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Border Morris

The term Border Morris refers to a collection of individual local dances from villages along the English side of the Welsh border, part of the Morris dance tradition.

This was usually a village dance done in wintertime for fun and a bit of cash. Some of these village sides blackened their faces, in keeping with the mysterious winter festivities. 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. Bromesberrow Heath - had a stark simplicity of one figure and one chorus repeated forever!

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.

So since the 1960s and with further collecting in the 1970s by people like Dave Jones (late of Silurian Morris and the Not For Joes) a distinctive "Border Morris" style has grown. Black faces, tattered jackets, lots of stick-clashing, a big band and whooping seem to have become obligatory. The dances have often become complex, involving many invented and evolved steps, figures and choruses.