South of Manchester, it is Cotswold dancers that most people are likely to associate with Morris Dancing. 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.
NEXT UP! Wednesday 26 December 2018
Boxing Day on the Green
12.30pm, The Cricketers, Sarratt, WD3 6AS
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.
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Squire: Dave Pearse
Foreman: Dave Lang
Bagman: Nick Wilson
Lead Musician: Pete Flanagan
During Winter, we meet at 8.00pm on Wednesday nights in the Pump House's Colne River Rooms, Watford. You would be most welcome to come along.
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