Star Wars fans did a double take (or perhaps even a triple take) in London recently. Through the city, storm troopers seemed to have arrived, looking menacing, their weapons loaded, intent on... well, Morris dancing.
The storm troopers are the result of an off the cuff comment by the organiser of the London 2012 London Olympics, Lord Sebastian Coe. He said that perhaps the games should open with five thousand morris dancers – showing the world that English traditional dance can still punch some weight in the world of show stopping extravaganzas. The EFDSS you see referred to in the propaganda poster by David Owen is the cenury plus old English Folk Dance and Song Society. It is actively recruiting new members to get to the five thousand mark by 2012.
Artist David Owen took Lord Coe at his word and started to arrange a weekend of dance but fell short of the number. So, he decided to enlist the help of the Star Wars Storm troopers. As cut outs they are not quite be the real thing but they certainly look the part - with the traditional headband of flowers, a silk sash across the chest and little bells adorning their shins.
All in all there were one thousand storm troopers dotted around the English capital city. As part of Owen’s aim to rehabilitate the image of morris dancing in the UK they most certainly did the trick. We can’t say, however, if they did anything to improve the reputation of the Empire’s storm troopers but we suspect we know the answer already.