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Other Dance traditions
There are a number of other dance traditions more specific to certain places. These all have their own unique characteristics which echo elements of other traditions but stand alone, showing how the individual character of a town or village had...
Longsword (2)
There may be extra characters associated with a longsword dance – a fool or captain. As in rapper, the dance finishes with a sword lock which is held up by one of the dancers for the whole audience to admire. The costumes vary from the...
Rapper sword (2)
Periodically, and especially at the end, a star or lock is made by interlinking the swords, which are then held high to demonstrate its symmetry and strength. Jumps and flips are often executed whilst maintaining the link to the other dancers....
Rapper sword
Rapper sword is from North East England, originating in the region’s mining communities. Five dancers are linked by rapper swords – short, flexible metal strips with wooden handles on both ends. This dance is traditionally performed indoors on...
Molly
Molly dancing is from East Anglia – from Essex up to Lincolnshire and parts of the East Midlands. It is associated with the tradition of plough boys performing on Plough Monday (the first Monday after Twelfth Night in January). A variety of steps...
Carnival morris
Th e huge variety of English fo lk dance styles reflect the constantly evolving nature of tradition. 19th and 20th century revival and ‘created’ traditions have now become traditional for many participants. Traditional processional dancing in the...
North West morris (2)
The men’s costumes are usually breeches and shirts with hats decorated with flowers and strings of beads worn around the neck. Women often wear mid-length dresses with a pinafore or waistcoat. Earlsdon Morris Men Sidmouth Folk Week, 2011 Photo:...
North West morris
North We st morris dancing is from Lancashire, Greater Manchester, and Cheshire and is usually performed in sets of 8 dancers, although sets of 6 to 12 are not unusual. Dances were originally processional, moving through the streets of the local...
Border morris (2)
Traditional costume includes tatters , a rag jacket made of strips of material sewn loosely at one end to a jacket, and bells tied around the knee. Dancers and musicians (usually several) might also wear top hats decorated with feathers, and most...
Border morris
Border morris dancing is from the English counties on the Welsh border: Shropshire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire. The dances are usually performed in setsof four to eight dancers. Nowadays the style is wild and exuberant, performed almost at...
Music
Live music is an integral part of English folk dance. Performance dancers rehearse and perform with one or more musicians, and social dances are usually accompanied by a band. Dance and musical accompaniment are inter-connected. Dancers use both...
Introduction 4
As you can see on the diagram, English folk dance can be usefully placed into two broad groupings: 1) Performance Dance Usually performed outside in the street or village green and, in modern times, often at festivals or as a performance in an...
Introduction 3
Engli sh folk dance is colourful, exhilarating, exciting and diverse! Although distinctive, it has surprising similarities to traditional dances from across the British Isles, Europe, and other parts of the world. For example, stick dances that...
Introduction 2
English folk dance spans a hugely varied range of activities, from solo dancing in informal social settings to elaborately costumed and choreographed group dances. Dances can be spontaneous or ritualised, fixed or improvised, irreverent or solemn...

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