WE think of Morris dancers as good-natured upholders of traditional folk dance and culture. Fond of a glass of ale to refresh themselves after their efforts, perhaps – but peaceable souls at heart.

So it comes as something of a shock to learn that York’s Ebor Morris men once found themselves in hot water - not to mention making the national and international headlines - for disrupting an important 4-star dinner at one of York’s top hotels.

It was 1981, and the Morris men were entertaining a group of Japanese visitors in an upstairs room at what was then the Royal Station Hotel – today’s Principal Hotel.

They got a little carried away, demonstrating a boisterous stick dance that required them to leap three feet into the air - and completely forgetting that on the floor below members of the York Society of Engineers were trying to enjoy their annual dinner.

So vigorous were the Morris men’s dance moves that the ceiling of the room below began to shake, the chandeliers dancing above the heads of the dining engineers.

Eventually, a delegation from the Society of Engineers was sent to express their displeasure to the hotel’s management.

“We have been coming here for about 30 years and nothing like this has ever happened before,” one member of the society said.

Morris men, eh? You can just count on them to cause trouble…

It is 50 years ago today - on May 1, 1974 - that the newly-formed Ebor Morris danced in public for the first time, outside the Lord Collingwood pub in Upper Poppleton. Their successors will be dancing there again this evening – at 7.30pm – to mark the group’s half century.

That well-documented ‘dance of the chandeliers’ at the Royal Station Hotel isn’t the only time in the last 50 year they’ve caused a bit of a stir.

Following that first public performance 50 years ago, the group grew in size and reputation, becoming a staple at local festivals and events, and further afield.

And they have performed at some notable events. In 1975 Ebor Morris featured in the BBC TV children’s programme Play School. Seven years later, in 1982 they made an appearance on the Eurovision song contest, as part of a video about Yorkshire shown during the interval.

In more recent years they have performed at a celebrity wedding and at BBC Countryfile Live.

As well as doing traditional Morris dances from the Cotswolds, using handkerchiefs and sticks, Ebor Morris perform a historic longsword dance from Escrick.

The dance had died out in the 1870s, but was saved when Cecil Sharp, a well known collector of folk songs and dances, visited some old dancers in 1912. In 1976 members of Ebor Morris met Bert Young from Escrick, who was born in 1899. Bert remembered Sharp’s visit and used to do the dance himself - and so it was passed on and preserved.

John Lundie, a founding member of Ebor Morris who still performs with them, said the last 50 years had been an 'incredible journey'.

“From our humble beginnings to now, the spirit of Ebor Morris has always been about community, tradition, and the sheer joy of dance," he said. "Here's to another 50 years!"

Ebor Morris Bagman Kevin Holland, who joined in 1975, said the team now consisted of about 20 members, ranging in age from 23 to 80.

“But we are always looking for more people to join us,” Kevin said. To find out more, visit www.ebormorris.org.uk