This is the only photo I've ever seen of historical North West morris garland dancers. It's from 1910 and Whitworth Rushcart procession.
You can see the Quayside Cloggies in my icon doing a hoop/garland dance, but this photo has all male dancers (as I'd have expected historically).
I've always assumed, but with very little evidence to back it up (which is why I'm rather glad I found this photo) that hoop/garland dances were tied in with the rushcarts as the churches were often decorated with garlands when the new rushes were laid on the floor.
It's rare now to see male dancers doing a hoop dance.
The guys in small skirts at the front are the Coconut Dancers - a dance that is, amazingly, still performed in the same costume today.
The Coconut dancers are one of the many interesting quirks of morris history and no one is quite sure where the tradition came from, but it's a Lancashire dance just like North West Morris.
They have small wooden discs on their hands and knees, which is the sound you're hearing when they pass their hands over their knees.
Notice, that like all good Lancashire traditional dancers, they're wearing clogs.
This entry was originally posted on Dreamwidth where it has comments.