Who are Dead Horse?

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Dead Horse Morris are a Morris side (or team) from Whitstable in Kent made up of the Dead Horse Morris Men and the Broomdashers ladies team. We dance a regional style of the traditional English Morris Dance, although our hobnail boots and sticks lean more towards the "Border" style and "Molly Dancing" than the better known bells-and-hankies Cotswold dances.

We dance around the Whitstable-Faversham area of the North Kent coast, with occasional forays to places like Buxton and Hereford. Our season starts on St George's Day (23 April) and finishes in September, with another outing on Boxing Day.

Who are the Dead Horse Morris Men?

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The Men's team wear a Morris kit of hobnailed boots, corduroys and cheese-cutter caps, with ribbon-decorated waistcoats, is based on the old dress of local fishermen when decorated for special events. In addition to the traditional dance, we are renowned for playing traditional music, singing traditional songs and drinking traditional ale!

Who are the Broomdashers?

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The Broomdashers are Dead Horse's new ladies team, which started dancing out regularly in 2008. Their kit is based on that worn by the Dead Horse musicians, but with yorkers and hats.

Why 'Dead Horse'?

Dead Horse are named after a sea shanty. 'Dead horse' is a naval term for the first month of a sailor's work aboard ship. This would often be paid for in advance, ideally in order for him to equip himself for the trip. It left him little for himself and probably refers to horse trading practices: once a deal was agreed the buyer would be obliged to pay even if the horse died before delivery, leaving them with nothing useful. The end of a sailor's dead horse was often marked with a celebration in which a cloth model of a horse was mistreated, flogged and thrown overboard.

What is a Molly?

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One of the men is dressed slightly differently. He is the Molly, who wears a dress instead of corduroys and a waistcoat. This tradition dates from dance rituals where one man would attend the fire dressed as a woman.

Where and when do we practise?

In Swalecliffe Free Church Hall (CT5 2LR) on the corner of Brook Road and Herne Bay Road. Monday nights between 7PM and 10PM from September to the following April. The ladies' team practice for the first half of the evening followed by the men's team for the second.

"You can't beat a Dead Horse"

Contact: Dead Horse. Site design: JS IT Services. Unless otherwise noted, all content © Dead Horse Morris 2011.