Morris Dancing @ Otley


We once again welcome a whole host of Morris sides to Otley this year, hosted by Otley side Flash Company. They will be performing at various locations around the town on Saturday including the Woolpack Music Studios, the Maypole, the Riverside and the White Swan.

Flash Company

Otley based Flash Company were formed in the year 2000 from musicians and dancers from all walks of life.  Many had danced traditional Morris for many years and wanted to update the tradition to bring it to a new audience in a manner that people could relate to.

In order to do this, they have taken some ‘traditional’ dances and also written several of their own but perform them to more modern music, such as blues, jazz and rock and roll.

In no way is this meant to detract from the traditional teams that exist all over the world, but they feel that people can find some familiarity in the music, and will stop to watch and find out more. Watch out for their amazing band!

Rackaback Morris

A Border Morris mixed team started Jan 2011.
A Rackaback is “A monster with six eyes, three mouths, four arms, eight legs, five on one side and three on the other, three arses, two tarses, and a *** upon its back; a man on horseback, with a woman behind him.” according to the Grose 1811 Dictionary. It is in fact another word for a Gormagon.
A piece of music entiled ‘Rackaback’ was composed by a local concertina player. 'Rackaback' was commented on by a founding member: "what a good name for a morris team that would be". After reading the description of a Rackaback, it was decided that it did indeed described a Morris Team. The name attached itself to the beginnings of a border team and took on an identity all of its own.
Our Rackaback tag is based loosely on the pirates skull and cross bones, Hull being a city port associated with sailing and all things watery.
We dance in black, purple and a splash of gold. Black being the traditional Border Morris colour and purple and gold reflecting the true meaning of the place we origination from – Kingston Upon Hull – the Kings Town of Hull – royal colours
The main aim of the team is to dance, enjoy, laugh, keep fit! and to enter into the spirit of the dance !

Kitchen Taps Appalachian Dancers

Kitchen Taps come from Otley, West Yorkshire, and perform traditional Appalachian Dance to authentic Appalachian music.

They are well known for their lively and intricate routines, and have performed at festivals up and down the country for over 20 years.

The dancers are backed by their band who play a range of old time music on traditional instruments. They are rightly proud of their complex, foot tapping tunes.

Wharfedale Wayzgoose Border Morris

Another of Otley's Morris sides, Wayzgoose were founded in 1993 and first burst onto the public stage on May 1st 1994. Since then the side has grown in numbers and they have attended many major folk festivals throughout England, dancing with sides from all over England and the USA, Australia, Romania and France. They are distinctive in their red, black and white kit and drum!

Flag Crackers of Craven

The Flagcrackers of Craven are a mixed Border side based in Skipton, North Yorkshire. Since our foundation in 1988 they have danced in locations from Eire to Belgium, from Orkney to Kent. They darken their faces and wear clogs and colourful rag jackets. Flag Crackers are regulars at Otley and you'll certainly hear them!

Rhubarb Tarts Molly Dancers

Rhubarb Tarts are a Molly side, based in Wakefield. They wear individual costumes, mainly in the rhubarb colours of red, pink, green and yellow, with green faces. They like beer and ice cream. If you have never seen a Molly dance,make sure you seek them out - the 'Tarts' are amazing!

Stone the Crows Border Morris

Based in Leyland, Lancashire, and with over forty-five members, Stone the Crows are a well-established group of ordinary men and women who share a passion for English traditional dance. The type of dance we are passionate about is Border Morris, which we perform at an assortment of venues: folk festivals, county shows, carnivals and local pubs Some of the dances we perform are traditional, while others have been collected from fellow Border teams, perhaps learned at workshops, or even written by our members. Our repertoire tends to change as new dances are learned and older ones given a rest.

Leap to your Feet

Leap to your Feet Appalachian Dancers and Musicians perform the traditional dance and music of the Southern Appalachian Mountains of America - also known as Appalachian Clogging.

The dances incorporate the various traditions of several European and African Countries. The dancers wear “tap” shoes to add a percussive sound to the music.

Appalachian Dancing evolved from the “Clog” dancing common in England And Ireland and taken to the Appalachian mountains of America by the early settlers.


North British Sword Dancers

For over a quarter of a century the North British Sword Dancers have been amazing and delighting the people of Britain and Northern Europe with our artfully-selected range of dances from Scotland, Cumbria, the Isle of Man, and Lancashire (but not Yorkshire, because everybody else does those).  Music is supplied variously by whistle, melodeon, fiddle, Northumbrian pipes, Galician gaita (although they have been known to alarm dogs and small children), and vox humana.