A long weekend for dancers & musicians to enjoy together, with the added element of straw craft for those who are interested!
Dancers – with Vicky Baker – will explore how callers, dancers and band interact to produce an enjoyable dance, with opportunities to try calling a dance and working with musicians.
Musicians – with Lin Heatherington – will focus on playing dance tunes as a band, and performing tunes in an interesting and danceable fashion! We’ll look at ways to bring out the characteristics of different tunes and phrasing them to suit dance movements.
There will be music and dance workshops in the morning with afternoons free to practice or explore the local area or participate in Strawcraft workshops.
We’ll work in small groups in a supportive atmosphere and approachable leaders. The groups work together to put on a Playford Ball on Saturday (costume welcome) and a Ceilidh on Sunday. Music, both Playford style and Contra, is available in advance.
Straw Craft is newly listed on the Heritage Craft Association’s list of endangered crafts, so we’re especially delighted that Dorothy Seedhouse once again will be here for the weekend. if you wish to focus on strawcraft you may book to join Dorothy’s afternoon workshops and have your mornings free. Musicians and dancers are welcome to drop into classes during their afternoons.
The weekend also incudes the AGM of the Halsway Manor Society (Saturday, 2pm), which is open to members.
Who’s it For?
The musicians’ side of the course is designed for players of any instrument. An ability to read music is necessary. Some tunes are in keys other than G and D so please let us know your instrument, and keys you can play in, when making a booking.
The dancing is aimed at people with some experience of folk dancing who are keen to learn more. If you’re interested in trying calling then this can be included.
Straw craft workshops are designed to be fun for both beginners and those with some experience, offering the chance to learn something new and to develop existing skills making small decorative items.
Musicians: Music is available in advance from Halsway Manor – please contact the office if you do not receive it.
Dancers: Please contact Halsway if you would like to call a dance. Vicky will need you to think about what music you require. Also Vicki is happy to include a session aimed at helping novice callers if this is going to be useful.
Sadly Heather Bexon is unable to join us this year. Instead we’re delighted to welcome Lin Hetherington (violin & double bass) to lead the musicians. Lin is a music teacher, until recently Deputy Head of Cambridgeshire Music Service. She has many years of experience of playing violin both classical and folk having played in numerous folk bands including “The Ranchers” and “The Woodley Yeomen”.
Vicky Baker is based in Staffordshire and has over 20 years experience of all styles of Folk Dancing including Maypole, Playford, American, and Scottish. She has worked with local bands at Saturday night dances as well as club nights, calling for all age groups and abilities and is registered as a caller for Holiday Fellowship breaks.
Dorothy Seedhouse has been secretary of the Guild of Straw Craftsmen for the last 10 years. She is experienced in using straw decoratively i.e. making pictures using marquetry techniques, Swiss straw methods, and traditional plaiting including corn dollies.
Brian Graham is a local musician who will be playing accordion for the dancers workshops.