Clog dancer and dancing mistress from Accrington, Lancashire. Born 1911 Veronica Dermody, married Thomas Ryan July 1952. Died 1985.
Veronica Ryan learned from a number of other local dancers including Mollie Chappell (in about 1918), Jim Parkinson, Walter Kennedy, Tom Hayter, Jimmy Cosgrove and Lizzie Donaldson.
Although she stopped dancing in about 1928, she opened her own dance class in Accrington in 1940 teaching clog, stage and tap dancing. She organised local concerts and her troupe (or some of them) were known as the “Happy Steppers”. She appears to have stopped teaching in about 1950.
She knew steps which she called “Buck and Wing Steps” as well as steps in waltz, schottische and hornpipe rhythms.
in 1959 she met Julian Pilling, resulting in the collection and publication of some of her material in Pilling, J., “Buck and Wing”, ED&S, XXIII, 1, (1959), 25-7 and later several further steps in Pilling, J., “The Lancashire Clog Dance”, Folk Music Journal, 1.3, 158-179. These are available in Newcastle Notation format here.
Julian Pilling was filmed dancing the “Buck and Wing” steps he had collected by Roy Dommett on Sunday 6th September 1964 at the Durham Ring Meeting, run by the Morris Ring. The dance was filmed without music, but serves to resolve many of the issues with the published notations.
Veronica Ryan’s Buck and Wing steps have been published in: C. Metherell, Veronica Ryan. The Buck and Wing Steps, Newcastle: Newcastle Series, (2009).
Information derived from J. Pilling, “Buck and Wing”, ED&S, XXIII, 1, (1959), 25-7 and Pilling, J., “The Lancashire Clog Dance”, Folk Music Journal, 1.3, 158-179, interviews with Theresa Hindle 15-16/2/1986, 15/1/1994 and 3/1/1996, and notes of interviews with Veronica Ryan by Madelaine Smith in 1983.