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a year in review

Monday 27th November 2023

LEIGH CALEDONIAN DANCERS whizzed through 6 dances in 50 minutes, starting with AUCHINELLAN JIG (devised by Alice McLean)

Sunday 19th November 2023

DANBURY DANCERS maintained the longways double diamond shape throughout BUTTONHOLES (from sibby’s CLUB SANDWICH collection)


Saturday 18th November 2023

DREAM CATCHER (square set dance devised by eileen orr) kept the dancers safe at the ST ANDREWS dance in westcliff

Thursday 16th November 2023

At TOUCHSTONE FDC, the commemoration evening for Pat Shaw (who died on this date in 1977) began with LONG POND - from the PINEWOODS collection.


Tuesday 14th November 2023

 INDIAN QUEEN - one of the Chirpers’ core dances for this season, began the session at CHELMSFORD FOLK DANCERS


Monday 13th November 2023

LEIGH CALEDONIAN began this evening’s dancing in Canada - well, in New Brunswick - well, at CURRIE MOUNTAIN (a dance devised by Mary Pugh from that region)


Saturday 4th November 2023

HADLEIGH BOWLS CLUB went on a terpsichorean journey that included LEAVING OF LIVERPOOL (a three-couple dance to a popular tune)


Wednesday 1st November 2023

After hallowe’en comes All Saints’ Day, so many canonised persons were included in the GRAND CEILIDH CLUB programme, including ST EDITH’S SQUARE (devised by anne skinner). Music was supplied by USUAL SUSPECTS.


Tuesday 31st October 2023

The Hallowe’en Special expelled evil spirits with help from Godric GRYFFINDOR (a longways dance from sibby’s HOGWARTS’ ASSEMBLY collection)


Monday 30th October 2023

FAREWELL TO BALFOUR ROAD was the greeting at LEIGH CALEDONIAN. It’s a 5-couple dance in canon style, devised by Andrew Buxton of Brighton

Sunday 29th October 2023

More torrential rain – en route to reach Great Bromley for the TOUCHSTONE FDC AUTUMN FOLK DANCE. The weather was no deterrent (one car load was held up for 50 minutes in Chelmsford) and all were keen to TAKE A DANCE (the first item on the programme, taken from Thompson 1765)


Saturday 28th October 2023

RUNWELL VILLAGE HALL was packed for an event raising funds for the SPOTLIGHT RADIOTHERAPY APPEAL. The floor was filled with enthusiastic dancers from beginning to end enjoying great music from the MANOR HOOSE CEILIDH BAND. The varied programme included sibby originals and some old favourites (such as BLAYDON RACES. Nobody cared about the torrential rain - until we had to pack everything away at the end!


Wednesday 18th October 2023

The caller booked at GRAND CEILIDH CLUB was unable to attend, so Sibby & Anne came to the rescue. The keyboard player of TONIC was also unable to attend, so we renamed the band the TONIC TRIAD. The dances included THREAD THE NEEDLE SQUARE


Monday 16th October 2023

THE OLD MAN OF STORR appeared at LEIGH CALEDONIAN. It’s not a person; it’s a dance (devised by roy goldring) inspired by a 50-metre tall pinnacle of rock on the isle of skye.


Sunday 15th October 2023

On the 142nd anniversary of the birth of P.G.Woodhouse, WILBERFORCE (from the BOX SET collection) was sibby’s first contribution to this month’s DANBURY DANCING meeting. [Wilberforce was the middle name of Bertie Wooster, one of PGW’s literary creations; sibby’s dance is for 3 couples with the middle couple active]


Tuesday10th October 2023                               

BARRY’S BOUTADE was a popular choice at CHELMSFORD FOLK DANCERS. It’s a 3-couple dance from sibby’s KEMPONOLOGY collection and refers to Barry Kemp, sadly missed.


Monday 2nd October 2023                             

LEIGH CALEDONIAN began learning the dances for an upcoming St Andrews Night (when a committee has chosen an item from every decade since the rscds was founded; but why choose FLOWERS OF EDINBURGH from book 1 published 1924? It has an intensity of 30, so every person spends nearly 70% of the time standing still!)


Saturday 30th September 2023                         

Another great evening with SINGLES CONNECTION at SHOTGATE included the yorkshire dance BUTTERED PEAS.

Wednesday 27th September 2023                    

GRAND CEILIDH CLUB with TAILOR’S TWIST: Great evening; great music; great atmosphere - and they loved ASH-BOUGHS (from sibby’s INSCAPE collection) so much they demanded to dance it twice. It includes an unusual variant on strip-the-willow.


Monday 18th September 2023

SCOTT MEIKLE was one of the dancers who performed before Queen Elizabeth in Edinburgh. Alice McLean devised a four-couple longwise reel dance in his name, LEIGH CALEDONIAN SCOTTISH DANCERS included it in tonight's programme.

Sunday 17th September 2023

1st DANBURY DANCING session was a great success. Dancers were introduced to interesting moves including mini-boxes, sheepskin heys and a turning progression in FENTERLARICK.  Next session booked for 15th Ocober.

Wednesday 13th September 2023

RAT ON A STICK provided the music for the programme at GRAND CEILIDH CLUB - beginning with BROKEN SIXPENCE (a contra dance devised by don armstrong)

Tuesday 12th September 2023

On the 61st anniversary of JFK’s “we choose to go to the moon” speech, CHELMSFORD FOLK DANCERS included a terpsichorean visit to THE EMPEROR OF THE MOON (andrew shaw’s adaptation of a dance first published by henry playford in 1690)

Monday 11th September 2023

LEIGH CALEDONIAN SCOTTISH DANCERS began tonight’s terpsichorean travels in canada - with the CAPE BRETON HORNPIPE (4-couple longwise dance devised by charlie inglis of ottawa)

Monday 4th September 2023

LEIGH CALEDONIAN SCOTTISH DANCERS returned after their summer break and immediately embarked on A TRIP TO BAVARIA (a 4-couple dance devised by james macgregor brown)


Saturday 2nd September 2023

CONTRADITIONAL had great fun playing SWEDISH MASQUERADE with extended hesitations on the opening chord of every turn. The gathering at Colne Valley Golf Club (celebrating a golden wedding) danced with panache.

Wednesday 30th August 2023

CONTRADITIONAL made a welcome return to GRAND CEILIDH CLUB and provided excellent music for BRIDGE OF ATHLONE (featured in sibby’s BARN DANCE collection)

Saturday 12th August 2023

It’s not far to BURNHAM CONSTITUTIONAL CLUB as the crow flies; but it’s twice as long on twisty roads. But not so far as it would be if LEAVING OF LIVERPOOL - a 3-couple dance that featured in the dance in the marquee on a warm evening.

Friday 11th August 2023

Anne’s flute concert at ST JOHN’S BANBURY took a packed audience on a tersichorean journey from the 16th century to strictly come dancing. The session opened appropriately with Irving Berlin’s LET’S FACE THE MUSIC & DANCE


Tuesday 8th August 2023

The weather keeps changing: hot day, chilly day, hot day, chilly day. But the CHELMSFORD FOLK DANCERS turn up regularly. This evening, ADAM’S APPLE was on the menu (it’s a contra dance by john coffman)

Saturday 5th August 2023

The gathering at Swanley danced and giggled through STOKE GOLDING COUNTRY DANCE, with the onlookers equally entertained by the exuberant variations on ‘stripping the willow’. Next year’s event is already booked.

Monday 31st July 2023

Another great “hoedown” with CREEKSIDE CEILIDH BAND at the Essex Yacht Club with the cadets charging through I WANT TO BE NEAR YOU.


Saturday 29th July 2023

Jo & Matt’s wedding dance at WITHAM PUBLIC HALL began with a ceilidh, and the ceilidh began with HAPPY CLAPPER. The floor was packed and the atmosphere full of exuberance.

Wednesday 26th July 2023

Gender neutral calling was essential at the grand ceilidh club for SUPERGRAN SQUARE (devised by peggy hazell); an augmented TAILOR’S TWIST provided excellent music; the heavy rain provided a tiny puddle near the centre of the dance floor!

Thursday 20th July 2023

DIXIELAND SAINTS (three-couple set dance from the ASC collection - excuse the tautology!) featured in the programme for TOUCHSTONE FDC party night.

Saturday 15th July 2023

The annual gathering at Little Wycke Farm was blessed with sunny weather, SILVER KEY BARN DANCE BAND and a lively gallop in VIRGINIA REEL.

Tuesday 4th July 2023

Despite inclement weather, a record attendance flooded (excuse the pun!) to the AUSTENTATIOUS SPECIAL at MARKS TEY FDC. The programme of dances included CHILDGROVE - a longways dance first published by Henry Playford 1701.

Monday 26th June 2023

Calling again at LEIGH CALEDONIAN - substituting for the Treasurer (weary from a 5-hour drive from the Welsh border); RUTLAND REEL (devised by Robert Senior) had the dancers in chains, ladies first, then the men.

Sunday 25th June 2023

ELEANOR RIGBY began the session by DANBURY FLUTES at St John The Baptist Church in Danbury - a programme ranging from Beatles to Baroque plus show tunes, a car horn and duck!

Wednesday 21st June 2023

DOMINO FIVE (a dance devised by derek haynes) requires just five dancers - gender neutral - and at GRAND CEILIDH CLUB there were many sets in place.  RAT ON A STICK provided the musical reel

Monday 19th June 2023

On another hot evening, the GOLDEN EAGLE swooped down at LEIGH CALEDONIAN (it’s a dance devised by Jill Andrews from Edinburgh)

Tuesday 13th June 2023

On a hot evening, CHELMSFORD FOLK DANCERS enjoyed a trip to KEW GARDENS (from sibby’s GALLIMAUFRY collection)

Monday 5th June 2023

The programme at LEIGH CALEDONIAN began with Jimmy Cosh’s famous dance MAIRI’S WEDDING.

Tuesday 30th May 2023


Anne’s special AUSTENTATIOUS EVENING at CHELMSFORD FOLK DANCERS was a great success - right from the start with the playford dance: AURETTI’S DUTCH SKIPPER

24th May 2023

Dancers at the GRAND CEILIDH CLUB celebrated the birth (in 1819) of Princess Alexandrina with the orcadian QUEEN VICTORIA COUNTRY DANCE.  TAILORS TWIST provided the musical accompaniment

Saturday 20th May 2023

BARLEYLANDS (from the SAUSAGE CASSEROLE collection) featured in the programme at STAMBRIDGE MEMORIAL HALL




Wednesday 22nd November 2023

GRAND CEILIDH CLUB welcomed visitors from Lithuania, paid tribute to Stewart Webster (with TRIP TO BAVARIA - one of his favourites) and to the birthday (in 1859) of Cecil Sharp. AND Sibby won a raffle prize!

Tuesday 28th November 2023

An urgent call to stand in for the poorly Sue Last at CHELMSFORD FOLK DANCERS - our "last" performance (!) included the premiere of TROTTERNISH REEL - Anne's adaptation of Roy Goldring's "Old Man Of Storr"

Friday 1st December 2023

Three hour drive to Woodbridge, thanks to a broken-down lorry and the closure of Orwell Bridge! Luckily, I left home early and was only 10 minutes late to begin the Dance Folkus ceilidh with HAPPY CLAPPER. HARBOUR LIGHTS band played several Christmas songs and the STRUMPETS performed in the interval. The bridge was open for the 50-minute drive home.

Monday 4th December 2023

Anne’s AUSTENTATIOUS programme was (again) a great success, this time for the Colchester Historical Society. The event attracted some newcomers, including two young lads who were proficient at Irish Dancing (we did wonder if they would be confused by the call “Arm Right”!)

Monday 11th December 2023

LEIGH CALEDONIAN DANCERS enjoyed the ever-popular TRIP TO BAVARIA (a four-couple set devised by james macgregor brown)

Wednesday 13th December 2023

GRAND CEILIDH CLUB enjoyed “a brilliant Christmas themed evening” with music from CONTRADITIONAL and lots of seasonal dances including sibby’s LE NOEL PREMIER. The interval featured a performance of which it was written “the chocolate moment is the best”

Tuesday 19th December 2023

More merriment at the CHELMSFORD FOLK DANCERS christmas party: there was LAUGHING ALL THE WAY right from the start with Anne’s take on Jingle Bells.

Thursday 21st December 2023

At the TOUCHSTONE FDC christmas party, the dancers were delighted to perform the premiere of Anne’s LITTLE ANGEL - to the music of “Noel Suisse”

Sunday 31st December 2023

Despite atrocious weather AND delays following a serious accident that closed the A12 in both directions, a goodly crowd reached widford for the CHELMSFORD FOLK DANCERS new year’s eve event. They were rewarded with a varied programme that included a DOUBLE LEVI JACKSON RAG, an american supper, raffle and a quiz (won, as is so often the case, by Anne!)

Wednesday 3rd January 2024

The GRAND CEILIDH CLUB 46th birthday party was celebrated with TAILOR’S TWIST, COCKLESHELL CLOG, buffet, raffle, and a varied programme of dances ending with the obligatory CIRCASSIAN CIRCLE


Monday 8th January 2024

In preparation for the forthcoming Burns Night event, LEIGH CALEDONIAN included BURNS BICENTENARY STRATHSPEY in tonight’s programme. This is a four-couple longwise set devised by John Drewry.

Tuesday 9th January 2024

CHELMSFORD FOLK DANCERS enjoyed a terpsichorean trip to DANBURY PALACE - a 5-couple circle dance devised by keith wright to a tune composed and played by anne (from the HAREWOOD COLLECTION)

Sunday 21st January 2024

Storm Isha blew and blew but DANBURY DANCING proceeded. Lyn & Tony asked to learn a shetland reel, so we began with Pat Shaw’s BUZZARDS BAY


Wednesday 24th January 2024

On the eve of Burns’ Night, DASHING WHITE SERGEANT (attributed to David Anderson) started the evening at southend’s GRAND CEILIDH CLUB  

Monday 29th January 2024

 LEIGH CALEDONIAN began their Burns Night celebration in Ayrshire (where Robbie Burns was born in 1759) - with Roy Goldring’s AYR PROMENADE

Tuesday 30th January 2024

MISTWOLD was the opening item at CHELMSFORD FOLK DANCERS. It’s a longways duple minor dance devised by David Newitt to a tune by Dudley Laufman

Thursday 1st February 2024

Another great AUSTENTATIOUS evening, this time for TOUCHSTONE FDC. The programme included HAPPY CAPTIVE, a 3-couple set first published by Thompson in 1777

Saturday 3rd February 2024

A small diversion en route to the PELDON FLING caused no delay. Awaiting us were a large gathering, a piper, ode to the haggis, delicious food & enthusiastic dancers. A new 4-couple longwise dance (from sibby’s ASC collection) - PELDON FLING - was performed with gusto.

Monday 5th February 2024

LEIGH CALEDONIAN added LUBINA SOL to their repertoire. However, we did adapt it slightly to improve the flow.

Tuesday 6th February 2024

Heavy rain but little traffic on A12 so an easy drive to MARKS TEY FDC. The hall was packed and even a new couple coped with the half-pothooks figure in RUNSELL GREEN (from sibby’s Harewood Haze collection). The journey home was less enjoyable, with a diversion because of repairs to A12 following yesterday’s collision with a bridge (one lorry driver in much trouble)

Tuesday 13th February 2024

PANCAKE DAY (contra dance devised by sarah kaiser) featured in the programme at CHELMSFORD FOLK DANCERS

Wednesday 14th February 2024

Valentine’s dance at GRAND CEILIDH CLUB included Pat Shaw’s LA RONDE DE L’AMOUR - a tune composed by Oscar Strauss and played beautifully by CONTRADITIONAL

Sunday 18th February 2024

MARY K (devised by Gary Roodman) began the DANBURY DANCING session in great style, with petit fours abundant

Monday 26th February 2024

LEIGH CALEDONIAN did remarkably well to perform THRUMS CAIRN - a challenging dance devised by former Bletchley code-breaker Hugh Foss

Wednesday 28th February 2024

The dancers at the GRAND CEILIDH CLUB enjoyed a terpsichorean visit to KEW GARDENS (from sibby’s GALLIMAUFRY collection) to the music of TAILOR’S TWIST

Tuesday 12th March 2024

Anne delighted CHELMSFORD FOLK DANCERS when playing her original tune on the flute for sibby’s  MIDNIGHT HAZE from the HAREWOOD HAZE collection

Sunday 17th March 2024

FAIR & SOFTLY - that’s how DANBURY DANCING began this afternoon.

Monday 18th March 2024

LEIGH CALEDONIAN DANCES greeted an EARLY SPRING (a strathspey for three couples longwise devised by Isobel Neves from portugal). We also greeted - hungrily - Scottish Empire biscuits baked by Rob Shankland.

Wednesday 20th March 2024

The vernal equinox programme with CONTRADITIONAL at GRAND CEILIDH CLUB included Anne’s new “indecent” dance called EAST STREET WALTZ from the tautological ASC collection. Gill said “Wow !!” and Vaughan was agog with excitement.

Saturday 23rd March 2024

MISTWOLD started the evening at CHINGFORD FDC, with Chris Carpenter playing Dudley Laufman’s tune. The dance was devised by David Newitt from San Francisco as longways duple proper (but we made it improper)

Monday 25th March 2024

There was JOIE DE VIVRE at LEIGH CALEDONIAN - a dance devised by Irene Van Maarseveen from pretoria, south africa

Tuesday 2nd April 2024

Anne’s AUSTENTATIOUS programme received many plaudits at CHINGFORD FDC. The evening began a day late (!) with FIRST OF APRIL

Wednesday 3rd April 2024

Descendants of an ancient Celtic culture (suppressed by Roman emperors in the first century) were evident at the start of the GRAND CEILIDH CLUB programme - DRUID’S CIRCLE devised by peggy hazell

Thursday 4th April 2024

Another delayed journey on the A12 - when will these roadworks finish?! Fortunately, we left early so arrived at TOUCHSTONE FDC with time to spare. The special evening of Gary Roodman dances went extremely well, especially JOHNSON CITY CIRCLE (for 5 couples)

Tuesday 9th April 2024

With many members away on a terpsichorean holiday, the select gathering at CHELMSFORD FOLK DANCERS enjoyed some special challenges, including THE INVITATION (square dance devised by gary roodman)

Wednesday 17th April 2024

A surprise interval at GRAND CEILIDH CLUB: Tailor’s Twist played Ashokan Farewell while Anne & Sibby danced a sequence medley - WALTZ CATHERINE, WHITE CITY WALTZ & EMMERDALE WALTZ.

Sunday 21st April 2024

RUNSELL GREEN (4 couple dance from sibby’s Harewood Haze collection) went down well at DANBURY DANCING. The half-pothooks figure provided amusement and interest.


Monday 22nd April 2024

In an ambitious programme for LEIGH CALEDONIAN, Anne managed to get through ST ANDREW’S OF BRAMPTON (a four-couple longwise set devised by Ann Campbell from Brampton, Ontario)

Saturday 27th April 2024

Return trip to Stambridge for a fundraiser in aid of Orang-Utans in Borneo: the barn dance programme included a line dance - ACHY BREAKY.

Monday 29th April 2024

LEIGH CALEDONIAN DANCERS enjoyed the old viking reference in MEOLS REEL (a triple minor dance devised by David Haynes)

Tuesday 30th April 2024

The RAKES OF ROCHESTER (rutherford version) rushed to resume the fun at CHELMSFORD FOLK DANCERS

Friday 3rd May 2024

Sibby’s farewell performance at DANCE FOLKUS began with an american version of an english version of an irish dance: VIRGINIA REEL

Tuesday 14th May 2024

John Adson was an english composer in 16th/17th century. One of his compositions was used by GARY ROODMAN for the longways dance MR ADSON’S MASQUE. It was one of the many selections for the Gary Roodman evening at Chelmsford Folk Dancers.

Wednesday 15th May 2024

The GRAND CEILIDH CLUB session with CONTRADITIONAL began at 1730 - not the time, but the year when Walpole became Britain’s first Prime Minister, and so the first dance was LADY WALPOLE’S REEL.

Sunday 19th May 2024

WHAT FOUR? - square dance devised by wisconsin caller Carol Ormand began the session at DANBURY DANCING.














































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