.
We must also, of course, maintain the two-metre separation rule. This will bring a few wry smiles from Foremen who will undoubtedly point out that when they call for a wide set, this time they bloody well mean it and are backed up by Her Majesty’s Government.
It has been pointed out that, due to greatly increased separation in the set, some dancers might not be able to hear the music. Upon consultation, the overwhelming majority of musicians observed that most of the dancers took no bloody notice of the music anyway and they really couldn’t see this being a problem.
Stick dances bring a particular set of challenges. It was noted that, with a two metre separation, the machine gun rattle of sticking so characteristic of many dances would not be readily achievable with the average two-foot stick.
Dance historians have suggested that this might be an opportunity to reverse the decline of earlier stave or pike dances, in which a mere two metres is easily achieved.
The Royal Air Force have also asked that versions of Skirmish be avoided since, due the extra length, the tips of vigorously wielded sticks might exceed the speed of sound and they do not wish to get the blame for any consequent sonic booms.
Risk assessments have highlighted possible problems keeping spectators at safe distances. Meeting risk assessment requirements is a particular issue for some teams, who are not used to having spectators at all, let alone interfacing with them. For other teams the prospect of having spectators, and telling them to go further away, is proving difficult to reconcile and it may be necessary to seek further advice and counselling.
Hanky dances generally offer fewer problems. A warning has been issued to the effect that less fit dancers should consider avoiding corner dances since, due to the longer distances, they might run out of puff before they reach the other corner.
One issue yet to be resolved is the current requirement for over-70s to remain isolated at home until further notice. Due to age demographics, this may reduce some sides to one member dancing jigs in their back garden to a Sony Walkman.