Contra or American style Ceilidh is fast, flowing dancing to fiddle based music with many of the figures similar to those done at English Ceilidhs (or Barn Dances). You don’t need to bring a partner as you will dance with most of the other people in the hall during the evening and cannot help but come away happy at the end of the night. All the dances will be explained by an expert caller and the dancing is done to a fast walk with all the figures flowing beautifully one into another accompanied by fiddle-based reels or jigs with the occasional waltz or march thrown in.
The dances are in long way sets, limited only by the size of the hall, with couples moving up and down the set to dance with everyone in the set. Occasionally square sets for eight people are thrown in to provide some variety.
English Contra Dance Band are British duo Linda Game and Gareth Kiddier.
They are one of the best-known contra bands in the UK; they’ve performed at all the dance series and folk festivals that there possibly are for contra bands to do in this country, several times over, plus they’ve toured in America and are established favourites on the Danish contra dance festival scene (yes, there is one). They are also regulars at Halsway Manor playing for dance courses and weekends. Once you start dancing to them, you don’t want to stop!
Gareth Kiddier (piano) has been playing on the folk dance scene for in excess of 15 years and is a passionate dancer, all of which shows in his driving rhythmical support of the dance tunes using well considered harmonic chords. When not with ECDB, he may be heard playing most weekends of the year with The Watch, PolkaWorks and other occasional line-ups.
Linda Game (fiddle, mandolin) has been playing folk based music for over 20 years since she escaped from the Classical world! In addition to being fluent in a number of styles she is able to take tunes into another dimension with her stunning improvisational ability and rhythmic sense, making her a particularly exciting dance musician! Over the years she has worked with the American Appalachian dance team Broken Ankles and pursued other American styles – Cajun, Texas swing, Old Time – with the band The Kitchen Girls. In addition to other projects she currently plays with The Fold, a Brighton based, international Folk Rock band, and until very recently with the acclaimed contemporary folk trio Zoox (who have now decided to go their separate ways).
Lynne Render is a dancer and caller from Loughborough in Leicestershire. She is a regular caller at local clubs and also calls for dances, ceilidhs and workshops at clubs and festivals throughout the country. Lynne calls for dancers of all abilities and has worked with many well-known bands. She has called at Sidmouth, Chippenham, Eastbourne, Whitby, Lichfield and Bromyard festivals, at Casterton. Southam and other dance weekends and is a regular caller for The London Barndance Company at Cecil Sharp House and the Alcester contra series. She also used to call at the Peeping Tom ceilidhs. Lynne likes to call a mixture of American and English dances (but only American Contras and Squares in Leeds) and is always on the lookout for interesting, but nicely-flowing dances to add to her repertoire. She firmly believes that a clear explanation will enable the less-experienced dancer to enjoy a good dance.
Regular dances at Headingley Parish Hall, St Michaels Road, Headingley; 8.00 - 10.00 pm (2nd & 4th Tuesdays)