Pride Morris is a new community group that combines queer self expression with a traditional folk dance form that brings us joy. The group comes together each year for a limited season around a special pride event, and its debut will be during the Sydney Mardi Gras festival in 2024.
In the past Morris dancing was strongly divided along gendered lines, with many pervasive sexist attitudes making the scene an unwelcoming place for anyone who was not a cis-straight-white man. Thankfully great strides have been made in recent decades. As Morris teams have become more inclusive they have attracted queer members drawn to this unique and joyful performance art form.
The broader folk scene can still be an incredibly hetero-normative and traditionalist place. With Pride Morris we aim to provide a space where queer morris dancers may push the boundaries of self-expression usually imposed by traditional costumes. We aim to provide colourful and entertaining public spectacle to help break down toxic aspects of traditionalist attitudes whilst celebrating all we love about this joyous communal dance form.
Most Morris sides are self-sustaining, in that they take paid performance bookings and use the incoming money to pay running costs. However the setting up of a new team involves significant outlay costs in a period where we have no incoming bookings. This funding would be game-changing for us, and we will use this funding to purchase equipment and costume material that we be reused by the side each year. Many of us are students, retail workers, pensioners, and artists; many of us lack the funds to make Pride Morris happen without your valuable assistance. We are not asking for funds for a once-off event that will soon grow distant in our memories, but asking for assistance at critical time to set up a lasting organisation whose mission is to bring joy to all Sydneysiders, including queer people.
Sydney is one of the most fabulous gay cities in the world, and has a wealth of LGBTQIA–welcoming sports clubs and support organisations, but there is a dearth of similar social clubs focussed upon dance and music. In this beautiful little gap, Pride Morris is seeking to create a community that revels in the joys of queerness at the same time as revelling in the power of dance to connect to our bodies and to each other through movement and music.
Additionally, many of these Sydney-based clubs are based on gendered participation. Sports clubs are often built around single-gendered competitions, while Oxford Street has a wonderful, fabulous nightclub scene that largely caters to the gay male community. Pride Morris will be open to people of all ages and all genders, creating a community that transcends boundaries.
Funded by Sydney (October 2023)