Uptown-on-the-Lakes Morris Dancers

Uptown-on-the-Lakes is a mixed-gender morris side based in Minneapolis, MN.

What's a morris side, you ask?

Well, it's a bunch of people who do morris dancing, a traditional English type of street performance. Uptown-on-the-Lakes is one of several such groups in the Twin Cities, each of which has its own personality and style. You may see us at street fairs, in local parks, or at neighborhood festivals, in addition to larger events, such as the Festival of Nations. We like to dance and sing and make loud noises in front of people. So we tie bells around our legs and have an accordion with us most of the time. 

Come see us dance!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyFqgqF_AdY  {Cotswold kit} - Lucy of Lyne

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5sFIHveLJs {Cotswold kit} - Shift Change

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRmS4MeDOZs  [Border kit} - Bog House Door (dancing starts 2:00)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iy1mS7CAFR0  {Cotswold kit}  - Shepherd's Hey

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGSGRMmPxR4  {Cotswold kit} - Froggy's First Jump

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUrNwE_Kwxc {Cotswold kit} - The Organ Grinder



2023 Schedule (expected): specific dates tbd

 May Day morning. We will gather with other Morris teams at sunrise on West River Road for a group outdoor dance. Impromptu dancing will happen throughout the day. 

  Memorial Day Weekend: several Morris teams will be dancing in the greater Twin Cities area as part of a regional gathering. 

  October 31 - Halloween, South Minneapolis near 55th & Clinton.

  November - International Festival, Ukrainian American Center.  2023 date TBD.

We practice on Thursday evenings (7:15 - 9:30)  We are open to visitors, spectators and hopeful dancers, male and female. We accept new members at most times EXCEPT the very end of a dance season.

 CONTACT US FIRST.  Our practice space is in flux. We are currently at Linden Hills Community Center (outside, depending on weather), but that sometimes changes.

In summer, we often perform outdoors at various parks instead of the practice space, so check with us first before coming.


Our winter Border morris season runs from September to January.

Our summer Cotswold morris season runs from Groundhog's Day (February) to around Labor Day.

Contacts:

If you are intrigued by us, and want to share the life of a morris dancer, email us or come to a practice. We're happy to meet new folks and teach them about dancing.

(See the sidebar for links to dances, pictures, etc.)

About Uptown-on-the Lakes*

Uptown-on-the-Lakes Morris is a performing dance team that is happy to entertain groups in the Twin Cities area. Kids like us because we are noisy and do a lot of jumping up and down. Adults like us because we're "cultural".

We dance both in our own unique style and in the English village traditions of Fieldtown, Horsham, and Adderbury. We dance Cotswold morris in the summer and Border morris in the first 6 months of winter. Music is generally accordion or whistle & drum. We occasionally have a Betty, a hobby moose, or other characters. A Betty is a traditional man-woman character, and the hobby is a kind of fanciful animal character - also very traditional. A lot of these characters date back long before Shakespeare (who put a lot of morris dancing in his plays), and their origins are obscure and much debated. Background information on morris dancing is on Wikipedia.

If you are looking for some entertainment, our prices are on a sliding scale. Basically, what you can afford. We like to do this. For a half-hour to hour performance, we generally charge $150. We once got paid in cucumbers, but prefer money, ice cream or beer.

If you are intrigued by us, and want to share the life of a morris dancer, email us. We're happy to meet new folks and teach them about dancing.

*Formerly Uptown-on-Calhoun Morris

Team History

Uptown-on-the-Lakes (pronounced "Upton" by the cognoscenti) was started in 1989 by two couples who already danced with the established single-sex teams in town. Their motivation was that they wanted to dance together in their own village style.  A secondary motivation was that everyone involved had bad knees (surprise, surprise). The new tradition was thus designed to look sharp while going easy on the joints. (Inside joke: The tradition was originally described to me as Zen Bampton.) It has since evolved into a distinctive style with a varied repertoire. Due to the extreme mobility of past members, the tradition is currently being danced from coast to coast and has even been performed in England.

Our name comes from the original location of the team - the Uptown neighborhood on the east shore of Bde Maka Ska (formerly Lake Calhoun).  We changed the team name in 2017 to reflect the change in the lake name. Although our name and practice location have changed, we still regularly dance in Uptown at various street and neighborhood festivals. Some people don't like our name -- to them, all I can say is that the suggested alternative was Mary Tyler Morris.

On the all-important social vs. performance issue, we believe that a good party outweighs a crisp caper any day. This is not to say we don't work on our performances. We do, but we know our priorities. On the beer vs. ice cream after practices issue, we believe we have resolved this by inventing the Killian's Float.

Keywords:  Morris dance, traditional English dance, Morris dancing, Minnesota, performance, fool, hobby horse, moose, accordion, pipe and tabor, morris bells, hankies, stick dance, hanky dance, hand-clapping dance, heel-and-toe, Fieldtown, Adderbury, Horsham, Uptown-on-Calhoun, Uptown-on-the-Lakes, side tradition, morris kit, baldric, purple vests, purple waistcoasts, Minneapolis, St. Paul.