Morris dancing is England’s oldest traditional dance form. It is recorded as far back as the mid 15th century, but is almost certainly considerably older.  The origin of the word “morris” is not certain but is most likely to be a corruption of “Moorish” - reference to the Moors of north Africa who occupied Spain throughout much of the middle ages. Morris dancing was once common over many parts of England, but declined during the 19th century and by 1900 survived mainly in the Cotswolds and south midlands, along with clog and sword traditions in the north of England.  It would probably have died out completely but for the efforts of a small group of dedicated individuals, notably Cecil Sharp, who recorded the remaining dances and ensured the survival of the tradition.

 

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