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Cotswold Morris - Introduction
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The origins of Morris dancing are uncertain. It is clearly an ancient tradition which was associated with the Spring and with the desire for crops and animals to be fertile. There are similar ritual dances found in Southern Europe, but England has a particularly rich tradition which has survived in many small Cotswold villages and further afield. The name "Morris" is thought to derive from "Moorish" due to the dancers' custom of blacking their faces, but this is no longer a common practice.

Today, the dances are enjoyed for their vigorous and coordinated movements to music: the effect is a spectacle of virility combined with grace. Some of the dances involve the striking or twirling of sticks - representing weapons or farming tools. Others are danced with white handkerchiefs which emphasize the movements.

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The men in English Miscellany also perform longsword dances from the North of England. The "swords" are actually thatching needles, originally used when binding the thatch on the roof of a house. The dances consist of intricate weaving figures, often involving jumping over or processing under the swords, and ending in one of the traditional sword "locks".

Our repertoire for this year is on the next page; please, click here or the 'Repertoire' button at top of this page.

This page can show a short clip from our dances.

English Miscellany Cotswold section practises regularly throughout the year:
 Sunday 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m., twice per month at Rothamsted Pavillion
 and on Wednesday 8:00 to 10:15 p.m., once per month at Red Gables