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Voters voting for the best folk dance performance of the year.

Vote for your favourite folk dance performance of the year

Help us decide on the folk dance performance of the year. The judges have had their say, now it's down to you to pick a winner.

2022 was the year when Morris and folk dance performance teams were allowed back out into the wild after their pandemic-enforced inactivity, and they did not disappoint.

From sleepy Devon pubs and small market squares to packed tents at Sidmouth, Warwick, FolkEast and Shrewsbury folk festivals, England’s rich and varied folk dance teams have been out in strength across the country. 

We wanted to do something to celebrate those teams that are going above and beyond to challenge negative perceptions of Morris and our other traditional dances by performing them with passion, enthusiasm and technical excellence.

A few weeks ago we asked for video nominations of your favourite performances of 2022. We received over 30 excellent nominations covering most of our folk dance traditions. Thank you to everyone who nominated a performance.

You can view the (almost) full list of nominations on our YouTube playlist here. (If your video isn’t on this playlist it’s because your Youtube settings don’t allow playlisting.)

From these nominations, our expert judging panel, made up of the heads of the Morris Ring, Morris Federation and Open Morris, has whittled the performances down to a shortlist of eight performances.

Now we need your votes to help crown the winner of the 2022, and inaugural, Tradfolk Morris and Folk Dance Performance of the Year Award.

Casting your vote

The initial judging panel

The shortlist

How to vote

After you’ve watched the performances below please rank your top three dances via the green button below. 

Points will be awarded as follows (think like Eurovision but without the international relations implications):

  • 1st choice = 5 points
  • 2nd choice = 3 points
  • 3rd choice = 1 point

The dance with the most points will be the winner of the Tradfolk Morris and Folk Dance Performance of the Year 2022.

What to look for

Here are some things to look out for when considering who to vote for:

  • Are the dancers in line or making a recognisable shape when they’re meant to be? 
  • Are they on the same foot and on the beat of the music?
  • Are their movements in time with each other?
  • Do they look like they are enjoying themselves?
  • Is the audience engaged?
  • Does the dance surprise or excite you?

Don’t worry if you’re not a Morris aficionado – you can also just vote for your favourite, regardless of any of the above!

Meet the sides

Beltane Border Morris

Beltane describe themselves as the “dark side of folk”, and it’s easy to see why. Hailing from the wilds of Dartmoor, Beltane dance Border Morris in a way that proves Morris dancing isn’t all about, “bells and hankies and tea with the vicar”.

What the nomination said

This performance took place in May with a beautiful red sunset in duration. The energy and enthusiasm of both dancers and band are second to none. Totally a special moment taking place on Dartmoor.

What our judges said

“Interesting set, amazing energy and use of space, interesting to watch and very well executed.”

“Stirring and powerful, makes you want to dance!”

“Some great playing to the audience… good development of the tradition and makes an impact en masse.”

Black Swan Rapper

Founded in 2001, Black Swan Rapper are based in Leeds and have been mainstays of the festival dance circuit for much of the last two decades, dancing their own version of traditional ‘rapper’ sword dances from the North East of England. They are known for their tight performances and innovative rapper figures.

What the nomination said

This performance won the prize for ‘Buzz Factor’ at DERT 2022 (Dancing England Rapper Tournament). The audience loved it and we think you will too.

What our judges said

“Stunning pace and well-crafted dance.”

“Pure unadulterated power, and brilliantly executed.”

“I think we can all agree folk dance needs more double-forward tumbles. Especially Cotswold.”

Chinewrde Morris

Chinewrde Morris made history in 2022 by being the first female team to dance at the previously male-only Saddleworth Rushcart. The nominated video was of a performance from that event, but unfortunately it was incomplete and on Facebook, so we’ve chosen to include this equally excellent dance from Whitby Folk Festival instead.

Based in Kenilworth, Warwickshire, Chinewrde have been dancing North West Morris for over 30 years and are renowned for their energetic and precise dancing style.

What the nomination said

Momentus. Great dancing. Cracking dancers, engaging and well received. 

What our judges said

“Great precision, powerful dance and smiles all the way.”

“Technically slick.”

“Crisp lines and excellent energy.”

Earlsdon Morris

That Earlsdon Morris are the only team (that we know of) to have a Vice article about them tells you a lot about the team.

Formed in Coventry in 1971, Earlsdon have been performing North West Morris up and down the country ever since and, as the above Vice article states, continue to be “undeterred by morris dancing’s ridiculed status and refused to feel emasculated by the obligatory fruity costumes.”

What the nomination said

An amazing performance of an interesting dance that combines precision, energy, excitement, complexity and fun.

What our judges say

“Amazing change capers, pace and buzz.”

“It’s all about that big band sound.”

“I love the spectacle Earlsdon provide and the way they represent folk dance.”

Handsworth Traditional Sword Dancers

Handsworth Traditional Sword Dancers have been a continuous side for over 150 years, although we’re assured most of the current members haven’t been dancing this long. This performance is of the traditional Handsworth Sword Dance, a Yorkshire longsword dance from Sheffield, which was recorded by Cecil Sharp when he watched the team in 1912.

What the nomination said

A long, intricate dance that takes stamina and precision to pull off. A great team performance that won Best Traditional Dance at the Sword Dance Union longsword competition.

What our judges say

“Immaculate flow and cohesion.”

“Love the speed and power combination, and that kit is hard to beat!”

“The diverse range of heights of the dancers makes the togetherness of this performance all the more impressive.”

Harlequin Morris

Harlequin Morris formed specifically to dance some of the more challenging and unusual Cotswold Morris traditions. Their members are scattered around the country and come together in different places for practice and performances of the “living traditions of the Cotswolds”.

Members each wear a different colour shirt, which we assume is going to become increasingly challenging unless there’s some kind of deal with the B&Q colour matching service in the pipeline.

What the nomination said

Harlequin is fun, light-hearted and friendly, but also a great dance side who do some challenging and beautiful dances.

What our judges say

“It doesn’t get much better than this; amazing energy, precision, spectacle, and beautiful music.”

“Well-defined moves, flowing, and great teamwork.”

“A fantastic advert for Morris dancing.”

Sheffield Steel Rapper

Sheffield’s finest daughters have been spinning and tumbling their way around the local hostelries of the Steel City for over a decade. Their dances give a nod to the industrial heritage of the area, helped along with a healthy dollop of gin and served up in a kit inspired by the Sheffield delicacy and institution, Henderson’s Relish.

(We’ve been asked to point out that this was the second part of their spot, the first of which featured a Zoom-based rapper practice skit, which explains why the musicians are wearing pyjamas.)

What the nomination said

There aren’t many better spots for dancing than the Sidmouth late-night ceilidh interval, but the reception that the energy and precision of this dance gets is particularly electric.

What our judges say

“Fabulous dance, great atmosphere.”

“Great pace and precision, such driving music and the perfect audience.”

“A fantastic representation of the rapper tradition.”

Sussex Junction Morris

Sussex Junction are not only the newest side to make our shortlist, but also one of the newest sides in the country. Hailing from Hailsham, the team formed in 2016 and have already made a number of appearances at the country’s top folk festivals.

What the nomination said

Sussex Junction are dancing some of the best Cotswold in the country at the moment and this demonstrates it. I love how a mixed team in terms of gender, fitness, shape, experience is so coherent.

What our judges say

“Darn near perfect.”

“A fantastic combination of power, grace and technical prowess.”

“A good representation of what Cotswold can be; nice innovation of figures and good music quality as well.”

Vote for the best folk dance performance of the year by clicking the button below. The deadline for votes is December 9th.