Cam Valley Morris Men were formed in 1981 by dancers who had already gained experience with other dance sides. Their aim was to dance Cotswold Morris in its traditional form for the enjoyment of both themselves and the public. Cam Valley kit is based on that of traditional Cotswold teams from whom our dances are collected. The green of our crossed baldricks and rosettes represent the Valley and the blue the waters of the Cam in Somerset. The style of dancing is vigorous and in particular enjoys enthusiastic sticking – a habit which results in an abundance of firewood!
Most of the dances performed by Cam Valley come from the Cotswolds where they have survived untouched by the changes brought about by the Industrial Revolution. They were discovered by Cecil Sharp on Boxing Day morning 1899 in the village of Headington near Oxford. He noted down the steps and the music and published them so that future generations could benefit from seeing the traditional dances of England. Each village had their own specific style and the dances of today are named after these villages. To the man in the street (or pub!) they probably look alike but there are differences, sometimes subtle, which reflect on the village from which the dance originated.
Today we dance the Morris not just to pass on the tradition but for enjoyment, which has probably been the case throughout history. Morris Dancing and the characters associated with it, namely the Fool, the Hobby Horse, the Green Man, and the Man/Woman often referred to as the Betty, probably originate from customs which were around in pre-Christian times; many aspects of the Morris have pagan origins.