Just one more day to go until DE2017, online tickets finish 12 noon Saturday. See you there!

This is the calm before the storm. Arwen has her checklists, Edwin is driving up from South Wales, and Phil is in a diabetic coma from eating all the Hobnobs. 

This time tomorrow we’ll be an hour in to the Dancing England reboot. Thank you if you’ve supported us and/or bought a ticket. There’s a few left for purchase online but as of 12 noon tomorrow it’ll be pay on the door. Slightly more, so save a few quid by getting yours HERE

Looking forward to seeing some familiar faces, some new ones, and plenty of damn fine dancing from the likes of the Newcastle Kingsmen, Two Step, Fools Gambit, Severn Gilders, Horwich Prize Medal, Toby Bennett, Out of Hand Jig Team, Star and Shadow, Bampton Traditional, Seven Champions, Redcar Longsword, Platt Bridge Morris, and more. 

Doors open at 5:30, the bar will be open serving excellent real ale (and other assorted beverages), programmes and posters will be on sale in the bar, and for your perusal there will be several exhibitions of various things folky and dancetastic. We will be supporting the Doc Rowe Archive and Collections with our raffle, some lovely prizes up for grabs. 

The show will finish around 9:30, then  afterwards we’ll be treated to the Will Pound Ceilidh Band with Fee Lock and for those of a session disposition, Ed Johnson will be leading a French Bal in the main room. 

All in all, sounds like a cracking show. See you there!


2 days to go until Dancing England gets rebooted. 25 tickets left. Plus ceilidh details too.

We know, that’s come round quick. Edwin is now mainlining the caffeine, and Phil has moved onto the milk chocolate Hobnobs. Very dangerous times. But the programmes have arrived and so have the wristbands, we’re sure you’ll be pleased to hear.

25There are now just 25 tickets left for this event, please click to the Tickets Page to ensure you don’t miss out. £18 full price and £13 for concessions, please do be honest when buying your tickets. The email you receive from PayPal will be your ticket, so do print it off when you come along. It’ll be great to see you.

NB – we’ll be putting up the price for door entry to £20 and £15 on the night.

After all the teams have danced, it’ll be your turn. And we have a cracking ceilidh band for you; the Will Pound Ceilidh Band. Fronted by our very talented eponymous hero, he’ll be joined by the equally skilled Rosie Butler-Hall, Dan Bones, Nick Hayes and last, but by no means least; Manny Grimsley. The legendary caller that is Fee Lock will be guiding you through the dances and ensuring you have a bloody good time.


from www.licencetoceildih.co.uk

Meanwhile over in the main Ballroom, a chap by the name of Ed Johnson will be leading a French Bal session. There will be calls of Bouree, Polka, and Waltz. Basically whatever you fancy. There’ll be sessions in the bar too, as long as people bring their instruments! That’s a not so subtle hint BTW.

2 days to go, can’t wait until Saturday. Unless you’re a Patron, your entry time is 5:30pm. The dancing will be done by 9:30, then it’s ceilidh time!

Four days and just 35 tickets left for Dancing England 2017. Plus some news on Doc Rowe.

Rev. Ken Loveless

image taken by Doc Rowe

Afternoon all.

Yes, just four more days to go until Dancing England rises again. It’s a bit full on at the moment as you can imagine, with the coffee percolator on constantly and Phil’s in charge of the regular runs to the corner shop for Hobnobs.

It’s looking like standing room only soon, we’ve just 35 tickets left for the show. It would be awesome if we could sell out, really would. And then we can see about a Dancing England 2018. Your link to tickets is JUST HERE.

That fine upstanding gentleman, Doc Rowe, has just come up trumps with a suite of evocative images from the original Dancing England run 1979 to 1987. They’ve been posted on our Facebook Page, please do go and visit. Some favourites are on there; Rev. Ken Loveless smoking a pipe, the Straw Bear, The Dancing Butchers of Nottingham, Eynsham, Silurian, and lots more.

Doc Rowe

from his Facebook page

We’re also supporting the Doc Rowe Archive and Collection at Dancing England as we’re splitting our raffle with them. Since the sixties, Doc Rowe has been recording and filming cultural tradition and vernacular arts, folklore, song and dance of Britain and Ireland.

There’s a campaign afoot to raise funds to enable the Collection to raise it’s profile and demonstrate how vital a resource it is for our understanding of our cultural heritage and identity.

See you on Saturday!

Just over a week to go until DE 2017, here’s Redcar Longsword and the Out of Hand Jig Team

It’s the 10th February today, and the event is the 18th. Meaning just over a week to go until Dancing England rides again. We’ve just taken delivery of the signed and numbered limited edition posters, designed courtesy of Natalie Reid, you can order yours for pick up at the event or via 2nd class postage. The posters can be viewed and purchased HERE.

There are about 50 or so tickets left, so click HERE if you haven’t got yours yet. It would be great to see you.

Redcar Sword Dancers

from their website

We have some more longsword for you from the boys of the Redcar Sword Dancers. The team was formed in 1967 with the express purpose of reviving the Greatham Sword Dance and Play and performing it in Greatham on Boxing Day of that year and have continued to do so for every year since.

The Greatham longsword dance is a rare survival in County Durham and is also unique in being the only longsword dance still being performed with its play or ‘words’ as the old teams used to say. Their website for further information is HERE.

Out of Hand Jig Team

unsure who took this pic

Younger in age, but no less talented are the chaps from the Out of Hand Jig Team. Winners of the John Gasson Double Jig Competition in Sidmouth 2014, Richard, Chris and Stuart have continued to practice and perform their Knuckledown ever since.

All three are alumni of NYFTE (The National Youth Folklore Troupe of England) and have gone on to dance with such teams as Hammersmith Morris and Northgate and Birmingham Rapper teams.


Stallholders at Dancing England 2017 include morris paraphenalia, music, instruments, clogs, and crafts

Our Dancing England 2017 stallholders

In the side room are some stalls for you to browse and hopefully support with a purchase or two. We welcome the following to Dancing England 2017. Please do support them by browsing and buying.

The One Stop Morris Shop

One Stop Morris ShopBy dancers, for dancers, welcome to the One Stop Morris Shop. They provide resources and accessories for all your morris and sword dancing needs. From the shoes on your feet to the hankies in your hands, they have it all.


PJ Music

An experienced singer and MC, Pete supplies the finest musical instruments, tune and song books, along with skills in instrument repairs and tuning. Melodeons and accordions a specialty.


Barleycorn Concertinas

Barleycorn ConcertinasBarleycorn Concertinas began in 1972. From that day onwards, thousands of instruments have reached the hands of players from this company and we boast some of the greatest exponents of the instrument among our customers.



The Morris Shop

The Morris ShopRun by Stony Stepper and Moulton man Shaun, the Morris Shop sells all and anything Morris related, from bells and hankies to books and DVDs.


Phil Howard – Clogs and Leatherwork

Phil Howard clogsFull time clogmaker Phil Howard is based in Stockport and started leatherworking in 1982.

Phil’s clogs feature seasoned sycamore soles and vegetable tanned leather, and are works of art in themselves!


Hugh McMahon and Denise Bass

Hugh brings leaded glass insects, spiders and their webs in the form of free-standing sculptural objects and jewellery created by himself, a stained glass window maker. Denise has worked as a batik artist for many years, making pictures and beautiful scarves with floral and aquatic themes.



Do come along and support these people and buy their finest goods and services. All images taken from their own websites.


An important statement about Dancing England 2017.

Sheffield City Hall


Several people have commented recently about a lack of Sheffield traditional dance teams appearing at the revived Dancing England 2017.

We thought that we would respond properly and address this point at length. We know those DE veterans from the original run remember why and how the event was conceived, and also how it was put together.

You can read the document – A DE Statement.docx It’s a PDF so you might need Adobe Reader or similar.

We hope this helps address the comments that we’ve come across.

Really looking forward to the event on the 18th, not long now. As ever, tickets are purchasable online HERE

Edwin, Phil, and Arwen


Appearing at #DE2017, the Bampton Traditional Morris Men and Seven Champions Molly. 20 more tickets sold over the weekend!

Onwards and upwards, well through the roster of committed acts for Dancing England 2017 anyways!

Appearing at the very first Dancing England in 1979 and with a repeat appearance in 1983, are the claimants of 600 years of morris dancing history; Bampton Traditional Morris Men.

Bampton Traditional Morris Men

Bampton (their website)

Claims have often been made that the performance of Morris dancing in Bampton at anything up to six hundred years. While this may actually be true, there is simply no evidence to support such a claim. The first written reference discovered (so far, at least) occurs as late as 1847, although that source clearly indicates that the performances by the dancers were a regular annual feature of Bampton life at that date.

Further evidence, less precise but none the less convincing, can be teased from the names of men known to be dancers. Two of these were born in the 1770’s, and given that men typically joined the dance set when aged about eighteen or twenty, it seems logical to assume that there had been Morris performances in Bampton during the 1790’s. To read more of their history, please click to their WEBSITE.

Moving steadily eastwards to the Fens of Norfolk via Kent, we introduce to you; Seven Champions Molly. Veterans of Dancing England 1986 and world renowned treacle miners

Seven Champions Molly

Seven Champions Molly (their website)

Formed in 1977 with the ambitious but slightly vague aim of “being the best Morris dance side in the country”, the Seven Champions started life with the Mummers Play that gave them their name and a rough reel dance. This was followed by extensive research into what was known about Molly dancing – at that point a highly obscure (and as far as they knew at the time) undanced tradition hailing from the Fens and danced in Winter by out of work ploughboys.

It quickly became clear that there were a lot of gaps in the knowledge of what Molly dancing was and that gave the Champions a golden opportunity to reinvent, imagine and create the best possible combination of tradition and street entertainment. Again, above text shamelessly purloined from their website, click HERE to carry on reading.

And finally, another 20 tickets sold over the weekend, do make haste if you want to come along! Tickets are online purchases and are available HERE.

Two more teams for Dancing England, plus just 150 tickets left. Missing out equals a sad face.

Over the weekend the ticket sales for Dancing England galloped over the 2/3rds line, leaving about 150 left to buy. We really don’t want you to miss out, so please visit the Tickets page to buy yours. Remember that you won’t get a ticket through the post, just print off and bring along the PayPal email receipt. that will get you in.

Horwich, from their Facebook page

The next time to whet the appetite is of the North West persuasion, we are very pleased indeed to welcome Horwich Prize Medal Morris Men to Dancing England.

This team of chaps in clogs graced the stage at Dancing England in 1981, along with that well-known traditional dance; the Artichoke Pipe Dance.

Founded in 1891, the team was first trained by Mr. Harry Barlow and made their debut at the 1892 Rose Festival. In 1893 they won a major competition in Rochdale winning the princely sum of 2 guineas. A currency Mr. Vincent Rutland remembers well, him being so old and all that. I digress, as in 1906 at the Sowerby Bridge Rushcart, Horwich were described as “World Champions”. A feat much to be admired, although sadly no cups or medals will be awarded at Dancing England.

Much more information on Horwich can be found on their website, do take a look.

Toby Bennett

Toby Bennett from his website

Crossing codes now, but still with a wooden soled footwear theme, we would like to introduce to you a Mr Toby Bennett. Toby is a dancer and dance teacher specialising in traditional step dance, particularly the rich traditions of English step clog. His dancing combines energy, attack and speed with lightness and fluidity – he has performed and taught widely including Europe, Egypt and the USA.

He is a previous winner of SCID (Stepping Contest In Derby) in 1987 and remembers the original run of dancing England.

Until next time folks, with another couple of acts on our rosta!


It’s poster unveiling time, over half way on tickets, plus details on another one of your DE 2017 teams

Natalie, our most creative sort, has been locked away in the cupboard under her stairs with a selection of quills and some scratchy ink pens. She has created for us a most amazing updated poster for Dancing England 2017. You can see this below in all it’s glory, A2 versions numbered and signed by the artist herself will be available for sale through the website and at the event.

Tickets news now, we are well over half way full, there are only 175 tickets left for the reboot of Dancing England. We know you’ve been waiting 30 years for Phil to pull his finger out, and you’re thinking of missing the opportunity? Not bloody likely – click this link and get your tickets whilst you can. http://www.dancingengland.co.uk/tickets/

Fools Gambit Somme

photo by Charlotte Dover

Fools Gambit Morris is an energetic and young Cotswold morris team that aims to amaze and impress with their dancing. Dancing mainly in the Fieldtown and Raglan traditions, they enjoy dancing at many events far and wide. Founded in 2010, they’ve had a busy few years, having been invited to the Shrewsbury, Sidmouth, Whitby, Warwick and Bromyard folk festivals, as well as attending many excellent morris weekends of dance.

They were recently involved in the Banks of Green Willow, a project commemorating the centenary of the Battle of the Somme. You can read more about it here.


DE 2017 poster

poster design by Natalie Rae Reid

There’s rapper from High Spen Blue Diamonds, plus Star and Shadow. Plus special guests.

It wouldn’t be a traditional dance event without a performance or two from practitioners of the bendy sword. We’ve two rapper teams on the programme, representing both Tradition and Revival.

High Spen Blue Diamonds

HSBD facebook page

First up are the boys from the village of High Spen in County Durham. Founded in 1926 (the year of the General Strike), the High Spen Blue Diamonds are the only remaining traditional rapper sword dancing team in the world.

They now practice at the Barley Mow Community Centre in Birtley, on Tuesdays from 7:30pm until 9:00pm if anyone’s interested. Ahem.

Star and Shadow

from rapper.org.uk

Representing more of a Revival era are those canny lasses from Newcastle; Star and Shadow. A most excellent women’s team that won the modern DERT competition in 2013 and 2014. Founded in 2007, Star and Shadow also sing songs, like this one; “Five lasses in a gin-mill in Newcastle town. A gin-mill with a dance in, and nice turquoise pants in”. If you ask them nicely, and buy them a gin, they’ll finish the song for you.

There’s a vague rumour about a special rapper performance on the night too. Whether it comes from TeesHyde Steel or some other team, we couldn’t possibly say. No more on that one until the night itself. Unless I change my mind of course.

Until next time.