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Step dancing feet

Conference: Stepping On

A conference on stepping in dance

Saturday 16 to Sunday 17 November 2019

Cecil Sharp House, 2 Regent's Park Road, London, NW1 7AY

England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales have a rich history of step dancing of many forms and in many contexts some of which are relatively well known and others largely lost. It is a history which goes back many centuries and links with traditions in other parts of the world. The aim of the conference is to further our knowledge and understanding, and to stimulate debate. 

Britain and Ireland have a rich history of step dancing in many forms and contexts, spanning centuries and linking with traditions across the world. This conference aims to further knowledge and understanding in these traditions and to stimulate debate.

Two full days of presentations, posters, discussion, insight and exploration into step dancing. 

Conference tickets include lunch and refreshments, a range of dietary requirements will be catered for.


9:30 Registration and refreshments
10:30 Conference starts
17:00 First day ends
19:30–23:00 Step Ceilidh Party                              

9:30 Registration and refreshments
10:00 Conference starts
17:00 End

The following presentations are scheduled to take place on these days. We do not anticipate any changes but reserve the right to make changes if necessary.


  • In Search of ‘Street’ Clog Dance. Alexandra Fisher
  • Ontario Old–Time Step Dancing and its Connections to the British Isles. Sherry Johnson
  • How fast should we dance: An investigation using recordings. Sean Goddard
  • Hornpipe stepping at barn dances and ceilidhs in England. Chloe Middleton-Metcalfe
  • Finding our Footing: a discussion of the evidence for a social dance step vernacular to these islands. Anne Daye
  • The Movements, Motifs, and Influences of The Mullagh Set Dancers. Siobhan Butler
  • Everything you wanted to know about Welsh Clog Dancing but were too afraid to dance. Huw Williams
  • Competition, Consumerism, and Conformity: A study of the manifestation of North American ideals in Competitive Irish dance culture. Annabelle Bugay
  • From Family to Team: the transmission of Pat Tracey’s clog steps and the formation of Camden Clog. Kate Tattersall, Ru Rose and Jon Davison


  • Steps in Australia: The history. Heather Blasdale-Clarke
  • Whistling Billy's Barefoot Hornpipe – A presentation on the process of creating a hornpipe sequence from named steps in nry Mayhew’s London Labour and the London Poor (1851). Simon Harmer
  • Exploring the notion of the Scotch Reel as a solo dance. Mats Melin
  • A History of the Scotch Four: Early Step Dancing in Cape Breton. Heather Sparling
  • Are these steps percussive? Reflections on an interpretation. Pat Ballantyne
  • Dancing Hands and Rhythmic Voices: Transmission Methods in Irish Step Dance. Samantha Jones
  • Dartmoor Stepdancing: Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow. Lisa Sture
  • Panel discussion – English and Cornish Step Dance: Revival and Continuity. Carmen Hunt, Janet Keet Black, Jo Harmer, Katie Howson, Kerry Fletcher, Les Bennett, Lisa Sture


  • References to broom and step dancing in the Blackdown Hills, Somerset/Devon, England. Wendy Lutley
  • Getting People to Tell us About Clogs. Charnwood Clog Dancers

Speaker day-tickets are available for £30. Please contact the Box office directly on 020 7485 2206 for further details.


Download Full Programme  

Promoted by The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library and InStep Research Team.


Conference partners:

Historical Dance Society, Instep, EFDSS, Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, University of Roehampton, supported by Arts Council England


Conference committee:

Anne Daye (HDS), Peter Barnard (HDS), Katy Spicer (EFDSS), Laura Smyth (EFDSS), Toby Bennett (Instep), Prof. Theresa Buckland (Roehampton), Michael Heaney