Sidmouth Folk Dance 2017

What’s happening this time?  Well, we’ve listened to your feedback, made some changes, kept the good bits, polished up some others.

Firstly, the Big Mornings carry on. Long, intensive, workshops in English Dance led by returnee Michael Barraclough, supported by Purcell’s Polyphonic Party who were highly praised last time. The other English band is Mrs Savage’s Whim, a new string quartet focused on playing for dance.  The American stream is led by USA caller, Bob Isaacs, who is coming to England for the first time.  His dances have been a regular part of many English caller’s cards for some years. The bands are the young four piece, Contra Alt Delete, and a new band, The Linda Game Band, fiddle with string bass and guitar, plus young multi instrumentalist, Matt Quinn on melodeons.

The afternoons are interesting and varied. After the success of Early Dance last time, we have extended the workshops to include more music sessions. Andy Richards and his team will lead you through the dance.Terry Mann, with help from Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer, will do strange things with unusual instruments.  We are doing more Irish sessions as well, including some Sean Nos workshops led by Emma Dyson, and Irish Set dance with Val Knight, music provided by Chris Dyson and Paddy Hefron from Yorkshire based band, Roisin Ban. 

A special this year, celebrating 100 year anniversary of Pat Shaw’s birth, is a series of workshops looking at his work.  John Sweeney will take a fresh look, supported by Ali Messer and Jane Harrison who both have a wealth of experience of Pat Shaw style.  We have invited Emma Wooders back to continue her popular English afternoon workshops, and Ivan Aitken will be challenging you with his American squares and contras. 

The beginners workshop is led by Rhianwen Davies, supported by another astonishing melodeon player, Sam Mabbett.  They will cover all the basic styles during the week, and assume no prior knowledge.

The evenings are fun.  A series of mixed social dance with local callers Simon Maplesden and Jane Thomas, with bands Momentum and The Andrew Purkiss Band.  We will have a Playford Ball, a Pat Shaw Ball, an Irish Set Night, American, and English events, around the town and in Stowford Rise. Bands and callers from the daytime sessions. A special night midweek will be a Gender Free Calling Dance, to which everyone is welcome.  The final dance of the festival will be English Contra Dance Band, with caller, Jake Wood.

Phew, You’re going to be tired, again.

Gareth Kiddier

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