"leave that partner.." (not too quickly thought!)
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Barbara, Sarah, Ron, Maureen, Olive,
Margaret and Joan chill out with, what we
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Mo is available for Calling, Teaching
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Folk Music and Dance
Looking for a hobby for those winter night when it's too dark for gardening?
How about folk dance, or music.
from Down the Lane Forumer, Mo
Part 1. Dance
If, like me you are over 60 you will probably ‘done’ country dancing at school and been to the odd PTA or church barn dance, so you already know some of the moves. So go along to your nearest folk dance club, and you will find a warm welcome. Many of us are ‘not as young as we were’, but we enjoy our evening, adapting where necessary, and taking care of each other. There is a lot of laughter and some exercise too (as energetic or gentle as the dancer and partner want).
What do we dance?
The dances vary from traditional English dances, American squares and contras, dances recreated from old publications (John Playford’s English Dancing Master of 1651 onward), and newly created dances in these styles.
The Playford dances are often graceful and gentle, American contras can be lively.
The balance between fast and slow, easy and hard, new dances and old favourites, depends on the club and its members.
On a normal club night most clubs dance to recorded music. Different clubs host occasional dances on a Saturday with a band, and guest caller.
Finding a local club
The English Folk Dance and Song Society
website may help http://www.efdss.org/ukdiary.htm .
Or try googling “Folk dance, and your County
How will I know what to do?
There is a 'A Caller'’ running the evening who tells you Before each dance there is a 'walk through’ to practise the track. While the music is playing The Caller reminds the dancers what comes next. If the caller says something you don’t understand, ask. S/he will explain, or someone dancing in your set will show you.
Do I need a partner?
Most dance are for couples dancing in a larger set, but you can go on your own and people will ask you to dance (and dance with you when you ask them). It is a good idea if couples who are beginners split and dance with experienced dancers at first.
What else do I need
Comfortable shoes and cool loose clothes. Subs (might be £2 or less/ person/night). Maybe a drink for the break (unless someone makes tea). A sense of humour and willingness to have a go.
The young or energetic might go to a Ceilidh http://www.webfeet.org/eceilidh/Overview.html
There are clubs that specialise in American squares, Irish sets, Scottish dance, International circle dances, the list is endless.
Or you could join a Morris side, http://www.merseymorrismen.com/ or Display Team e.g. http://www.adlingtonfolk.co.uk/dancers.htm
Is folk dancing suitable for children?
There are some groups with inspired leaders e.g. NYFTE http://www.nyfte.org.uk/index.htm who encourage children to learn and perform to a high standard. Also teams of young performers.
Many Folk Festivals have a children's programme and a Youth programme so that all ages can learn with their friends.
At the other end of the scale a family barn dance can be fun.
However, many clubs are aimed at adults, if you want to bring children along ask your local club what their policy is, you would at least need to supervise them and guide them through the dances (though some children learn quickly and dance better than some adults)
Your local clubs will know what is available for children in your area
Why do we do it?
For the friendship and co-operation , the music (spine tinglingly beautiful or toe tappingly lively), the interesting patterns of the dances, the pleasure of movement in time to the music.
It could take over your life
We spend our holidays at Folk Festivals, dancing with other enthusiasts, and learning something new. We get a chance to hear new bands (some amazingly young and talented), and also other folk acts, and to sing and make music too.
And a suggestion if you are planning a family party, or a fundraising event
Why not book a band and have a barn dance. The caller will choose dances suitable for the guests, whether adults or children, beginners or experienced dancers. www.familyband.co.uk is the band I work with, there will be plenty near you.
Discuss hobbies and interests in THE FORUM
Keith, the typical Secretary, happy and welcoming!
Mo, above, and Joan below doing their stint of 'calling'
"We dance for laughter, we dance for tears, we dance for madness, we dance for fears, we dance for hopes, we dance for screams, we are the dancers, we create the dreams."