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Library Conference on sale now

Folk dance: grappling with tradition

The 2023 Vaughan Williams Memorial Library Conference, Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 November

The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library’s 2023 conference examines folk dance in its wide ranging forms, and asks speakers and delegates to consider the meaning of tradition, both historically and in the present.

Papers will be framed around a set of words which are at the same time related and distinct: revival, reproduction, reimagination, re-creation, reformation, refashioning and reconstruction. We will invite you to unpick these and consider what each suggests in relation to folk dance, whether it is possible, whether we should attempt it, how, and why. How can one reconstruct historical forms and why should we? How do reconstruction and reimagination collide or collude? How does tradition sit in the 21st century and what should we do with (or to) it? To what extent is reimagination the same as invention, and does this matter?

Alongside the papers, we welcome Boss Morris who will perform and invite participation.

The ticket price includes lunch, and unlimited tea and coffee throughout.
In person
Full weekend: £60
One day only: £35

Find out more and book now

Papers will be:

Sue Allan: ‘Whorray! here th’ Maskers cumman’!: Re-visiting the evidence for Cumbrian sword dancing

Clare Bowyer: Authenticity of British folk costumes: A classification of authenticities.

Elaine Bradtke: Reinventing tradition: Molly dancing in the late 20th century

Kerry Fletcher: Folk Dance Remixed

Sean Goddard: Tunes and dances: Is there a risk to using new tunes?

Simon Harmer: The sailor and the paramedic – my step dance heroes: Reconstruction and reimagination in action

Peter Harrop: Dancing with tradition: Grappling with ‘folk’.

Mike Heaney: Morris dance in theatre and community (with particular reference to the north-west of England)

Phil Heaton: Rapper from its earliest days to DERT (Dancing England Rapper Tournament) in the UK and DART in the United States.

Lisa Heywood: Queering social dances: The case for an evolving tradition

Bryony Kummer-Seddon: Maypole dancing in England: Revivals past, revivals present.

Lally Macbeth: The Mock Morris

Alex Merry and Stephen Rowley: Dancing on the shoulders of giants – a discussion, with the participation of Boss Morris.

Chloe Middleton-Metcalfe: How do we strip back the willow? Traditionality, familiarity, and the ‘living tradition’ in English social folk dance

Grace Redpath: ‘The magic was still in my heart like an old sweet pain’: Revisiting longsword in East Cleveland and prospects of revival

Derek Schofield: Folk Dance and the new Northumbrians

Liz Scholey and the EDI group of the Joint Morris Organisations: An Examination of the songs used in morris dance

Lisa Sture: Devon step dancing: Tradition as framework, not set-piece.

Wendy Timmons and Iliyana Nedkova: Pomegranates - sowing the seeds of international traditional dance across Edinburgh: Thriving not surviving

Deborah Ward: From Elva Hill to Loch Sunart: Adapting folk tales into folk ballets whilst exploring the traditional balletic and folk dance language


Promoted by EFDSS

Great Library Booksale

The Library will be selling unneeded stock and duplicate copies downstairs in Storrow throughout both days, so pop down in the conference breaks to pick up a bargain!