Thursday, 16 January 2014

Different Ways To Dance - Straw Bear Festival 4

Cotswold Morris

The Morris is usually danced by men dressed in white waving sticks or handkerchiefs. Often they wear bells on their ankles and individual sides are distinguished by slight differences in attire. But also one dancer is often dressed differently from his companions...

Although originally only men danced nowadays there are mixed sides and all-female sides. Sometimes they are younger than you might expect and don't even wear white. 

But they can all jump up in the air!

North-West Clog Dancing

From the industrial North-West of England where people used to wear clogs on their feet. Clog dancers often augment the clogs with bells. Quite large sides exist and everyone dresses in "team colours".

I didn't care much for this type of dancing at one time but I find it is growing on me - very rapidly!

Border Morris Dancing

This is Molly Dancing's western cousin, coming from the borders of England and Wales. Like Molly Dancing it faded away without too much being written down. And like the Molly Dancers the Border Morris sides have turned this to their advantage by interpreting what little is known in ways which suit their personalities.  


"Wild" and "colourful" are the two adjectives which sum up most of the dancing I've seen. "Enthusiastic" and "extrovert" would do as well!

Linked Sword Dancing

From the North of England, mostly Yorkshire. Teams of men weave intricate patterns holding on to either end of strips of steel known as "swords". At the end of the dance the swords are woven into a star-shaped knot. The easiest way to explain it is to show you a short video.

 And of course there's....

Molly Dancing

Which we talked about earlier - both the colourfully attired Gog Magog Molly and the more traditional Mepal Morris Men. You couldn't accuse either of being fashion concious or trendy but how about these dancers from the Pig Dyke Molly?

Now aren't they something else?

(I realise that I still haven't introduced you to the glum and sinister men and women seen in "If You Go Down To The Fens Today". Next time I promise!)

Take care.


  1. Any events that bring the community together are ok by me John.. The Molly dancers in the last shot could be pop punk rock group :)

  2. I'm super-impressed by the different types of dance you could distinguish! I too love that last Molly shot, sure they're not some band?:)

  3. I like how you were able to capture the mid-air jumps. I imagine a lot of practice goes on before coming out to perform in the streets for this festival.

  4. I like the Pig Dyke Mollies ... very different! I tried clog dancing a few years ago John, but getting both feet to leave the ground was more than I could manage. What a colourful festival.

  5. Do the Pig Dyke Molly dancers play for KISS?

    You have shown some amazing shots recently. I am jealous.

  6. I love the mixture of age groups. The colors and face paint are spectacular--not to mention the dancing.
    So much heritage there.
    Your photos are grand. Wonderful the way you caught many in mid air.


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