Morris dancing could be "extinct" within 20 years because young people are too embarrassed to take part, a UK Morris association said today.
The numbers of people participating in the traditional British folk dance are dwindling whilst the age of the dancers is increasing, according to the Morris Ring, an association representing over 200 Morris troupes across Britain.
It is warning that "unless younger blood is recruited during the coming winter months, Morris dancing will soon become extinct".
Charlie Corcoran, Bagman of the Morris Ring, said: "There's a distinct possibility that in 20 years' time there will be nobody left.
"It worries me a great deal. Young people are just too embarrassed to take part.
"This is a serious situation. The average age of Morris dancing sides is getting older and older. Once we've lost this part of our culture it will be almost impossible to revive it."
The Morris Ring is hoping a winter recruitment drive could attract some new younger members in time for the spring when most troupes perform the dances they have been practising.
Paul Reece, chairman of the Advisory Council of the Morris Ring, said: "There is still time for new blood to get ready for the Spring fertility offensive.
"Such customs and activities were once a common sight around the country. Today they are carried out by an ever-dwindling stalwart band of enthusiasts who are determined to keep them alive.
"But there is a serious danger that, in less than a few decades, Morris dancing will be confined to the history books."