Ritual folk dance mainly danced in rural England from about the 15th century. The name, a variant of “Moorish,” possibly arose in reference to the dancers' blacking their faces as part of the ritual disguise. It is principally a fertility dance, performed especially in the spring. Danced by groups of men often dressed in white and wearing bells on their legs, the steps are varied and intricate and are maintained in a jog-trot while handkerchiefs are waved in both hands. It calls for individual characters such as a hobbyhorse and a fool.
Learn more about Morris dance with a free trial on Britannica.com.