Margaret Morris


B/W photograph of Margaret Morris dancing

Margaret Morris (1891–1980), dancer, choreographer, teacher, writer and artist, was born in London. A precocious child, she appears to have received no formal education except for dance classes. At the age of six she had her first stage engagement in pantomime. 1 Dance and performance were to be the focus of her considerable energies and talents for the rest of her life. Her major achievement was the system of movement she devised based on the six Classical Greek dance positions, and which she enshrined in the Margaret Morris Movement, which continues to this day. 2

Morris set up her first school in London in 1910 and others followed across the country. The curriculum came to include a progressive combination of dance and the visual arts. In 1917 she ran the first of her annual Summer Schools. In the 1920s her interests extended into the remedial aspects of movement and sports training. She founded the Margaret Morris Club in Chelsea in 1914; the Celtic Ballet Club in 1940; the touring company, Celtic Ballet of Scotland, in 1947; and the short-lived Scottish National Ballet in 1960.

Her lifelong partner was the Scottish artist, J. D. Fergusson (1874–1961). Together they spent many years in the South of France, before and after the First World War and Fergusson became actively involved in the visual arts components of the schools. The couple were members of the Arts League of Service, founded in 1919, a post-war initiative which aimed to make art and culture available to all. From 1939 until their deaths they lived in Glasgow.

Morris was a prolific artist, in a style which emulated Fergusson's, producing many figurative studies and costume designs. 3 Her publications include Margaret Morris Dancing (1925), My Life in Movement (1969) and The Art of J. D. Fergusson (1974).

B/W photograph of Margaret Morris and pupils resting between classesB/W photograph of Margaret Morris and pupils dancing


1: First Fairy 'Twinkle Star' in Little Red Riding Hood, Theatre Royal, Plymouth, 1899.


3: Margaret Morris Archive, Perth and Kinross District Council, contains an extensive collection of her artwork and costumes as well as archival material.