An enjoyable folk holiday that has dancing at its heart, alongside optional folk related activities for all to enjoy.
Hosted by Jane and Brian Thomas, the team brings together caller Ivan Aiken, musicians Richard Jones and Chris Jewell, plus their partners, for an enjoyable summer holiday in the beautiful setting of Halsway Manor.
Each morning will include two workshops, one for dance, one for another folk activity, which might be dance, song-based, or musical, depending on audience preference. There will be an early evening sing before dinner, and dances every evening/night. The team have organised a programme of fun things to do which make use of the Manor and its lovely gardens for both indoor and outdoor activities. All of these are optional and there is free time each day after lunch (packed lunches available if preferred) plus one day completely free, giving you time to explore the area, or to relax at the Manor.
Both the dance workshops and the evening dances will be of a professional standard both in terms of calling and music, and will include dances from across the UK. Novice dancers are very welcome, and there will be sufficient quality and variety to entertain more experienced dancers too.
Who is it for?
Anyone wishing to enjoy a summer holiday break at Halsway. No previous experience is necessary, though an enthusiasm for folk dance and folk music is clearly an advantage!
Your hosts, Jane and Brian Thomas, are regulars on the Devon and West Country folk dance scene. Calling, dancing and organising, they are a fun couple who will make the week work however you want.
Your caller, Ivan Aitken, is a dancer and caller from Reading in Berkshire, and has been dancing and calling for over 40 years. He is in demand as a caller for local clubs, workshops, festivals, club dances, weekend dances throughout the country and events abroad. Ivan is known for his Contras and Squares but also for his wide knowledge of English dances old and new.
Richard Jones has led many folk bands including Climax Ceilidh Band, Angles and Moltenamba playing for Ceilidhs, French Dance, and English Country Dance around the festivals and clubs. He is a regular lead musician at Folk Camps, and is the leader of the South East London Folk Orchestra.
Chris Jewell has spent the last 50 years playing for both Ceilidh and EFDSS dancing, leading numerous bands on both melodeon and fiddle and playing at many festivals. He is also a caller and is the current chairman of Bideford Folk Dance Club.
Belinda Bourquin is a music teacher who has led many workshops, including collaborating with her husband Richard Jones to produce ‘songstrumentals’, where she conducts the choir and Richard leads the instrumentalists. She also has a special interest in playing fiddle, melodeon and whistle for French and Swedish dance.
Kerstin Jewell adds some extra dance styles to the programme, including clog and ballroom. And she offers crafting workshops, including beautiful paper artwork.