Morris in the 1920s, photographed by Fred Daniels

Margaret Morris

1891 – 1980

Dancer, Choreographer and Teacher

Margaret Morris was a British dancer, choreographer and teacher. She was the first proponent of the Isadora Duncan technique in Great Britain. She founded the Margaret Morris Movement, Celtic Ballet, and two Scottish National Ballets in Glasgow (1947) and in Pitlochry (1960).

Although Morris was born in London, she lived with her parents until the age of five in France. In 1900 she joined the Ben Greet Shakespearian Company she began to compose dances of her own and at the age of twelve reacted against the limitation of the Italian classical ballet technique.

In 1913, Morris met John Galsworthy who encouraged her to open her own school in St. Martin's Lane, London. That same year she toured with her own company, first called "Margaret Morris and her Dancing Children".

In 1922 she started the first 'Educational School' in England to combine normal educational subjects with educational training in dancing and acting. The Margaret Morris Movement was chosen to represent Britain at the 1931 Dance Festival in Florence, Italy.

In 1940 she formed the Celtic Ballet Club and produced several big ballets for war charities. In 1947 she formed a small professional company - Celtic Ballet of Scotland - and toured in Glasgow and France. The Celtic Ballet utilised both Margaret's own technique and Scottish country and Highland dance movements. In 1951, the Celtic Ballet had a season at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow. Between 1954 and 1959 the Celtic Ballet toured the United States and performed at festivals in Russia, Austria and Czechoslovakia. In 1960 she formed the Scottish National ballet and appeared at the festival Theatre, Pitlochry.

In 1973 the 'Margaret Morris Movement' film was made by the Scottish Arts Council. Margaret Morris died in Glasgow on 29 February 1980, aged 89.

Morris made a unique contribution to the development and teaching of dance in the UK and abroad. Her original interest in creating her own exercise and dance movement was based on her desire to devise a technique that was more natural to perform than ballet. Over those early years the breadth of movement she created encompassed a diverse scope of exercise, dance and movement training with an extensive range of elements and levels designed to include all ages and abilities.


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