There are currently 4 types of dancing that our guilde participates in. You will notice that the word "scholarship" is often set up as a link. Click on it, and you will be taken to our research pages for direct references.
This seems to be most related to modern square dancing, although there is no caller for the steps. There is much twirling and spinning with your partner. It is most excellent. (Party on, Duke!) While the complete scholarship of country dancing has yet to be pursued by us, it is our current superficial belief that this type of dancing was an opportunity for the town and country folks to present themselves as potential mates. Performing the correct steps was not as important as proving oneself. The gents were put to the task for their stamina to see how healthy they were. The ladies presented themselves as suitable candidates for other activities, such as childbearing. It has been said to me the bum roll (a padding the ladies wore around their waists below the skirts) developed to enhance the look of childbearing hips, much in the same fashion padded shoulders are worn today.
Morris dancing is a style of synchronized dancing that is said to have developed out of the pagan rituals that were replaced by the Christian rituals. There are many styles of morris dancing using a range of props, from sticks to handkerchiefs to bells. They are vigorous and athletic, at times involving a fool-type character who tries to distract the dancers from their task. Again, our scholarship is not very deep. We will provide more information as we learn more things. However, that didn't stop us from trying to perform some of the dances we have found in books and on the 'net.
This is another style of synchronized dance in which swords are clashed. There are hints if it being, also, of pagan origin. Some of the research we have found talks about sword dances ending with mock beheadings and resurrections. One of our performers has also found a more practical reason for their development. It seems that the brandishing of weapons was illegal in certain places. Therefore, the dances developed as a way to practice while circumventing the laws. I have not seen the scholarship on this, but I like the idea.
I could go on and on about the true pagan connotations of women dancing with strips of cloth around a huge pole, but that could get my website pulled off the air. Let us just say that maypole dancing has its origins in . . . uh . . . fertility rituals. So, it goes without saying that maypole dancing should be both sensual and ecstatic. (Please, don't delete the messenger!)
If you are only interested in our versions of the music, go to this link. You will find .wav and .mid files as well as printable score sheets. Where the material is copyrighted, there will be a link set up to contact the copyright holder for permission to use the material or where to purchase it. This includes the .wav and .mid files! We ain't Napster, here. Some folks worked hard on these arrangements and deserve the few pennies they would earn from a sale.