Morris dancing has a long history in the UK (some claim it's been around since the 14th or 15th Century) but there are now international sides too. Tenterden Folk Festival hosts teams or sides from all over, who perform along the High Street.
some dance with sticks:
some have blackened faces - there are various explanations for this. I quite like the idea that it was to camouflage the dancers at a time when the Established Church was trying to ban Morris Dancing because of its pagan origins.
some dance with hankies:
You may have noticed the chap in the pink frock? He's the team's "fool", who acts as if he's messing about, but is quite possibly the best dancer of the lot!
Sides have "beasts" who work the crowds and sometimes dance along too - can't be easy!
Of course musicians are crucial!
This is a hurdy gurdy or wheel fiddle - I'd never seen or heard such an instrument before.
This musician danced whilst playing - very impressive!
I'm not knitting Morris Dancers any more, but the last four will be in the UK Silly Sale in my Etsy shop on Friday - come and snap up a bargain!