New members are always welcome – experienced dancers, musicians, complete beginners and everyone in between. We usually practice every Wednesday at Queensborough Community Centre, near London Bridge. Sadly, we aren’t practising in person at the moment, but we are meeting on Zoom each week, so get in contact if you’d like to join us!
Location: Queensborough Community Centre. Tube: Borough/Elephant & Castle. Train: London Bridge
You can join us at any Wednesday practice, or at one of our Taster Sessions, which can be specially geared towards beginners and those who would like to come and “have a go”.
Our next Taster Session is: tbc. Got any questions? More on our facebook event page.
What to expect from taster sessions
Taster Sessions run from 7.30-9.30pm on a Wednesday at our usual practice time and venue (Queensborough Community Centre). The advice below applies, and do let us know if you have any needs you’d like us to be aware of. If you didn’t know about or will miss the session and want to come along another week, you are most welcome then too! Just drop us a line to expect you and we’ll sort it out.
Our Taster Sessions are two hours long, with a short break in the middle for socialising, news, and catching your breath! We aim to start at 7.30pm, so do join us from about 7.15pm where experienced team members will be on hand to give you a taste of what you’ve let yourself in for…
During the session, you’ll learn a little bit about Morris and why we do what we do, and there will be a chance to see our members showcase a dance or two. The majority of the session however will be hands-on (and feet on!) dancing – first you’ll learn some basic steps, and then we’ll build on those to show you the structure of a dance until you’re dancing a whole dance with our experienced dancers before your well-earned break. Usually we’ll aim to do at least one hankie dance and one stick dance, but you’ll get a taste too of the other dances and traditions you’ll get to learn if you stay on and join us again for future weeks – we hope you do!
What do I need to bring?
There is no charge for new members, so come along and have some fun. No special equipment necessary, we will provide hankies and sticks for dancing, however we suggest that you wear trainers (and nice bouncy ones if you have them!) and something cool and comfortable like a T-shirt and loose trousers or leggings (or shorts if the mood takes you). A sports bra is definitely recommended for those with bigger chests!
Morris is as much a social life as a dancing life, so you’re all invited to join us for a drink (alcoholic or non) in the nearby Royal Oak pub after the session if you wish.
Let us know you’re coming!
Frequently Asked Questions
How often do Taster Sessions run?
We aim to have 2-4 Taster Sessions a year – and these are spread around the calendar of the Morris year. If you aren’t able to come to the Taster Session, it may be quite a while to the next one – new members are welcome at any practice, as we have members at various levels dancing with us, so you won’t be the only beginner – however the session won’t necessarily follow the same structure, but that of a more usual practice night. Get in touch and we’ll know to expect you! If you are really worried about being the only new person, bring a friend with you!
What do I need to bring?
Yourself, wearing comfortable clothes and shoes suitable for active dancing. There is a small kitchen at the hall where you can get water, and we provide the hankies and sticks that you’ll need.
Can I bring a friend?
Yes please! The more, the merrier!
I have never danced before in my life and I am scared!
Many people who come along to taster sessions have never danced before, and those who have danced usually haven’t danced Morris! Don’t worry about looking foolish or not knowing what to do. The first is true of all of us (we’re always up for a laugh!), and the second is what we’ll help you with during the session. You’ll build up your skill and stamina for dancing as you go – it’s not as easy as many people think, but the challenge can be a real hook – it’s great fun to dance and you find yourself desperate to improve and come back for more…
I have previous Morris dancing experience, is this session for me?
Probably, yes. We dance four traditions – Ilmington, Bledington, Fieldtown, and our own Esperance. Even if you have danced one of these before, our style is probably different to yours, so you’ll have something of interest and something to learn. The sessions include our own experienced dancers who are working on various things at various levels, so you may know (or be quickly able to pick up) the basics, and we can give you some more advanced techniques to be working on during the dancing. Come and see where you fit!
I’m trans/do not identify as female, can I join?
As it says on our front page, we welcome all those who share our values and are passionate about Morris dancing, regardless of gender identity. We have past and current trans members, so please feel welcome at Esps – just let us know your pronouns if you don’t prefer she/her and that is what we will use. We are a women’s Morris dancing team, so naturally most of the people who wish to join us identify as female. We have welcomed and do welcome those who are not purely at “woman” on the gender spectrum – however, when dancing with a women’s team you are likely to be identified by the public as a woman. If you feel comfortable with that, whether that is your true identity or not, then there should be no problem. We can also advise you on welcoming mixed and men’s Morris teams in the local area if that is a better fit for you.
I have a disability, can I join?
As it says on our front page, we welcome all those who share our values and are passionate about Morris dancing, regardless of disability or ability. Please don’t feel your disability is a barrier to involvement in the world of Morris!
However, due to the nature of dancing, if you have a physical disability or an injury you may find you have difficulty with either the movements or with stamina. On the other hand, you may not – so do come and give it a go if you fancy it! We can support you to learn, and a Taster Session is just that – a time to have a go and try Morris for yourself. If dancing is a difficulty, you may find a musician’s role is for you – do speak to us if you have any concerns or needs.
If you have any sort of disability, do get in touch with us if you have any concerns about your access needs, we have many members with disabilities and are used to working flexibly with individual needs.
The practice hall is step-free and there is a toilet with extra space and grab rails.