Based near Morpeth in Northumberland, we offer maypole and heritage dance workshops from late Medieval to Georgian, tailored to suit a wide variety of abilities.
Space requirements are either a suitable flat outdoor space, or a hall with a ceiling at least nine feet high. The maypole has 24 ribbons, so a maximum of 24 children or adults can take part at once. If more than that wish to join in we will incorporate spares into the band to do some percussion, and swap them in and out. For smaller numbers we usually use half the ribbons, meaning that 12 people can participate at once. If you are wishing to organise a children’s display dance we recommend at least three rehearsals beforehand.
For safety we cannot play outdoors in the rain or if a thunderstorm is threatened, as the maypole is metal and our instruments are wooden. We have also found that, although it is not dangerous, high winds cause the ribbons to flap around which is confusing for the participants, so even if we are working outside we prefer to have an indoor area in reserve if possible.
Heritage Dance Workshops
We include both historically recorded dances (early dance) from manuscripts and books dating from the late renaissance to the present day. In particular we have a fun set of Tudor dances, a set from the time of the Civil War, a Georgian set and another dating from the Regency period. Modern barn/ceilidh dances are the direct descendants of these dances and their movements are similar. We like to concentrate on giving people a flavour of the period music and the dances that go with them rather than becoming overly concerned with detail. We are quite happy to do dances from a mixture of periods within the same workshop, including modern barn dances.
A dance workshop would need a flat area, with a surface that is neither very slippery nor has a large number of trip hazards. We are happy to work outdoors but for safety we do not play outside in the rain and strong winds can cause problems with the audibility of our musicians. If we are working with elderly or disabled people it is useful for them to have somewhere to sit down between dances.
Online Dance Workshops
With new technologies in a time of pandemic lockdown, we have been developing online versions of our workshops via Zoom. All you need is internet access to participate. Currently we offer:
A Taste of the 15th & 16th Centuries
We’ll be doing couple and circle dances from the fifteenth and sixteenth century and talking a bit about the challenges of interpreting the scant descriptions of the ones that have survived. These are lovely dances which work well in a small space, although you will need some room to move around. (These early dances are all about control.) If you’ve got a partner, great. If you haven’t, don’t worry you’ll still be able to take part with a little imagination. The dances will be taught and demonstrated with live music.
A Taste of the 17th & 18th Centuries
This follows on from the previous workshop and follows the same format.
Contact us for more details.