Not many people know this but Morris dancing was originally invented as a training aid for British colonists going abroad. That's the reason for all that stick banging. That was so the settlers could drive the locals off with mass baton charges, all in perfect timing. Later on, when Australia became the colony of choice, the handkerchief waving routines were introduced so that the new arrivals would be ready to fight off the swarms of flies waiting for them.
Irish dancing, with all that dancing in a row with stamping feet, that was invented to help the Irish navvies to pound down the waterproof clay at the bottom of the canals when they were being dug. In fact, when the Irish started their biggest dance company it was originally going to be called Canal Dance, only the PR men finally decided that River Dance sounded better.
A nice Irish guy told me all this when I bought him a black and tan last St. Patrick's Day.