Chip Off The Old perform morris dances from the Cotswolds, an area mostly in Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire. It is normally danced whilst holding either sticks or handkerchiefs, depending on the dance, and each dance is accompanied by a specific piece of music, played by a live band.

Scarborough | June 2014

Scarborough | June 2014

Morris dancing is traditional English folk dancing which goes back hundreds of years. It is reputedly mentioned in records as old as 1448 and “Morys” dances featured in Royal Courts. It is believed that Morris is a derivation from “Moorish”, a form of dance in several countries in Europe to celebrate driving out of the occupying moors. It begins to be mentioned in Parish records at later dates, crossing over to villages in the 17th Century. Although it originated with both men and women dancing, by this time it was a male domain. It was popular until the Industrial Revolution, when the significant social changes caused its decline. However, a few villages in the Cotswolds did keep up the tradition.

In the late 19th Century/early 20th Century some people recorded and helped revive the traditions, notably Cecil Sharp, Maud Karpeles, and Mary Neal. The growth of Morris dance teams, or “morris sides“, was slow until the 1960s at which point many more were established. Some of these either included women, or were women only sides.

There are about six different styles (“traditions”) of Morris dancing, each one typically associated with a different area of the country.

Adapted from: Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia