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Morris Dancing did however survive, particularly in the South Midlands, and many local villages had their own team of dancers, men, and yes, women (but not mixed teams yet), performing a programme of dance unique to their community and in some cases competing against each other. New forms of dancing also began to flourish in the industrial areas commonly known today as North West Morris and sword dancing also appeared particularly in the North East. The Morris teams could also earn some extra cash by putting on performances to get their members through the more difficult times of the year. Fortunately, through this determined survival, information about the dances began to be recorded by early students of folk-lore. A positive revival began between the wars using this knowledge and the experience of the dance sides that were still around and gained momentum with the interest in folk music during the sixties and seventies.

The origin of the hankies and sticks is not known but the theory is that sticks suggest combat. The bells were worn to compliment the music of the dance and accent the leg movements of the dancer. Black faces used by Border sides were more than likely used as disquise.

Today Morris Dancing is thriving together with interest in other forms of English traditions and customs. The Morris now includes Cotswold Morris, Border Morris, North West Morris, Molly Dancing, and Sword Dancing teams. Men, women and mixed sides. Unfortunately these teams are ageing but active encouragement is now being given to younger members to take up the hobby to ensure survival of the tradition.

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Bucknell Morris Men Bucknell Morris Dancers 1882
(the link will take you to the Morris ring website)

Colchester Morris Men Colchester Morris Men 1978 (25th anniversary tour)
one of many post war revival sides
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