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Dance Displays & Events

Display Dance Co-ordinators Malcolm Major and Charlotte Dover have put together another exciting and varied programme for 2024, welcoming some exceptional dance teams to the fold.

Display dance & workshops with… Beltane Border MorrisEynsham MorrisFeet First Appalachian Cloggers ● Gog Magog Molly
Great Western MorrisHadrian ClogKekezzaLiberty Hill Northwest Morris
NYFTE (National Youth Folklore Troupe of England)Sussex Junction MorrisTen Hill Morris (US)
Wakefield Morris DancersWhip The Cat Rapper and Clog 

MC’s Chris Rose & Graham Lee

All join us for Dance Processions & Displays, Workshops, The John Gasson Memorial Jig Competition, The Sidmouth Horse Trials, Talks, A Chance to Meet and Morris Wednesday.

WHERE TO WATCH

Teams can be seen throughout the week in a range of free entry Dance Spectaculars in Connaught Gardens and the Blackmore Gardens Marquee as well as performing around town and on the Esplanade.

JOIN IN

For those who’d like to try out the dances for themselves, all are welcome at a range of dance workshops every morning of the festival. From Appalachian to MollyCotswold to CornishBorder, Rapper & Clog, these workshops cater for a wide range of experience and ability. See the end of the page for full details.

JIG COMPETITION

A welcome return for the 36th John Gasson Memorial Jig Competition on Sunday 4th August, bringing a competitive spirit to the Festival with exceptionally high quality, energetic dancing.

HORSE TRIALS

The ever-popular Sidmouth Horse Trials also takes place on Sun 4th August. Bring your hobby horses and beasts of disguise, join in the fun and compete for the prestigious trophy.

MORRIS TALKS

A great programme of talks at the Festival includes Michael Heaney, looking at European sources of morris dancing as we know it, and a talk on the results of the 2023 Morris Census with Jack Worth.

MORRIS WEDNESDAY

Morris Wednesday on 7th August will be hosted by Great Western Morris in their inimitable style. The annual Sidmouth Festival morris party takes on a distinctly athletic tone this year as we honour the festival’s jubilee and the Paris games with our very own ‘Olimpick’ themed celebration & ceilidh. There will be sports galore in this Great Western Morris hosted event, which merges the famous Robert Dover Cotswold Games with the modern Olympics. Anything could happen…

DANCE PROCESSIONS

There are three dance processions during the festival – Saturday & Thursday afternoons from the seafront to Blackmore Gardens and our Torchlight Procession at 10pm on Friday 9 August, marking the end of the 70th Folk Festival. Dress to impress and bring your sparkle!

Discover More – From Appalachian to Molly, Cotswold to Border, Rapper & Cornish, there are a wide range of dance workshops every morning, catering for a wide range of experience and ability. Workshops are open to Season, All-in-One or Workshop Ticket holders, or tickets can be bought on the door, space permitting.

Workshops this year:

Saturday 3 Aug 9:30-10:45 am Bulverton Marquee – Border Morris Workshop with Beltane Border Morris. Beltane combine confident and graceful flowing movements with fiery energy bringing tales of myths legends and monuments of Dartmoor alive. To illustrate this we’ll teach you our popular Tolmen Stone and Vixana dances – all welcome.

Saturday 3 Aug 9:30-10:45 am St Teresa’s Church Hall – Cotswold Morris Workshop with Great Western. They will be teaching two of the side’s own dances during this workshop, aimed at experienced dancers. Once learned, participants will be asked to put their own spin on the dances by suggesting and testing creative improvements.

Saturday 3 Aug 11:00-12:15 pm Bulverton Marquee – North West Morris workshop with Wakefield Morris Dancers. Learn Celebration, a dance for one or more people written by John Earnshaw, often used as a massed North-West dance at festivals etc, and featured in instructional videos. All abilities welcome.

Saturday 3 Aug 11:00-12:30 pm St Teresa’s Church Hall – Beginners Rapper Dance Workshop with Whip the Cat Rapper and Clog. Whip the Cat will be teaching basic figures from the traditional dance Newbiggin. Hard shoes advised if possible.

Sunday 4 Aug 9:15-10:45 am Bulverton Marquee – North West Morris workshop with Wakefield Morris Dancers. Ealuscerwen – this dance, featuring marching and polka steps, has proved a popular show dance for many top Northwest sides, and has an unusual “step up” with a line of four passing backwards through an advancing square in “battle formation”. All abilities welcome.

Sunday 4 Aug 9:30-11:00 am St Teresa’s Church Hall – Beginners Cotswold Morris workshop with Great Western Morris. Ever wondered what Morris Dancing would be like, and if it’s for you? Have some fun learning to dance ‘Jenny Lind’ and ‘The Bull’ in the Great Western Style. All you need is yourself and some enthusiasm.

Monday 5 August 9:30-11:00 am Bulverton Marquee – Appalachian Dance workshop with Feet First Appalachian Cloggers. A chance to learn some basic Appalachian steps and to enjoy putting these into a simple dance. Suitable for complete beginners and those wanting to refresh the basics.

Monday 5 August 9:30-11:00 am St Teresa’s Church Hall – Cotswold Morris workshop with Eynsham Morris. Learn the unique Eynsham Morris step and style, and a dance! All abilities welcome.

Monday 5 August 11:15-12:45 pm Bulverton Marquee – Border Morris workshop with Beltane Border Morris. Beltane is renowned for choreographing compelling dances that tell stories of Dartmoor. Do join us to share inspiration to interweave your or more of our stories to conceive new dances – all abilities welcome.

Monday 5 August 11:15-12:45 pm St Teresa’s Church Hall – Molly Dance workshop with Gog Magog Molly. Learn molly dances Gog Magog style! First of two independent workshops teaching dances drawn from the traditional dances of the Cambridgeshire fens plus a range of inspirations, all with our own distinctive geometric precision and a high-energy step-hop.

Tuesday 6 August 9:30-11:00 am Bulverton Marquee – Cornish dance workshop with Kekezza. Roots and routes of Cornish dance! Explore Cornish dances in their root form and how new routes have developed in dances and choreographies. Each workshop will examine different roots and contain both social and step dance so hard soled shoes are recommended – all abilities welcome.

Tuesday 6 August 9:30-11:00 am St Teresa’s Church Hall – Cotswold Morris workshop with Sussex Junction. Learn the dance Alice Springs from the Hastings RX tradition – unlike any other tradition! Suitable for intermediate to advanced dancers.

Tuesday 6 August 11:15-12:45 pm Bulverton Marquee – Appalachian Dance workshop with Feet First Appalachian Cloggers. An improvers workshop for those who can do basic Appalachian steps and who want to expand their repertoire. We will put these steps into a dance routine while learning more about Appalachian style and choreography.

Tuesday 6 August 11:15-12:45 pm St Teresa’s Church Hall – Intermediate / Advanced Rapper dance workshop with Whip the Cat Rapper and Clog (1 of 2) Whip the Cat will be teaching their DERT winning Mrs Beeton’s How to Dance. Hard shoes required.

Wednesday 7 August 9:30-11:00 am Bulverton Marquee – Beginners Clog dance workshop with Hadrian Clog The Lancashire Waltz – a selection of waltz steps from Lancashire. These are for anyone who has never tried, or who has done very little clog dancing, and the steps can be danced as a routine. Some pairs of clogs available, or bring hard soled shoes (not rubber trainers).

Wednesday 7 August 9:30-11:00 am St Teresa’s Church Hall – Intermediate / Advanced Rapper dance workshop with Whip the Cat Rapper and Clog. (2/2) Whip the Cat will be teaching their DERT winning Mrs Beeton’s How to Dance. Hard shoes required.

Wednesday 7 August 11:15-12:45 pm Bulverton Marquee – Cornish dance workshop with Kekezza Roots and routes of Cornish dance! Explore Cornish dances in their root form and how new routes have developed in dances and choreographies. Each workshop will examine different roots and contain both social and step dance so hard soled shoes are recommended – all abilities welcome.

Wednesday 7 August 11:15-12:45 pm St Teresa’s Church Hall – Cotswold Morris workshop with Sussex Junction. Learn the dance Spokes, the first dance created by us, which changes shape throughout the dance. Suitable for intermediate to advanced dancers.

Thursday 8 August 9:30-11:00 am Bulverton Marquee – North West Morris workshop with Liberty Hill. Butterley – Written by our Squire, Sheila Garner in 2009 when the Butterley Engineering Co in Ripley, Derbyshire closed after 200 years. The company made the famous blue painted girders at St. Pancras Station. Our music is Le Camion. All abilities welcome.

Thursday 8 August 9:30-11:00 am St Teresa’s Church Hall – Cotswold Morris workshop with Ten Hill Morris. Learn a couple of Ten Hill’s favourite Oddington dances, going over some of the unique features of our team’s interpretation of the tradition. Come learn the refined and elegant style upon which Ten Hill Morris was founded! Some experience desirable.

Thursday 8 August 11:15-12:45 pm Bulverton Marquee – Intermediate Clog dance workshop with Hadrian Clog. The Durham Hornpipe, made up of more intermediate level steps, suitable for anyone who has done some clog dancing and would like to do more. We hope to teach all 9 steps in the routine. Bring own clogs if you have them, we will also have a few spare pairs available.

Thursday 8 August 11:15-12:45 pm St Teresa’s Church Hall – Molly Dance workshop with Gog Magog Molly. Learn molly dances Gog Magog style! Second of two independent workshops teaching dances drawn from the traditional dances of the Cambridgeshire fens plus a range of inspirations, all with our own distinctive geometric precision and a high-energy step-hop.

Fri 9 August 9:30-11:00 am Bulverton Marquee – North West Morris workshop with Liberty Hill. Westhoughton – Written by Trefor Owen in the 1980s in celebration of the gargoyles on Westhoughton church tower. Our music is Quadrille Bouchard and Marche du Verner. All abilities welcome.

Fri 9 August 9:30-11:00 am St Teresa’s Church Hall – Cotswold Morris workshop with Ten Hill Morris. Learn a couple of Ten Hill’s favourite Wheatley dances, going over some of the unique features of our team’s interpretation of the tradition. Join Ten Hill Morris in seeking satisfaction in perpetual simplicity, while dancing to some of the best tunes in the repertoire! Some experience desirable.

Free Entry Dance Workshops on the Esplanade: York Steps:
Mon-Fri, 11-12noon, Wild Thyme Border Morris – all levels. An on-the-street Border Morris Workshop. Sticks and jackets provided. Everyone welcome from beginners to experienced dancers (and musicians).
Sun-Fri, 6-7pm, Herbaceous Border Morris – bring your own kit. Herbaceous Border celebrate their 22nd year running Border Morris workshops on the Esplanade. If you’re a dancer or musician without a side at Sidmouth, come along and join them – preferably in kit.