Sunday, 5 February 2017

#coast2coast #cornishdance

Get yer scoots on, or yer instruments out for some foot-stompin' Cornish music and dance fun from #coast2coast, supporting cultural events in east Cornwall over the year, including:


A chance to pick up a selection of Cornish social/community, set and step dances just for fun, usually indoors, sometimes outdoors, always with LIVE music!  Ideal for complete beginners and experienced dancers alike, and anyone who things they've got two left feet!  Always taught from scratch, and tailored to the participants at each session.
Under 14s must be accompanied by a participating adult.


Here's the list of Cornish Dance Tunes for you - you'll find links to the dots if you're a dot reader, and if you're a play-by-ear folkie, you'll find you pick up the tunes at your usual rate over the regular sessions.

Where and when?

Liskeard - Liskerrett Centre - fortnightly from Sat 11th Feb at 10am
Bude - The Falcon Hotel - fortnightly from Sun 12th Feb at 4pm.

Full dates and locations are all in the Cornish Dancing Diary, with more appearing as locations are confirmed.

How much?

Magic Hat PAYF (pay as you feel) collection (a fiver would be nice :) ).

How can I find out more?

Subscribe to the mailing list here for updates.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Man Engine Day - Liskeard

One mighty day for Liskeard, as the tallest puppet ever built in the UK - The Man Engine - came to Liskeard, Cornwall, the first town in Cornwall in the 2 week tour.  

Liskeard's Michael Loam was the original inventor of the #ManEngine.

We were anticipating around 3-5,000 people . . . 13,000 turned up on the day to be part of the #ManEngine ceremony.

I joined the first planning session with #ManEngine central, as the safety routes were being planned, and to support the Town Council, local traders and heritage organisations in creating an engaging pre-ceremony programme of events.  It was the end of May.  Man Engine day was two months away . . .

Catching and scribbling ideas, and setting a date for a 'Discovery Evening', bringing local traders and businesses together.

Concept on paper for the #ManEngine #LiskeardExperience.

Fullly programmed schedule, with around 90 artists, after playing the funders/sponsors v artist game for a few weeks.

Sizing up the space . . . 

Trying to imagine something that's never been seen in Liskeard. Or anywhere, for that matter.

Finding places for people to eat . . . especially those with special dietary need #glutenfree (I was so grateful for one of those on #ManEngine day!).

Before all the people . . . .

Stewards briefing . . . 

The #ManEngine arrives - the amazing Liskeard Town Band playing . . . think it was 'Fer Lyskerrys' . . . 

Liskeard Town Mayor, dressed as a balmaiden - with her mayoral chains - welcomes and gives thanks.

Fore Street from Beddoes fruit & veg market end

Fore Street from Barnecutt's end.



Here he is now - one high street packed with people and an almighty #ManEngine.

Dha weles skon - see you soon, #ManEngine.

Liskeard are already thinking about future heritage events, or even an annual #ManEngine day.  Ober da! Good work!

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Bodmin Heritage Day - The Children's Dance 2016

What an absolute joy to support the Bodmin Heritage Day - The Children's Dance 2016 with such an amazing bunch of children, a fabulous team of volunteers & musicians, and with the support of Bodmin Town Council and Bodmin Lions, a very generous donator, 720 PRINT and all the parents!

This was an extraordinarily special project for Bodmin Town, with a call out for help to revive The Children's Dance, when 1,000 or so children used to learn the dance at school, with schools entering with their banners, and receiving trophies.

Alas the school commitment in this first year was missing . . . maybe all that target reporting work means there isn't time to spend on such frivolous activities as helping children learn how to work together, how to dance, and how important heritage is to them.  Fortunately, a good number of young people persuaded their parents to let them join in, so big up the parents!

Rehearsals began in January at the Sheer Dance Academy with the brilliant support of Sam & Sally Deakin & Carly Butler-Hoare, and as the weather warmed up, we took the rehearsals outside to Mount Folly, having had the necessary things in place from Bodmin Town Council.

Each rehearsal included The Children's Dance, and a selection of dances from the Cornish dance repertoire, like "Mr Martin's Reel", "Old Hand-in-Hand" and a Serpent dance.  Thanks to our trusty musicians for playing so brilliantly each time.  Plenty of laughter from both children and adults alike!

Bodmin Town Band warms up . . .

Billy hopes for a Newlyn Reel . . . 

 Thomas, the extra special drummer leads the dancers . . . 

The dancing crew - well done all of you :D

. . . and finally, Justine & Shaun hand out drinks from Bodmin Lions and "thank you" gifts for all the childeren, kindly donated by 720 PRINT in Bodmin (<<check them out for all your promotional needs folks!).

Extra special thanks to the inspirational, work-horse, Justine Stephens for the energy and drive to realise the vision, having been one of the children in the Children's Dance before it stopped a few years ago.  Bring yer whistle to Bodmin Folk Club lovely ;) 

It would be wonderful to see this come to life again for next year . . . maybe even with a few more of the primary school aged children in Bodmin . . . there's over 2,000 out there ;)

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Bodmin Heritage Day - The Children's Dance 2016

A cracking launch to Bodmin Heritage Day - The Children's Dance at Sheer Dance, home of the Sam Deakin Dance Academy hidden up on the Walker Lines Industrial Estate in Bodmin this morning!

Justine Stephens, one of the driving forces behind the revival of The Children's Dance, introduced me to the Bodmin variation of "North Cornwall Furry" as we demonstrated the dance for the wonderful dancers. Subtly different to all the other variations of this dance I've ever come across, with just four steps forward (rather than the usual 8), right hand star, left hand star, followed by four steps forward, right hand star, left hand star.  A perfect 'fit' to the music!

Freelance photographer, Peter Hodges takes the official pictures of the dancers - do check out Peter's excellent photography and courses here.  

Note the temporary gold & blue sashes, stitched together by Thea Palmer up at the upholsterers near the library in Bodmin (thanks, Thea!).

Stepping out like gazelles . . . "one, two, three, hop".  Top tip to conserve energy and give the littler ones a chance of keeping up: keep the steps quite low.

Four 1-2-3-hop steps forward . . . 

Right hand star for two 1-2-3-hop steps . . . 

Left hand star for two 1-2-3-hop steps.  Repeat the sequence for the 2nd part of the tune - four 1-2-3-hop steps forward, right hand star for two 1-2-3-hop steps, left hand star for two 1-2-3-hop steps.  Continue until you reach your destination (the opposite end of town!).

Musician Carlton Crouch plays the tune, while Justine sings the words . . . 

Justine and one of the wonderful parents recollect The Children's Dance from the time their own children took part in Bodmin Heritage Day . . . "...all the parents used to help out with the costumes...bonnets, shawls & skirts for the girls..."..." was Pauline who used to come into each school from Bodmin Heritage to teach the parents the dance, so they could teach their children..."

Keep your eyes on the Bodmin Heritage Day - The Children's Dance page for future rehearsals, updates and fund-raising initiatives.

Here's to persuading as many parents and guardians as possible in the Bodmin area to let their wonderful children experience the thrill of participating in Bodmin Heritage Day - The Children's Dance on Saturday 2nd July 2016! 

Huge thanks to Sam & Sally Deakin for generously providing the rehearsal space and persuading his students to participate, to Carlton for the music, the amazing young people,  and the effervescent energy of the volunteers.

Feel free to share any old pictures of the dance you might have, and your own stories either here, or on the Bodmin Heritage Day - The Children's Dance page - it'd be fantastic to hear from you.

Meur ras! Thanks! :D

Friday, 18 December 2015

Tripping the Light Fantastic with Liskeard Lights Up 2015

Second time lucky with the weather, after the annual "Liskeard Lights Up" Lantern Parade was cancelled due to the weather.  So much hard work had gone into producing the dancing lanterns with the "Tripping the Light Fantastic" theme, and almost for nothing, as the squally wind and rain stopped the procession from going ahead.

With a swift bit of re-jiggery the Liskerrett Centre pulled together a remarkable event to give the chance for the children to show off their good works, with live music, dancing and an experience to treasure.  

Around 60 or so children gathered from Trewidland, Hillfort & St Cleer schools with their beautiful lanterns, getting ready to take part in the extraordinary procession and serpent dance.

The garden had already been decorated with the huge dancers that were to have been part of the Liskeard Lights Up procession the previous week.

We led the children down the slope to the garden amphitheatre, with Carlton Crouch playing bagpipes and Pauline McKeogh on accordion.

We danced a massive serpent, spiralling round and round, with the children "Tripping the Light Fantastic".  Parents, grandparents, guardians and local folks watching in amazement, with the amphitheatre providing an excellent viewing point, as well as the houses above the garden.

Samba Kernow greeted us with a great conga riff, before heading back up the slope for mince pies, mulled apple juice and tunes from Scoot Lyskerrys.

"I loved the bit where we went round and round in circles," said one of the youngsters as we got back to the hall.  "Can we do it again...?" said another.  "That was amazing!" said one of the parents, "we should do this more often...".  Ok, let's!

Big thanks to all the volunteers & staff at the Liskerrett Centre, to Andy Bilewycz for the pictures, and the wonderful parents, guardians and teachers for the support, and of course, all the amazing children for taking part.

Here's to the next one :D

Nadelik Lowen ha Bledhen Nowydh Da!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Sunday, 6 September 2015

NEW! LOOE & LISKEARD #cornishdance workshop series!

After a long summer break, a new autumn season of #cornishdance workshops are back in the "far east"!  

Introducing a NEW fortnightly series in LOOE on Friday evenings at the Millpool Centre​ from 18th September, AND a weekly series in LISKEARD on Saturday afternoons at the  Liskerrett Community Centre​ from October 2nd. 

A chance to learn / refresh a selection of Cornish social, set and step dances: foot-stompin' fun-fit exercise with LIVE music!

Here's the flyer . . . and all the dates are in the "Cornish Dancing Diary"

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

The Discovery of Kober (Copper)

What a joy to work on with such wonderful children and Play-It-Again theatre this term to produce a fantastic evening of drama, comedy sketches, Cornish music & dance, telling the story of the discovery of copper, the tea treats, the riots and the strikes!

Claire & Nina from Play-It-Again worked with Hillfort Primary School Y5 on on the physical theatre, while I worked with St Martin's School Y5/6 & Y6 on the Cornish dancing over 3 sessions to give the young people the chance to perform in Liskeard Public Hall.

The play is set in 1836 at the time of the discovery of kober (copper) by James Clymo and Thomas Kittow, and began with the announcement by 'Miss Trewhella'  of the "discovery of copper on Caradon Hill...and to celebrate we shall have a dance...".  The children all joined in a simple serpent dance, led by the St Martin's School dancers . . . 

...and they really are made of light :)

Claire & Nina as the two old ladies retold the stories of the year that changed all our lives, as we "went from a small community where nothing ever happened to being the Copper Capital of South East Cornwall....during the "boom" there were at least 10,000, 'cos there are at least 5 mines".  

They used to "work six days a week, with only Sundays off, when they'd all dress in their Sunday best...and take the train to Looe..."

"Do you remember The Great Miners Riot of 1842...?"  Allegedly started by a James Beer in the Bullers Arms, asking for another drink.  The landlord refused him, and "all hell broke loose"... the musicians began to play, the children began to 'throw' whatever they could lay their hands on...some excellent slow miming going on until they all collapsed.

Mayor Bernard Anstis "all stand..." doled out the fines to the miners, ending with sixty shillings to James Beer.

As the two old ladies recounted more tales of the copper "boom", 'Miss Trewhella' of the East Cornwall Temperance Society announces the 'Old Hand-in-Hand' dance . . . 

And the children danced very well indeed, especially as Hillfort Primary School had only learnt the dance on that day)'s a little clip of them:

The story continued as the children from one mine discovered that they were not being paid as much as one of the other mines...and the story spread across the Caradon mines...

...and the children went on strike...

...and finally danced a defiant Mr Martin's Reel the length of the hall...'ll have to come see this again to find out what happened at the very end, if you can persuade your Caradon school to participate in the next Scoots Kernow-Play-It-Again-Phoenix 100 production!

Meur ras bras to...Councillor Derris Watson and all at the Caradon Heritage Partnership for the support...Claire & Nina at Play-It-Again , the staff and children at Hillfort & St Martin's CofE Primary Schools, the staff at Liskeard Public Hall, especially Dan on sound, and all the wonderful volunteers on the evening :D