The Harrisville Morris Women, the only women’s morris team in southwest New Hampshire, was formed in the fall of 1980, and first practiced in the old town hall above the town’s general store. The old morris teams in England had always been known by the name of the town where they originated, so the women practicing in Harrisville, after a bit of debate, decided to continue that tradition. Within a few years, the practice space was changed to the Nelson town hall, but the name stayed the same.
The team remained in Nelson for a decade or so, moved to the school in Nelson for a year or two, and then to the new Harrisville Town Hall for a short time. Finally, we found a home at the Wells Memorial School in Harrisville which suited our needs beautifully, and with the addition of two members who actually are residents of Harrisville, we’ve come full circle and feel that we’re truly the Harrisville Morris Women again. We practice on Monday nights in the school gym.
Each morris team wears a distinctive uniform, known as a kit. The Harrisville Women wear fuchsia vests over white shirts and black knickers, and are known for the colorful ribbons we wear in our hair and on armbands. Many teams adopt a hobby, or mascot, based on some aspect of their history or kit, and Harrisville’s hobby is the pink flamingo (due to the bright pink vests). Wherever you find us dancing, you’re also likely to find a lot of flamingo paraphernalia.
The dances we perform are based in the Fieldtown and Headington traditions, and our repertoire consists of both traditional and recently composed dances. We’re also currently learning a new tradition, Kingsbury Branch, which is a modern tradition created by the Northern Vermont team of Midnight Capers.
We currently have eight dancers and two musicians who play accordion (morris teams employ a variety of musical instruments, from the more traditional pipe and tabor or fiddle, to various members of the accordion family, to more modern accompaniments such as saxophone, electric mandolin, or trombone). Our dancers come from all walks of life-teachers, at-home moms, a minister, and a legal researcher among them. All of us share a love for the dance and enjoy the social aspects of the group as well.