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Encyclopedia > Border Morris

The term Border Morris refers to a collection of individual local dances from villages along the English side of the Wales-England border. They are part of the Morris dance tradition. National motto: Cymru am byth (Welsh: Wales for ever) Waless location within the UK Official languages English, Welsh Capital Cardiff Largest city Cardiff First Minister Rhodri Morgan Area  - Total Ranked 3rd UK 20,779 km² Population  - Total (2001)  - Density Ranked 3rd UK 2,903,085 140/km² Ethnicity: 97. ... Royal motto: Dieu et mon droit (French: God and my right) Englands location within the UK Official language English de facto Capital London de facto Largest city London Area - Total Ranked 1st UK 130,395 km² Population - Total (mid-2004) - Density Ranked 1st UK 50. ... A Morris dance is a form of folk dance. ...

This was usually a village dance done in winter for fun and a bit of money. Some of these village sides blackened their faces - thought to be for reasons of disguise. There is no record of any sides dancing together. Many dances incorporated simple figures from country dances. A few – both Upton-on-Severn dances for example – matched the complexity of Cotswold Morris, but many – e.g. Bromsberrow Heath – had a stark simplicity of one figure and one chorus repeated forever. In many parts of the world, winter is associated with snow. ... Upton-upon-Severn is a town in Worcestershire, England, on the River Severn. ...

In the 1960s, E. C. Cawte, the folklorist, proposed that these dances constituted a Welsh Border Tradition. Some would disagree that a "tradition" existed in the same sense as a Longborough Tradition, say. But the idea struck a chord. The 1960s, or The Sixties, in its most obvious sense refers to the decade between 1960 and 1969, but the expression has taken on a wider meaning over the past twenty years. ...

So since the 1960s and with further collecting in the 1970s by people like Dave Jones (late of Silurian Morris (founded 1969) and later the Not For Joes) a distinctive "Border Morris" style has grown. The tradition is characterised by black faces, tattered shirts or coats, lots of stick-clashing and a big band. In 1975, John Kirkpatrick "invented" a border tradition with the Shropshire Bedlams, and this has resulted in much "whooping" amongst copycat sides. Perhaps in keeping with the original tradition, the Original Welsh Border Morris (founded 1973) meet only once a year, at Christmas, drink too much and dance the traditional dances of Herefordshire and Worcestershire. With many of the newer sides, the dances have often become complex, involving many invented and evolved steps, figures and choruses. This article provides extensive lists of events and significant personalities of the 1970s. ...

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