Most of the dances performed by the Hong Kong Morris are from the Cotswold Morris tradition. Cotswold traditions danced at various periods in the side’s history include Adderbury, Ascot-under-Wychwood, Bampton, Bledington, Bucknell, Fieldtown, Headington, Lichfield, Stanton Harcourt and Upton-on-Severn. At various periods in its history the side has also performed longsword dances, garland dances, rapper dances and mumming plays.
While the Hong Kong Morris has always regarded Lionel Bacon’s classic work A Handbook of Morris Dances as a most valuable source of information on the form and historical development of particular morris tunes and morris dances, it has never felt the need to adhere slavishly to the particular form in which a dance or tune was collected several decades ago. The side has therefore contributed to the development of the morris tradition by adapting a number of existing dances to local circumstances.
In the early 1980s the Hong Kong Morris developed a variant of the Lichfield Morris tradition, designed to be viewed from above when being danced on the circular ground-floor stage of the multi-storey shopping mall The Landmark. Instead of the conventional set of eight dancers, the Hong Kong Morris danced Lichfield with twelve dancers arranged in a cross formation. This formation enabled spectacular effects to be achieved, particularly in the complex Lichfield Hey. Other dances similarly adapted include the Upton-on-Yangtze stick dance, a version of the Upton-on-Severn stick dance performed in traditional Chinese costume with chopsticks, and Governor’s Gallop, a dance developed in the early 1990s in honour of Chris Patten, Hong Kong’s last British governor.
Here are some of the dances in our current repertoire:
Bluebells of Scotland
Bonny Green Garters
Speed the Plough
William and Nancy
White Ladies Aston