by Katy Spicer, Chief Executive, English Folk Dance and Song Society
Thanks to the good folks in London and Britain for putting on a splendid Olympic Games, and congratulations on all those medals. Here’s a story from our colleagues at EFDSS. Wish we’d been there! — Caroline
The Olympic Games provided some opportunities to showcase some great folk dance and music. Folk dance groups performed at Olympic cultural events throughout England, and leading English folk musicians Eliza Carthy and Kathryn Tickell were both involved in the major BP River of Music project that comprised five music stages across London, each representing and featuring the music of one of the five continents. The English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) was involved in a number of events leading up to the start of the Games and provided advice and information to enable many other events to include folk music and dance.
Our events included the presentation of two new dance performances: ‘The Ballroom of Joys and Sorrows’ and ‘Must Come Down’. The former was a new dance, theatre and music show featuring a professional company of performers joined by a large number of community participants. This beautifully funny and poignant show created by choreographer Kate Flatt used traditional music, customs and dance to tell the story about a group of travelling players and featured folk musician Tim Van Eyken. ‘Must Come Down’ was an exuberant staged performance of morris dance and live music performed by Morris OffSpring, a company of young dancers aged between 15 and 25 years, supported by five musicians; the show was staged by Laurel Swift .
The Torch Relay that saw the Olympic torch taken to nearly every corner of the British Isles proved a great opportunity for display dance teams to get involved. EFDSS was invited by Camden Council to stage a half hour performance of traditional dance as part of the events to herald the arrival of the Torch in Camden in North London, where the home of EFDSS, Cecil Sharp House, is based. Camden Clog and Sharp Morris were our representatives; both groups rehearse at Cecil Sharp House and have long associations with EFDSS. They flew the flag for English folk dancing brilliantly, performing in front of an enthusiastic crowd and on one of our rare sunny and rain free days!