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Multi-colored dancers smacking sticks along the Common



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Amelia Mason reports they're Morris Dancers - and actually from England, specifically, they're the Shropshire Bedlams, "based in South West Shropshire, centred around the small market town of Bishop's Castle," fresh off a trip to Vermont for the Marlboro Morris Ale, which is a Morris-dancer gathering, not Vermont's latest craft beer.

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Morris Dancers. Weird tradition, but if they're having a good time....

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Don't forget, there are many iterations of morris dancing, some more elaborate, or fanciful, than others.
But a lot of the morris dance you're liable to see, especially around the Boston area, comes from rural England, c. 18-19th century. It was a way for people to let loose a bit, take a break from all the toil and grind of agrarian life -- so, yeah, put on some rag clothes, or maybe white pants and shirt with colorful accoutrements, to spruce things up a bit, find several good sticks (fortunately a fair number of them were available in the English countryside) and perform dances that borrow from, or parody, steps and figures from the English country dance tradition. Then it's down the pub for a few pints and a song or three. Far worse ways to spend one's time.

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I love the costumes. Thanks for the video.

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