Folkdance Festival: Workshops
This year Robert is offering two advanced level Playford workshop sessions intended to attract dancers who want to perform at a higher level and are prepared to work accordingly.
His session entitled "Stately Homes through the Ages" will present dances from the Playford repertoire as well as the present time, which are intended to challenge those taking part to achieve an impressive performance level.
His session on "A Tribute to Deserving People" will be of a similar standard, linked to dances written by choreographers giving attention in dance to distinguished people of their time.
The Saturday Evening Costume Ball will have dance themes telling stories through dance, and their consequences.
Saturday 14.00-15.15: Running Set
This workshop will feature Kentucky Running Set figures performed in square sets. Mike learnt Running Set from Paddy O'Neill, and is keen to share this exciting dance form, which originates from the Appalachian Mountains. Eight visiting figures will be taught in total, plus several chorus figures, where each couple will learn and have ownership of two figures. This workshop is accessible to all, with no previous experience required. Be prepared to suffer serious jaw ache from excessive laughter!
Saturday 15.45-17.00: Something Borrowed
New England Squares and Contras with figures borrowed from Modern Western Square Dancing. Mike has been an avid collector of American Squares and Contras from the New England, Mid-West, Southern and Western States, plus quite a few written by UK callers. This workshop will concentrate on Squares and Contras that feature figures borrowed from Modern Western Square Dancing (Do Paso, Zoom, Pass the Ocean, Spin the Top, Box Circulate, Wheel & Deal, etc.) The workshop will develop in complexity, with each figure being fully explained. Some knowledge of American dance would be advantageous. Novices will find this workshop challenging, but not impossible.
Sunday 11:30-12:45: Transatlantic Allsorts
A mix of exciting dances from both sides of the Atlantic. Included in the workshop will be some tips on style and technique. Mike does not promise to make the workshop easy, but will make it fun and accessible to all.
Monday 09.45-11.00: Mind-bending Squares and Contras
This workshop is definitely not for the love-sick or faint-hearted. Experience of American dance is essential to survive! You have been warned!
Friday 20.00-22.30: Everything in Moderation
A mixture of English and American old and new to enable you to renew acquaintances and make new friends.
Saturday 9.45-11.00: Here Goes
The first of two workshops exploring the language, our relationship with partner and the music. A chance to refresh and improve and maybe understand why we dance!
Saturday 11.30-12.45: Patterns to Music
The second workshop exploring the language of dance and how we make music visible — letting our bodies flow with the music.
Sunday 14.00-15.15: Just the Job
A job or two from Ron Coxall mixed with something new from friends abroad — from Europe and the USA.
Monday 9.45-11.00: Hybrid Dances
Dances that aren't quite the usual shape or have a move to 'watch out for' — such as 'Crossroads' by John Wood, 'A Measure for Margaret' by Charles Bolton or 'Winter Garden' by Chris Sackett and Brooke Friendly.
Monday 11.30-12.45: Dance in the Assembly Rooms with Jane and Friends
A selection of dances from the Regency era. A chance to unwind and enjoy the social mingling.
Saturday 15.45-17.00: Thomas Bray's Country Dances
This workshop explores dances from theatrical dancer and dancing master, Thomas Bray. Expect dance interpretations from Pat Shaw, Diana Cruickshank and Christine Helwig & Marshall Barron, with figures to make you think and develop a sophisticated style of dance.
Sunday 9.45-11.00: Dances with Heys
Join us, as we weave and dance our way through a wonderful range of Playford style dances each containing different heys and reels.
Sunday 14.00-15.16: No Walkthrough Squares and Contras
Colin will give some advice on how to deal with situations which may arise when there's no walkthrough — after that it's up to you! Dancers must be able to react quickly to calls, and knowledge of standard figures used in squares and contras is essential.
Sunday 15.45-17.00: Colin's Compositions
Some Playford-style, a couple in waltz time, possibly something American in style. Some quite challenging.
Monday 11.30-12.45: Dances of Philippe Callens
Philippe has now retired from calling, but his dances live on. Some a little challenging, some which just need to be danced well. Playford-style, a couple of waltzes, perhaps an American Square.
This will be led by Robert Moir and Colin Hume. We have a Callers' Workshop on Saturday for which we will ask the callers in advance what questions they want to ask or what skills they want to acquire, followed by a double session of New Callers' Showcase where each caller has a chance to call two dances and be given some feedback. On Sunday there's a Callers' Review led by Robert, where the callers can discuss how the New Callers' Showcase went, what they have learnt, what their next steps should be, or anything else they want to discuss. On Monday there will be a similar session led by Colin. You're welcome to go to both of these; you will find the leaders broadly agree on things but each has his own ideas, which is the way it should be!
We expect callers to sign up in advance for this training. If you're interested, please email me.
Ta Palia Castana
Our three enthusiastic musicians (Maya Buckley, Mike Machin and Clyde Olliver) aim to offer relaxed and friendly singing and music workshops suitable for all levels of experience. Most of the material will be of East European origin and will be a good introduction to the wayward rhythms and unfamiliar forms of Balkan music.
The singing and instrumental sessions will be led by Mike and Maya respectively, who together bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the occasion. Maya will be a familiar face to many on the international and circle dance scenes as she has played and taught music at numerous dance gatherings, most notably in Torquay and the West Country, while Mike has recently travelled to Thessaloniki, Cyprus and Rotterdam to further his knowledge and understanding of Greek and Eastern Mediterranean music. For many years Clyde was an SIFD specialist Balkan dance teacher and he has MC'd at Eastbourne several times in past years — though this time he'll not be dancing but rather supporting Maya and Mike as an accompanist on accordion.
We hope that dancers from across the Eastbourne weekend will join us for these music workshops, whether experienced players or those just wanting to 'have a go.'