Folkdance Festival: Artistes
Bernie Culkin is a caller and dancer known for her clear style of calling. She is making her name on the evening dance scene and has called at dance weekends across the UK. Bernie is beginning to venture further afield having been invited to call across the border in Scotland and in the Netherlands. Since moving to Cheshire she has started Kindred Spirits Folk Dance Club where the focus is on dancing with style. Bernie is a graduate of the callers' course run by Robert and Hazel Moir which led to her taking part in the New Callers Showcase at the Eastbourne Festival in 2015.
Colin has been a caller for many years and has called at all the major dance festivals in England as well as dance weeks in the USA and the Netherlands and weekends in other countries. He teaches Playford-style, Traditional English, American Squares and Contras, and sometimes other dance forms such as Scottish, Quadrilles and Country Dance Minuet. He believes that if you dance better you will enjoy it more, and he runs workshops for callers and dancers in the hope of confirming this.
Geoff is well known as a caller for American Squares and Contra and English Ceilidh. He has called at national dance festivals including Whitby, Chippenham, Eastbourne and Sidmouth, and is well respected by his peers. He has considerable experience as a dancer himself, particularly in Appalachian clogging.
His experience as a dancer stands him in good stead when calling, as his sympathy with those on the floor means that he is helpful to beginners as well as extending the expert dancers.
Mike has been folk-dancing since 1970 and calling since 1981 for barn-dances, ceilidhs and dances for experts, including dance workshops, weekend residential events, and folk festivals throughout England. Mike is also the Dance Director for the internationally-famous Chippenham Folk Festival, held during the late May Bank Holiday weekend.
Nigel will be the MC for the Final Fling. For many years he was the leader of Woodfidley, a top display team from Winchester, and he is also an experienced caller and workshop leader.
Robert is well known as a dancer, caller and choreographer. He is interested in the 17th and 18th century dance revival as well as teaching modern dances in the genre. Robert is noted for his dancer-friendly teaching style, enabling dancers to perform to the best of their abilities and enjoy the experience. He is much in demand both at home and abroad, and was one of the leading figures in the Pat Shaw Centenary celebrations in 2017.
Rosemary Hunt is an experienced caller with an international reputation who loves guiding others into dancing well, but who also loves to dance. She has written a number of dances, and has recently published the first book of them. She enjoys introducing beginners to the joy of country dancing, but is equally at home calling for experienced dancers, helping create a better understanding of figures and how they fit the music. She has called at many festivals in England, Holland and America.
Contrasaurus is a contra dance band of the late Holocene era, has 8 feet, and plays the fiddle, accordion, guitar and double bass. Heavily influenced by today's leading American bands, Benjamin Rowe, Alan Brunier, Adam Griffin and David Ledsam specialise in playing traditional tunes in an innovative style that is great to dance to. Not Technically Dinosaurs.
English Contra Dance Band
The English Contra Dance Band is a two-piece band playing music for contra dance. They are based in the UK and have been performing for the last ten years at most of the major contra dances. Linda Game plays a driving fiddle style over Gareth Kiddier's solid piano accompaniment. Although they are from different traditions — English traditional and Rock — they have adapted very well to the American high energy style of contra dance music. As one dancer said, “How can two people make so much noise?!”.
Mollie & Ali
Mollie Koenigsberger and Ali Ellacott play fiddle and accordion with zest, with swing, playing contra dance and country dance with energy and lyrical abandon.
We are dancing with you when we play, and like you we are making it up as we go along…
Julia Day, Shane Day and Tina Brown were part of the legendary “Wild Thyme”, and have been playing as “Keeping Thyme” since 2000. They provide good, danceable music with energy or a gentle touch as required, in many styles, and will still be smiling at the end of the festival.
Orion's Ring offer superb music that will make your feet want to dance. Steve plays accordion with lift and feel for the music. He has composed many great dance tunes several of which have been adopted by both English & American choreographers such as Elsie Watson, Audrey Laver, Rosemary Hunt, Fried de Metz Herman, Sharon Green, Chris Sackett & Brooke Friendly, and Gary Roodman. The second core member of the band is his daughter Genni on fiddles. They are joined by Jacqui with her wonderful selection of wind instruments and her harp. The band has been enhanced by the addition of Darren on percussion. Even when you are not dancing it is a pleasure to listen to these four musicians!
Bob comes from Hertfordshire and is an experienced dance caller and instructor. He started calling at the popular Friday Folk club in St Albans and now appears regularly with local bands at dance clubs and social occasions. For several years he ran a lively Modern Jive club where he taught weekly classes. His aim is to make dancing available to more people and to help them gain the maximum enjoyment from it.
Bollywood and Bhangra
Bollywood with Avtar from Somerset was popular in 2017, and united interest from all factions of dancers, so we've invited him back for 2019.
Born in India and brought up in London, Avtar has always been interested in Indian music and dance.
What you will learn in a workshop:
- Basic dance steps which can be put together into a dance sequence;
- The meaning of gestures — hand and feet movements;
- Translation of the lyrics of popular Hindi and Bhangra songs we will be dancing to;
- An understanding of costumes and an opportunity to dress up.
Whilst Bhangra and Bollywood dance can be energetic and high-tempo when performed by professional dancers, we prefer a slower pace with an emphasis on the movements and the joy of Indian dance and music. Come and join us!
Karin Bellaart has been a teacher for ballet and international folklore since 1974, teaching amateurs and professionals in many ways. She has taught in England many times — International Folk Camp 1978, Great Alne Weekends, Eastbourne Festival 1986 and 1987, SIFD Summer School 1989 and 2015 — and has performed with Hupsakee and Paloina during festivals in Chippenham, Newcastle and Sidmouth.
Linda, an enthusiastic dancer on both the International and Anglo-American dance scenes, has been teaching Cajun for over 20 years. She has successfully taught a number of different dance styles and shares her enthusiasm very effectively with the participants. The session is planned to suit beginners as well as improvers.
Ta Palia Castana
This year sees three friends reunite to play for the Eastbourne International Folk Festival. Under the title 'Ta Palia Castana' (The Old Chestnuts) they will combine their talents to enliven the evenings with their spirited playing of some old favourites of the International dance repertoire, plus some tunes new to them and perhaps new to dancers as well. All will be expertly delivered on fiddle, clarinet, various woodwinds, vocals and accordion.
Festival goers are also welcome to attend the trio's instrumental music and singing workshops which will be open to all — a great introduction to the music and song of the Balkans — and possibly beyond!