Instep In Canada

We assembled in Sydney, Cape Breton, on Friday 1st April over breakfast in the hotel where we were mostly staying. There were:

Our hosts:

Heather Sparling: Primarily a musician, interested in the social background of Cape Breton dance and music. Associate Prof. at Cape Breton University, Sydney.

Kristen Harris-Walch: A dance researcher based in Memorial University, St John’s, Newfoundland interested in the transmission of dance traditions.

Sherry Johnson: A dancer and researcher based in the traditions of the Ottawa region. Associate Prof at York University ( the Canadian York!)

And guests:

Pierre Chartrand: Quebec based step dancer and general fount of knowledge on the French-Canadian traditions

Catherine Foley: Prof. at Limerick , very knowledgeable about all the different Irish dance strands and their contexts.

Anne Hollet: An active Newfoundland stepper with interest and enthusiasm.

Kimberley Fraser: a young Cape Breton from Sydney Mines. Fiddler and dancer and piano player steeped in the local tradition.

Mats Melin:

Toby Bennet:

Chris Metherell:

Hazel Metherell:

Chris the technical whizz from Sydney University.

We debated similarities between different traditions and the transmission of steps. Various dancers taught a few steps to demonstrate key features. It was very interesting. I was particularly surprised at the Orkney step dancing being very popular with the Inuit communities in arctic provinces, brought over by early whalers! They were very surprised how few Brits step danced. In Canada everyone steps a bit in the social dances, and it is popular to do stepping as well.

Pierre has set up a google discussion group for us to share links and ideas.

Instep and Friends at Sidmouth 2014

Once again Instep Research Team is organising a series of workshops, talks and sessions at Sidmouth Folk Week.

This year we’ll also be launching the new website.

Download a pdf version of this schedule

Sidmouth C of E Primary School Classroom
PLAYING FOR STEP DANCING Katie Howson covers general principles for musicians wanting to play for step dancing including repertoire, style, etiquette and relationship with dancers, informed by her experiences of playing for step dancers in East Anglia and beyond.
Blackmore Gardens Marquee
STEPPING IN SOCIAL DANCE Traditional social dances involving stepping, from around the UK taught by Chris Metherell of the Instep Research Team. Dances and steps collected from the oral tradition will be used as a basis for participants to use step material to enhance their social dance experiences. Open to all. Hard shoes (not rubber soles) are best.
Blackmore Gardens Marquee
SOUTHERN STEPPING WORKSHOP Informal step dancing, based on Southern English styles, led by Jo and Simon Harmer and Janet Keet-Black, with Jigfoot. Stepping to different rhythms, in simple social dances. Open to all. Hard-soled shoes. Linked to Instep workshops and Steppin’ Time sessions.
Arts Centre
INSTEP RESEARCH TEAM WEBSITE LAUNCH The Instep Research Team has been collecting clog and step dance related material since 1980, and has recently decided to make the entire collection of published and manuscript material, together with photographs and many hours of video available free on the Internet. The demonstration of the resource will be accompanied by a presentation on the work of the team and its plans to make available further collections.
Rugby Club
THE RUGBY CLUB SESSIONS – “Steppin’ Time” A chance for steppers of any persuasion to get together and dance informally as individuals and in social dances. Musicians interested in playing for stepping welcome. Open to all, especially step dancers and interested musicians. Not regional. Clogs, taps and shoes welcome.
Blackmore Gardens Marquee
CLOG STEP WORKSHOP “Breaking from routine” Toby Bennett and Simon Harmer of the Instep Research Team will be encouraging dancers to free up their clog step vocabulary to develop skills and confidence in dancing freestyle for example in sessions and in social dances such as reels. Intermediate and above, wear clogs.
Blackmore Gardens Marquee
DARTMOOR STEPPING WORKSHOP Matt Norman and Chris Metherell come together to teach steps from Dartmoor reflecting current styles and steps collected from older dancers.
Arts Centre
PRESENTATION: SOCIAL STEP DANCING “Encouraging and promoting social step dancing in East Anglia and along the South Coast.” An illustrated presentation through which Katie and John Howson of the EATMT and Simon Harmer describe their experiences of supporting, researching and re-invigorating step dancing in their areas.
Rugby Club
THE RUGBY CLUB SESSIONS – “Steppin’ Time” A second chance for steppers of any persuasion to get together and dance informally as individuals and in social dances. All musicians interested in playing for step dancers welcome. Open to all, especially step dancers and interested musicians. Not regional. Clogs, taps and shoes welcome.
Sidmouth C of E Primary School Hall
REELING: THE CORNISH PICTURE with Carmen Hunt in association with the Instep Research Team. An exploration into the world of reeling in Cornish step and social dance. From the 3 Hand Reel to Reels in Furry dances.