Mystic, Westerly dance groups celebrate May Day at Conn College

May 1—NEW LONDON — The Westerly Morris Men and Mystic Garland Dancers performed traditional dances and toasted May Day in a light rain Wednesday as the sun rose behind the clouds.

More than a dozen dancers and musicians with the Westerly Morris Men and Mystic Garland Dancers huddled under umbrellas as they took turns performing traditional dances as the sun rose somewhere behind the clouds.

This was the 50th year the Morris Men have celebrated May Day at the college. The dawn dance was started by Peter Leibert, founder of the Westerly Morris Men and then-professor of art at Connecticut College.

"We've had far worse weather," he told the small crowd in-between songs.

The two groups, sometimes together, danced on the stone platform at Tempel Green before walking to the President's house to dance for Interim President Leslie Wong.

The Westerly Morris Men are a traditional English men's dancing team. They were founded in 1974, making them one of the oldest continuously active Morris teams in the United States.

Mystic Garland Dancers is a group of women who join in the English Morris dancing tradition to learn, preserve, and perform clog, garland, and longsword dances. They were founded in 1979.

May Day is a traditional celebration of the arrival of spring with music and dance to assure peace and happiness throughout the year.