The A-Z of Morris Dances
From Adderbury to Winster (not quite A to Z) but close enough!
Since the early days of Dartington Hall (1968), the side has taken an interest in a very wide variety of the Cotswold dance styles or 'traditions', occasionally straying to Upton upon Severn in the Border region, to Lichfield (Staffs) in the Midlands and to Badby, Brackley and Hinton in the East. The Morris continues to grow and evolve all the time. New dances, variants, and differing interpretations can be seen countrywide at Days of Dance, Meetings of the Morris Ring and on Summer tours of towns and villages everywhere.
A glance at the map towards the back of Lionel Bacon's renowned 'Black Book', the 'Bible' to countless Morris sides, highlights the predominant number of towns and villages in Oxfordshire, which have provided Dartington (and the majority of others) with the backbone of their repertoire. Our dances today are taken primarily from Adderbury, Badby, Bampton, Bledington, Brackley, Bucknell, Ducklington, Fieldtown, Headington Quarry, Hinton in the Hedges, Lichfield, Oddington and Upton upon Severn. Occasional 'visits' have been made in the past to Eynsham and Longborough, and there are still many others that remain to be danced!
Dartington Morris Men have developed a number of dances of their own based on the traditional dance styles, including 'General Taylor' (Fieldtown), Boys of the Bunch (Bucknell) and 'Little Johnny England' (Bledington).
The lost Filkins tradition
Dances that originated in the village of Filkins (Oxfordshire) are lost in the mists of time, but our former Foreman Christopher Farr, through painstaking research (with a healthy dose of creative input), has reconstructed a style and several Filkins dances. The dances are named 'My Pretty Little Highland Mary', 'The Sea Green Sash', 'Lillibulero', 'Just as the Tide was a-Flowing' and 'Orange in Full Blooming'. The Filkins tradition is currently performed only by Dartington.
To the frequent Morris visitors to South Devon, particularly during the Summer months, there is always the opportunity to join in on a Friday night, and to feel at home with the dance style, the enthusiasm of the side and the friendly welcome that is always extended! If you are planning a visit to the area, whether alone or as a side, please contact us as we always enjoy meeting up with other sides, old friends and new.