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English Folk Dances at Clifton

Western Daily Press

FEB. 16, 1920

Sword dance by the Morris dancers of Weston-in-Gordano

The Bristol branch of the English Folk Dance Society, which has been inactive during the war, has resumed its very delightful work, and on Saturday night at the Royal West of England Academy a large company of enthusiasts took part in charming repertoire of the fine old dances which were the vogue hundreds of years ago.

It is interesting to learn that the movement to preserve this phase of old English social life is popular all over the country, and judging from the number and wholehearted enthusiasm of those who took part in the gathering on Saturday night Bristol, is doing its part well.

The local society will hold classes at which the Morris dance as well as country and sword dances will be taught, and the demand for teachers, we understand, is at present beyond the supply. There is scarcely an elementary school in the city where the children do not enjoy their English dance, and many of the secondary schools are following this excellent lead. So far, however, men and boys have not entered into the scheme to any great extent, and most of the dancers on Saturday night were ladies. The programme included some of the most typical of folk dances;

“Helston Ferry, We won't go home till morning, Black Nag, The Butterfly, The Boatman, Gathering Peascods, Rufty Tufty, Bonnets Blue, Newcastle, If all the world were paper, Galopede, Picking up sticks, Old Mole and Sellengen Round."

To the lively music of piano and violin the dancers tripped it merrily, deriving stimulating exercise as well enjoyment in full measure. The feature the evening, however, was an exhibition sword dance by the Morris dancers of Weston-in-Gordano. This particular dance belongs traditionally to Kerby Malyard. near Ripon, and unlike the Scottish sword dance it is very intricate and exciting. It is interesting to know that some of the country dances which figured on the programme were taken from old dance book of 1650. Miss Robinson, of The Towers, Sneyd Park, who chairman of the Bristol branch, was the hostess of the evening.

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