Morris Dancing


Morris Dancing became attatched during the Middle Ages to the Miracle or Mystery plays, and from these it drew several supernumerary characters that cavort around the edges and through the middle of the dance, and interact with the audience: the Fool, Hobbyhorse, andBess or Moll (man/woman).

[The Fool] A modern American Fool (Bob Deluca of the Binghamton Morris Men in Binghamton, NY).

Of these, the best known and most widely found is the Fool, who, with his staff and pig's bladder, gave rise to the Mediæval court jester. The Fool represents the forces of evil, always trying to mess up the dances, but never quite succeeding.

[Another Fool] [Bear supernumerary] Another Fool [left] (Mike Gallagher) and a bear supernumerary [right] (Bill Dooley) both with Philadelphia's Kingsessing Morris men.

[Fool & Hobby]
A Fool and a Hobby Horse cavorting
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[The Bess, "Mother"]
Tony Barrand, founder of the Marlboro Morris Men of Marlboro, VT, in the role of "Mother", a Bess (Man/Woman) figure.
[right] =>

[an old Fool with bladder]
The Fool from Burton (Gloscestershire, England) with his traditional pigs bladder, ca. 1891.
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