There are three main organisations in the UK that support morris and traditional dance teams: The Morris Federation, The Morris Ring, and Open Morris.
They come together as the Joint Morris Organisations (JMO) to discuss issues that affect all of their members, including access to both public liability and personal insurance cover.
The Joint Morris Organisations (JMO) comprise committee members of The Morris Federation, The Morris Ring and Open Morris and other co-optees. Their objective is to collaborate on matters of interest to, or affecting, the morris community as a whole. Their aims are:
- to promote morris dancing and allied traditions
- to maintain and promote communication between the member organisations
- to arrange the JMO Day of Dance
- to encourage cross-membership working on projects related to morris and traditional dance
- to ensure cost-effective public-liability insurance for the members of each member organisation
At the start of 2020 the proportion of teams in each organisation was approximately 63% The Morris Federation, 20% The Morris Ring and 17% Open Morris.
The Morris Federation
The Morris Federation was formed in 1975 as the Women’s Morris Federation, to meet the demand for women performing morris, and so began as an organisation for female sides only. In 1980 it opened its doors to mixed sides, and in 1982 it became open to any side, regardless of gender. In 1983, the word “Women’s” was dropped from the name. It is an association of around 520 teams performing morris, sword, mumming and related activities.
The Morris Ring
The Morris Ring was formed in 1934 to encourage the performance of the Morris, to maintain its traditions and to preserve its history and to bring into contact all the Men’s Morris Clubs or Teams. In 2018, the Morris Ring voted to change their constitution to allow membership from sides of all genders. It is an association of around 160 clubs performing morris, sword, mumming and related activities.
Open Morris started in 1979 as a loose organisation of East Anglian dancers, following efforts by one of the few mixed morris sides in the country at the time, to find local friends and sympathisers. By positively encouraging membership of mixed gender sides, as well as single gender sides, Open Morris recognised an unmet need and membership gradually increased. It is an association of around 140 sides performing morris, sword, mumming and related activities.