Come and enjoy the Christmas celebrations at Halsway Manor in the company of Ivan Aitken, your MC and Caller, supported by Gareth Kiddier (piano) and Linda Game (fiddle), better known as The English Contra Dance Band! Ivan has a very relaxed style of calling all types of dance including contra and squares and the entire period of English dance from then until now. Between the dances there will be opportunities to sing, to enjoy winter walks, to take part in music workshops (all instruments!), and to relax and catch-up with friends old and new. All this, and the wonderful Halsway atmosphere, great food and a roaring log fire.
Arrive a day early for the Dinner & Folk Dance: £45 per person inc B&B
Who’s it For?
Everyone who would like to dance, sing and have fun at Christmas! Live locally? We are opening our doors for non-residents to come and enjoy the fun.
Ivan Aitken is a dancer and caller from Reading in Berkshire. He is a regular caller at local clubs, and also calls for dances and workshops at clubs and festivals throughout the country. Ivan calls for dancers of all abilities, and has worked with many well known bands. He has called at Sidmouth, Chippenham, Broadstairs and Bromyard festivals, at Halsway Manor and other dance weekends. Ivan likes to call a mixture of English, American and Scottish dances and is always on the lookout for new and interesting dances to add to his repertoire.
English Contra Dance Band 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).