Folk dancers probably aren’t couch potatoes

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Faithful readers of The Cities know that I abhor any form of physical exercise.

So you can imagine the philosophical disconnect upon my meeting the Morris Dancers.

These are men and women, boys and girls who voluntarily exert themselves in the most charming way: They dance and kick and stomp with bells tied to their shins, sometimes shouting and clacking sticks as well.

The photo above, captured by MPR photojournalist Jeff Thompson, is from just after sunrise, on May 1st at a south Minneapolis park.

Every year at sunrise on May Day, the Morris Dancers dance up the sun, and as is clear from the photo, once again it worked.

The 500 year-old pagan ritual celebrates the passing of the seasons and it’s a feast for the eyes and ears.

The pertinence of this Morris Dance entry in the esteemed The Cities blog is that the beginning of May marks the start of the outdoor Morris Dance season.

That means as you enjoy a stroll or even a libation at a public place you may become part of an audience for one of the Morris Dance troupes – there are four in the Twin Cities, five if you include the youth group.

By the way, Morris dancing, not unlike our American square dancing appears to be great exercise judging from the perspiration created. So if your medical doctor needs some appeasing about your physical regimen, the groups do welcome new members.

I’ll be delighted to watch your progress.

Those of you like me, worried about too much physical exertion can read and listen to the story here with just the click of a finger.

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