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bfdk Ceilidh vs. Folk Dance: why the rivalry? (40) RE: Ceilidh vs. Folk Dance: why the rivalry? 25 Mar 09

Wear pink and show some cleavage, Meg, that should land a few blokes at your feet where you can then peruse them from above ;o))

I find this thread interesting as it mentions divisions / distinctions that I wasn't aware of and I learn a lot from it. Coming from abroad, my experience with ceilidh dancing in the UK is limited to a few festivals over the past 2-3 years, Sidmouth twice and Whitby once + some weekend festivals. I go to D-A-N-C-E - in the broadest sense of the word. Basically, I was and am open to give anything a go and, hopefully, have fun in the process.

The friends I go with to those festivals are singers/musicians, not a dancer amongst them, so when I go dancing I have to rely on myself to 'cultivate a patch'. Therefore, the important thing for me is whether or not a given venue is friendly and welcoming to strangers, in my case a stranger who can dance some, but who hasn't done much in the way of dancing the way it's done at the British ceilidhs/dances. I'm fully prepared to be outgoing and ask blokes to dance with me, and I usually succeed in finding 'victims'. I find that walking up to a bloke and asking him 'So, do you wanna dance or are you here for decorative purposes only?' usually does the trick..

Like I said, I've never worried about whether something was called 'ceilidh' or 'dance', I've just wandered happily along to see what it was all about. I love the Anchor Garden lunchtime ceilidhs, where you can just walk up to the caller and ask him to 'auction you off', if you're in want of a partner. I love Herbaceous Borders, where you're welcomed in with open arms, given a stick and someone to clash with. I went along to an evening of Breton dances at Sidmouth last year (it was raining) and I was bored stiff. I happened in on an afternoon venue at the Pavillion in Whitby last year and was bored semi stiff - I *think* that was the Playford stuff?? - very staid and somewhat stand-offish.

All along I've been lucky to find nice dance partners, quite a few of which are experienced dancers willing to take on a keen beginner and show her the ropes. I've even had my clutches in some of the top callers, without realizing at the time who or what they were. I'm probably the only person alive who's ever managed to get Terry 'Leadfingers' Silver to attempt a polka with his feet as the only instrument. I've never been turned down rudely, but sometimes politely. And I guess that, basically, that's what it's all about - whether or not any given dance 'denomination' is willing to let in newcomers. Those that won't will eventually starve to death for want of new blood.

Hope to see a lot of you at Sidmouth!

Btw, I'd be more than willing to teach a few Danish folk dances there to anybody interested, should the opportunity arise. PM me if anybody's interested, I could bring some sheet music / descriptions / CDs/mp3s along, if need be.

Best wishes,


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