OK, so we may have been premature in our forecast for the weather improving…but the clocks going forward this weekend definitely herald a new season. Honest! And as the sap begins to rise, our thoughts turn to dancing: dancing the days and nights away by the seaside at Sidmouth FolkWeek (3rd – 10th August). Grab those Early Bird tickets now.

Whether you choose to throw yourself feet first into the wall-to-wall dance workshops for a range of abilities, including a full range of British ritual, European, Balkan, Cornish, dancing with flags and bones…the list goes on…or strutting your stuff down to the party vibes on the Bulverton dancefloor with the likes of Blowzabella, Vintage Cock & Bull Band, Elephant Sessions and Police Dog Hogan, there are ample opportunities to trip the light fantastic!

As ever, Gareth Kiddier has created a superb, diverse folk dance programme which promises fun, challenge and lots of it! Amongst the events included are some flirtatious Jane Austen-era Playford dances with Hannah Moore; a blast through Scandinavian couple dances from polska to schottis, vals and minuets and country dances with Megan Hatto; Playford Electronica…yeah, you heard right….with Chris Green and big-time fun, mixed social dance evenings led by West Country callers. Jane Thomas and Beryl Jukes. Your dance card is going to be full!

Save some energy for the fun-filled nights of wild dancing at Blackmore Evening ceilidhs, as well as the after-hours knees-up at Bulverton Late Night extras and more, at the Anchor Gardens and beyond. Bands include the legendary Old Swan Band, Playford Liberation Front’s 17th century English country dance music for 21st century dancers, the “world’s smallest big band” Banter, PolkaWorks, Threepenny Bit, Whapweasel, Diatonics, Lasair, Monster Ceilidh Band, Relentless Ceilidh Band and many more.

There’s a one-off night not to be missed for dancers and all lovers of traditional dance music! The Tuesday Night Special in Blackmore Gardens Marquee is The Next Step, a collaboration between The Valiant Dance Band and Instep with five of the finest, innovative step dancers in England – Jo Harmer, Simon Harmer, Toby Bennett, Kerry Fletcher and Jenny Read – kicking up a storm.

Or maybe you prefer to watch the experts? FolkWeek features many of the rich and diverse range of British dance traditions, from Cotswold and North West Morris to Clog Stepping and Cornish Dance. Look out for the many Processions, “Chance To Meets” and displays around the town and along the seafront, as well as special events held throughout the week at a number of venues, plus Dance Spectaculars in Connaught Gardens and Blackmore Dance Marquee.

These include the ever-popular Sunday afternoon John Gasson Jig Competition, showcasing the ever-increasing standard of jig dancing, and the return of the Sidmouth Horse Trials – an all-comers event for Hobby Horses, Unicorns, Goats, Morris animals and other Beasts of Disguise. Canter along to the Hub for a bit of horseplay!

Morris Wednesday features a fancy-dress themed evening of fun and games hosted by the world famous Hammersmith Morris Men and guests.

Other special dance-themed events a show inspired by the cycle of the seasons, The Year Turns Round Again. Morris dancers, contemporary dancers and folk musicians will come together over the course of the week to create an original performance telling a story through dance and song. Choreography by Ben Moss (Hammersmith Morris Men, Morris Offspring) and music direction from Hazel Askew (The Askew Sisters, Lady Maisery). And there’s Lucy Wright’s presentation on Girls’ Carnival Morris: a 21st-century Folk Dance.

You get the picture. For the movers and shakers amongst you, this is a fantastic opportunity to eat, sleep, breathe dance all week long! Book those best value Early Bird tickets now!