April 1 2014
Exclusive: Top outfit says Morris Dancing legacy was omission of ‘Empire’.
A TROUPE of English Morris Dancers is to tour India for the very first time.
The All-England Morris Dancers Performing Collective revealed its plans exclusively to www.asiancultureuvulture.com on Friday, slapping an embargo on the news until March 31st 12am.
The troupe also revealed that three of its Asian dancers from the 14- strong troupe will ‘white up’ for their performances which will take them to Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Goa.
They also have a black Morris Dancer member, but he is unable to travel because of illness for the three-week tour of Asia’s second most populous country.
He would have to ‘white up’ too revealed the man behind the trip, Maurice Chanceit.
He declined to say whether the instruction to ‘white up’ had anything to do with the onset of the man’s ‘illness’.
Chanceit, head of the All-England Morris Dancers Performing Collective, told www.asianculturevuluture.com his Asian members had no problems ‘whiteing up’.
He told www.asianculturevulture.com: “It just wouldn’t look right in India – to have brown or Asian Morris Dancers.
“It’s not what anyone would expect. Asian people are not eccentric enough.
“It’s okay here for them to not white up, everyone is cool about British Asians doing Morris Dancing, but over there they said there would be a big problem.
“People would think we were humouring the natives or trying to be politically correct and the whole thing could backfire.”
The trip has been kept under wraps until now because the group said there was huge interest in the trip – believed to be the first tour of its kind ever embarked upon by an English Morris dancing outfit.
“We took our language and cricket there, but failed to create a legacy for Morris Dancing. It’s one of the great omissions of time and Empire. We can rectify that now.”
Chanceit said they had received fevered fan mail ahead of the trip (some college girls are reportedly lining up proposals), and were worried about the safety of the troupe, but had been assured by the Indian authorities all would be well.
He said they had first been invited to perform at an “English Spring Festival” but such had been in the interest, a whole tour had been assembled and backed by major commercial sponsors.
“We’ve been told there’s quite a rage for all things English and it really emerged from that.
“Some people here are fascinated by Indian dance forms – so is it so surprising that some people in India should feel such passion and ardency for Morris Dancing? We wanted to go to the Punjab but were advised that it was too much of a security risk – we might get attacked by Bhangra dancers.”
Chanceit declined to talk about or reveal the background of his British Asian dancers.
“They’re incredibly talented Morris Dancers – possibly one of a new emerging breed – they’ve been talent scouted for a new TV programme but I really can’t talk about that as no contracts have been signed yet.
“Those familiar with the Morris Dancing press will know who they are. They have been doing it for a year or so and battling the incursions mounted by the Naked Morris Dancing Movement.”
When asked about the Naked Morris Dancing Movement, Chanceit became gruff and irritated.
“I don’t want to think or talk about them. They are a disgrace to Morris Dancing. It’s just that things have got so lewd these days, they think it’s the next big thing…and it isn’t.
“Morris Dancing deserves to be up there with Shakespeare and afternoon tea and cricket – as acceptable practices for the very finest of English minds and that is what we want to show and share with our Indian friends.
“The naked Morris Dancing Movement must be defeated and we will take our battle to the United Nations if necessary.”
But first stop is Mumbai and Dharavi, one of Asia’s largest slums.
“We can lift the spirits of anyone. We are looking forward to it. We hope we will inspire a generation of young Indians to take up Morris Dancing.”
Picture: NOT the All-England Morris Dancers Performing Collective