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At the heart of English folk

‘Steps for Success’ conference programme is announced

Steps for Success: English Social Folk Dance Today – conference programme is announced

EFDSS’ first national conference on the practice of English social folk dance for several decades, is taking place 10 March 2018 at Cecil Sharp House.

We are delighted to present this in partnership with People Dancing: the foundation for community dance. Our key-note speaker will be Chris Stenton, Executive Director of People Dancing, who will set the scene for the day’s action-packed programme by giving delegates an overview of the diversifying nature of participatory dance in the UK today.

The conference will be a practice-sharing national event for everyone involved in, or interested in, English social folk dance. It will be a lively day with case study presentations, practical workshops, advice sessions and panel discussions, asking: What helps English social folk dance to thrive? What are the barriers to success and how can they be overcome?

We have an exciting line up of speakers and workshop leaders from around the country, from Cornwall to Northumberland, who represent years’ of experience in diverse forms and contexts for English social folk dance – including country, ceilidh, Playford-style, and barn dancing.

The conference is aimed at callers, dancers, teachers, organisers, leaders and musicians who work with people of all ages and backgrounds, in diverse settings including dance clubs, schools, community and arts centres, healthcare settings and many more. We hope it will provide opportunities for practitioners to share good and effective practice, network, and discuss issues in relation to their work whilst selecting breakout sessions in topics that interest them most.

We are looking forward to practical dance workshops on Gender-free Calling (David Oliver), Improving Your Dance Technique (Mike Wilson Jones), and Cultural Diversity (Folk Dance Remixed). We are also delighted to partner with Dance for Parkinson’s UK Partnership to present a workshop led by Anna Gillespie and Martina Schwarz of Musical Moving, highlighting the potential for folk dance in this growing area of practice.

Derek Schofield will be setting today’s social folk dance scene in its historical context and Jake Wood will be sharing his thoughts on current hot topics affecting the sector.

There’ll be a number of case studies of folk dance in action in varied community contexts from different parts of the country including – Buckinghamshire (Chloe Middleton-Metcalfe), Cornwall (Helen Musser), Lincolnshire (Peter Barnard) and London (Mary Panton). Sheena Masson and Kerry Fletcher will present successful examples of social folk dance in schools.

Discussion and information sessions will cover key issues affecting the sector in: Effective Marketing (Peter Craik), Music for Dancing (Simon Care and panel), Safe and Inclusive Folk Dancing (Jen Morgan). Sean Goddard and Robert Moir will be presenting on evolving folk dance traditions from the past and present.

The conference will take place Saturday 10 March 2018, 10am–5pm, at Cecil Sharp House, London NW1 7AY.

Tickets: £35 and Under 26 years £25 (includes refreshments and light lunch).


For full and updated conference programme and to book, visit 


Evening dance

Make a day of it and stay on at Cecil Sharp House for the London Barn Dance’s popular American-style contras and square dancing at 8pm with caller Andrew Swaine and American band Buddy System. Conference attendees will get a discount on dance tickets when booking both together.

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Read more about EFDSS’ Dance Development programme

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National Youth Folk Ensemble

National Youth Folk Ensemble


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