Cotswold Morris Essay

1363 words - 5 pages

Cotswold MorrisSouth of Manchester, it is Cotswold dancers that most people are likely to associate with Morris Dancers. And because the dances of the Cotswold traditions were predominantly performed by sides in the Morris Ring, they are most often associated with Morris Men. The majority of sides dancing Cotswold do tend to be male, but there are many well established women and mixed sides that perform it as well.Cotswold is so called because its heartland, where Morris dancing can be traced back to the mid 17th Century, is in the south midland area of England, where the Cotswold Hills march through the countryside of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire. Between the 18th and 19th Centuries, practically every village in this area seems to have been represented at some stage by a Morris side.Cotswold dances consist of figures and choruses made up predominantly of single step (step hop) or double step (one, two three, hop) movements, but also featuring vigorous, more showy stepping, often involving leaping from foot to foot, with balances, splits and kicks thrown in for good measure. To accentuate the movements, dancers carry hankies or sticks which swirled or struck in time to the music. Cotswold sides also wear the Morris dancers' most famous accessory: the bells.Jigs play quite a large role in Cotswold Morris, as its style lends itself very well to solo dances. Jigs are often used as proof of a novice's ability, and on performing satisfactorily in front of the team, a dancer may then receive their side's insignia, or baldricks.Cotswold kit usually consists of white shirts and white trousers, or black breeches, usually with some kind of hat and a crossed sash, known as baldricks.Today, there are six predominant styles of morris dancing, and different dances or traditions within each style named after their region of origin.Cotswold morris: dances from an area mostly in Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire; an established misnomer, since the Cotswolds overlap this region only partially. Normally danced with handkerchiefs or sticks to accompany the hand movements. Dances are usually for 6 or 8 dancers, but solo and duo dances (known as single or double jigs) also occur.North West morris: more military in style and often processional, that developed out of the mills in the North-West of England in the 19th and early 20th centuries.Border Morris from the English-Welsh border: a simpler, looser, more vigorous style, traditionally danced with blackened faces.Longsword dancing from Yorkshire and south Durham, danced with long, rigid metal or wooden swords for, usually, 6 or 8 dancers.Rapper from Northumberland and Co. Durham, danced with short flexible sprung steel swords, usually for 5 dancers.Molly Dancing from Cambridgeshire. Traditionally danced on Plough Monday, they were Feast dances that were danced to collect money during harsh winters. One of the dancers would be dressed as a woman, hence the name.Cotswold[edit]Lionel Bacon records Cotswold morris...

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