The A-Z of Morris Dances
From Adderbury to Wheatley - 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 other Cotswold sides) with the backbone of their repertoire. Our dances today are taken primarily from Adderbury, Badby, Bampton, Bledington, Brackley, Bucknell, Fieldtown, Headington Quarry, Hinton in the Hedges, Lichfield, Oddington, Sherborne, Upton-upon-Severn and Wheatley. Occasional 'visits' have been made in the past to Ducklington, 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), 'Little Johnny England' (Bledington) and most notably the Filkins dances.
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.
North Skelton Longsword
Since 2017 we have performed a longsword dance from North Skelton, North Yorkshire, on an increasingly frequent basis and this always makes a nice contrast to our Cotswold dances. We continue to develop the dance to incorporate more features and will always aim to perform when we can.
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.