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Morris dancing

As well as national costume, national dishes and a national sport, a nation should have a dance. Argentina has its tango, Poland has the polka, Russia has the russkaya plyasovaya and England has the morris.

Every May Day, outside the village pubs of England, you can see strangely dressed people jumping into the air, waving handkerchiefs and sticks, with bells jingling from their clothing. They perform a traditional morris dance and welcome the return of spring.

The origins of morris dancing have been lost in history, but most specialists agree that it goes back at least to the 15th century.
There are many styles of morris dancing. The most well-known of them is the Cotswold Morris dance (the Cotswolds is a hilly region in south-west England).
In addition to the dancers there are often other characters involved. The most common is a fool, who keeps the public amused and the dancers in order. The fool has another important job - that of collecting money from the audience.

18 May 2010
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