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Morris dance groups from England describe the traditions that underpin the symbolism embodied in their dances. The wearing of elaborate hats, colourful coats adorned with ribbons or rags and blackened faces narrate past histories. Sticks and swords crashing on the ground frighten away evil spirits, bells welcome the spring, and the waving of handkerchiefs mimics court dancers of the 17th century. Animals like the horse and dragon symbolise old Nick the devil and are kept away from the dancers. Dancers and musicians perform along the streets to the sound of the accordion. Formations and patterns from Wiltshire and Welsh border dances are performed.
This clip is from:
First broadcast:
29 January 2010

Classroom Ideas

This clip could be used as a stimulus to highlight the skills required to perform Morris dancing. Children could evaluate their own performances by examining the techniques and skills used in the clip. Children could also discover the reasons and history of Morris dancing.

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