Apple Tree Morris of Sebastopol was founded in 1998 by Kalia Kliban, Jon Berger and Cora Stewart. We practice most Thursday nights at the Sebastopol Youth Annex and have an annual workshop for prospective new members.
Apple Tree Morris is the San Francisco North Bay’s first and only morris team. Not sure you’ve ever seen us? Check out this video clip.
Our kits, or costumes, are made up of black hats and garlands, white shirts, black knee breeches and striped knee socks, and green leafy vests and bell pads. Each of us has made our own Apple Tree vest, of leaves (over 250 of them!) and apples sewn on to a brown bark. We also make our bell pads, which have 20 bells on each leg, so that we can make as much noise as possible.
We do traditional dances in the Bampton and Moulton styles from the Cotswold region of England, and Border Morris from the West Country. Since this is a living tradition, some are very old, and some we have written ourselves. The dances are done in sets of four, six, eight or in one case, nine. We use a variety of props in our dances, the most common being the flashing white handkerchiefs and the sticks, which get clashed in intricate and knuckle-threatening patterns.
In addition to the Eclipse, which was concocted on the night of an eclipse and is danced around our musicians, Apple Tree originals include Inconstant William, Maxwell’s Silver Hammer, Dark Star, Hot Moulton Core and Froggy’s Last Jump.
We have performed at many local fairs, festivals and parties and are available for hire. We actually won a first place award for the Novelty Category in the Sebastopol Apple Blossom Parade and a group award at the Occidental Fools Parade. Other places you may have seen us are: Summerfield Waldorf May Fair, Marin Waldorf May Fair, the Pelican Inn, Summer Solstice at Salmon Creek Beach, Windsor Shakespeare on the Green, Sebastopol Celtic Festival, Sonoma County Harvest Festival, Solano Stroll, Dickens Faire, Petaluma Downtown Holiday Fair and the NBCDS Holiday Contra Dance.
We often tour with other morris teams in the spring, stopping at places like the Sebastopol Farmers Market, The Barlow, Wild Flour Bakery, and Barley and Hops Tavern.
For over a century, morris dancers have been dancing at sunrise on the first day of May. We have the honor of being among the last in the world to dance on May Morning. The wave of morris dancing begins at sunrise in New Zealand and sweeps around the entire planet before culminating here on the west coast.
The dancing starts at 5:30 A.M., goes through sunrise (around 6:20) and a little bit more and then you are welcome to join us at a potluck breakfast nearby. There is morris dancing to watch and English country dances that everyone can do, as well as wonderful music and singing. We usually teach a traditional group morris dance called the Abram Circle Dance for everyone wanting to join in just after sunrise. Dress warmly, since it tends to be chilly before dawn, and you may want a lawn chair or blanket to sit on. For the last few years we have celebrated May behind the Sebastopol Community Center Youth Annex, on Morris St. in Sebastopol. Please refer to the “Dance Up the Sun” flyer below for directions. We’d love if you’d join us for this celebration!
For more information contact Cliff Stevens at 707. 823.6925.