Put your dancing shoes on at Sidmouth FolkWeek

PUBLISHED: 12:38 04 August 2017

Folk dance. Picture: Paul Clayden

Folk dance. Picture: Paul Clayden


Folk dance is at the very core of Sidmouth FolkWeek, as it is with folk dance that it all started back in 1955.

Folk dance. Picture: Paul ClaydenFolk dance. Picture: Paul Clayden

The festival has developed to include a whole range of folk arts, but folk dance remains a strong thread with an exciting programme full of fun and challenge.

Mornings see long, intensive workshops in English Dance led by Michael Barraclough, and two great English bands Purcell’s Polyphonic Party and Mrs Savage’s Whim. American dance 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 callers’ cards for some years. Bands include young four piece, Contra Alt Delete, and the all-new band The Linda Game Band.

Afternoons are interesting and varied, with even more music sessions. Andy Richards and his team lead the dance. Terry Mann, with help from Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer, will do strange things with unusual instruments. Irish Sean Nos workshops are 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.

Special this year, celebrating the 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. Emma Wooders is back to continue her popular English afternoon workshops, and Ivan Aitken offers challenge 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.

Folk dance at Stowford Rise Community Centre. Picture: Paul ClaydenFolk dance at Stowford Rise Community Centre. Picture: Paul Clayden

Evenings are fun! A series of mixed social dance with local callers, a Playford Ball, a Pat Shaw Ball, an Irish Set Night, American, and English events, around the town and in Stowford Rise.

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