Performers

There will be 24 dance groups, that’s at least 190 dancers and 70 musicians plus a few other performers dancing all day at five town centre locations…..

BORDER MORRIS: Originated in Herefordshire  Worcestershire and Shropshire in the 17th century. Dancers were supplementing their income by a bit of dancing and illegal begging so they blackened their faces to hide their identity from employers and the law. There is absolutely NO connection with ‘Minstrel’ shows. Dancers generally wear black with masses of highly colourful rag ribbons (tatters) and elaborate headdresses, often featuring tall pheasant feathers. Wild dances, raucous dancers, driving rhythms and enthusiastic crashing of sticks. Stand well back!

Styx of Stroud

Tatters & Tails (Bath)

Winterbourn Down (Bristol)

COTSWOLD TRADITIONAL MORRIS Originated in Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire and Northamptonshire. 6-8 men usually dressed in white shirts and trousers with coloured cross sashes and flowery hats, leaping and twirling, hankies waving, sticks crashing, bells jingling, sometimes with a hobby horse and a fool. In the “traditional” style only men dance.

Bathampton Morris Men

Bristol Morris Men

Cam Valley Morris Men

Devizes Jubilee Morris 

Holt Morris – 30th anniversary this year

“MODERN” COTSWOLD MORRIS: The same Cotswold dances but sides are mixed, men and women, or all female. Dress standards are much more relaxed with bright multi-coloured outfits and some sides have less formal stepping.

Bell’s Angels (Ladies’ Morris Dancers from Holt)

Malmsbury Morris 

Rigel Morris (Rowde Primary School)

Stroud Morris Ladies

STAVE DANCERS: These are unusual and very rare dances which originate from the Somerset, Dorset and Wiltshire Friendly Societies. Each dancer carries a two metre stave crowned with a distinctive brass emblem and decorated with ribbons. Whilst the staves are mainly carried on the shoulder, some dances require the dancers to form arches or other figures.

Somerset Morris (Bristol & Bath)

CLOG & STEP DANCERS: Originating from the Lancashire and Cheshire woolen mills where workers sitting at the weaving machines wore hard-soled clogs with iron nails on the soles and heels, which they tapped to the rhythms of the machines to keep their feet warm. Today’s sticks and hoops are symbolic of the mills’ bobbins and shuttles. Most clog dancing sides are female and their costumes are visually striking with broad sashes and generously flowered hats.

Beetlecrushers (Radstock)

Hips & Haws (Biddestone)

Mr Wilkin’s Shilling (Batheaston)

RAPPER SWORD DANCERS: Originating in the pit villages of Tyneside, dances are performed at speed by a team of five people continuously linked by flexible swords called rappers. For most of the dance the swords are held above the dancers heads while they weave intricate patterns at high speed, moving smoothly in and out of complex shapes including forward and backward somersaults over the swords. 

Locksided Rapper (Bristol)

Silver Flame Rapper (Bristol)

Sulis Rapper (Bath)

WELSH FOLK DANCERS

Gwerinwyr Gwent (Welsh Folk Dancers from Newport, a bit more than 30 miles from Bradford on Avon but they were very popular at our last DoD)

OTHER DANCE GROUPS: As a break from all those bells, sticks  and hankies we are very pleased to include a number of other dance groups demonstrating very different dance styles.

Bop About Dance (Children’s Ballet & Tap Classes – Bradford on Avon)

Groovy Movers (BoA)

Jane Austen Dancers (Regency & Georgian Dancers from Bath and Bradford on Avon)J

Lebanese Belly Dancers (from Wiltshire!) 

DRUMMING

Mendip Djembe Drummers

MUMMERS PLAYS (About Mumming)

Widcombe Mummers: Will be performing their traditional folk plays around the town. They are dedicated to the art of mumming performing the traditional play but tweaking it by incorporating as many humorous local references as they can.

Stroud Wassail Mummerswill be performing their tale of a local hero and villain fighting for the love of a fair lady.