strathspey Archive: Still Folk Dancing - after all these years

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Still Folk Dancing - after all these years

Message 60201 · Fiona Grant · 9 Jan 2011 21:57:03 · Top

Still Folk Dancing... After All These Years
For viewers in the UK only - An interesting TV programme on BBC 4:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00wgrtr

For the rest of the world, this is the synopsis:
Young Northumbrian folk-singing siblings Rachel and Becky Unthank take a
journey around England from spring to autumn 2010 to experience its living
folk dance traditions in action. They lead us through the back gardens and
narrow streets of towns and villages from Newcastle to Penzance to discover
the most surprising of dances, ceremonies, rituals and festivities that mark
the turning of the seasons and the passing of the year.

On their journey the Unthanks learn about the evolving history of the
dances, whether connected to the land and the cycles of fertility or to
working customs and practices in industrial towns. The girls talk to local
historians and visit Cecil Sharp House to explore the dances' 20th century
revival and codification through archivist Sharp and others, and we get to
enjoy extraordinary film archive of the dances through the decades which
show that although the people have changed, the dances have often remained
remarkably constant.

Rachel and Becky grew up clog dancing in their native Northumberland and now
get to observe and try other English dances, including travellers' step
dancing in Suffolk, horn dancing with huge antlers in Staffordshire and
stick dancing in Oxfordshire. This curious but vibrant world of local dances
flies in the face of modernisation, and sometimes of ridicule, to keep the
traditions and the steps alive.

Fiona,
Bristol

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