Continuing the tradition set by the Guildford Folk Dance Club, and carried on by Shirley Williams, this enjoyable folk holiday has dancing at its heart, but with some changes to the schedule to provide more optional fun elements for those who want. Hosted by Gareth Kiddier, the team brings together caller Jane Thomas, musicians Richard Jones and Chris Jewell, plus their partners, for an enjoyable summer holiday in the beautiful Halsway setting.
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. There will be a 6pm sing before dinner, and dances every evening. The team will ensure fun events throughout, making use of the Manor and its lovely gardens for both indoor and outdoor activities. All activities are optional. There’s free time after lunch each day (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 welcome, while at the same time there will be sufficient quality and variety to entertain the more experienced dancer too.
Who’s it For?
Anyone wishing to enjoy a summer folk break at Halsway. No previous experience is necessary, though an enthusiasm for folk dance and activities is an advantage!
Gareth Kiddier (PolkaWorks, The Bismarcks, Oxford Nags, English Contra Dance Band, The Watch) has been playing and dancing for many years – though his knees are against him nowadays. He has been Folk Dance Coordinator at Sidmouth Folk Festival since 2015 and has recently taken up the reins as Social Dance Manager for Chippenham Folk Festival. He aims to to give regular dancers an excellent dance experience, whilst also looking to the future and supporting younger dancers, callers and bands. His interest and enjoyment of folk extends beyond the dancefloor, so expect a more varied programme of activities too. Gareth also hosts the popular Christmas House Party mixed-folk break at Halsway, and our new Contra Dance Weekend.
Jane Thomas is a local Devon caller who enjoys dancing as much as calling. “I like to make my dances enjoyable for everyone with interesting moves that flow. My experiences include Sidmouth folk week , FASH workshop, and local club weekends. Dancing is a social and fun experience!”
Richard Jones has led many folk bands including Climax Ceilidh Band, Angles and Moltenamba playing for Ceilidhs, French Dance, and English Social 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 – in addition to helping out generally – can add some extra dance styles to the programme, including clog and ballroom!