John Blackburn is known for his skills at calling dances. Here he invites you to join in the fun with Bideford Ceilidh Club.
HAVE you ever been to a barn dance (otherwise known as a ceilidh, folk dance or country dance)? Can you remember how much fun it was?
English ceilidh dancing, as I prefer to call it, is one of the most pleasurable ways of having fun and keeping fit, and can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities.
The dances we do are predominantly English, with occasional imports from other parts of the British Isles. We don't do line dancing, country and western or American square, as we try to keep the flag flying for English dance.
Many of the figures (swing your partner, do-si-do, strip the willow, right and left hand star) crop up on both sides of the Atlantic.
An experienced caller is on hand to explain the dances. We also have very friendly members who will give a helping hand where necessary.
English dances are very different in style from American dances which tend to be faster, more complicated and close to the floor. English dance is less complex, and done at a slower pace, allowing the dancers more time to respond to the music.
We meet on Friday evenings at Northam Hall, from 8pm.
Don't worry if you haven't done it before: that does not matter as the dances are geared to suit all levels, from beginner to experienced. And above all, we have fun. The whole session takes place in a relaxed manner.
On club nights we dance to recorded music, but about five or six times a year we run public dances at local venues with some of the top English Ceilidh bands in the country.
Why not give it a try? There's no obligation to attend every week. Come when you can. There's no joining fee, but there is a charge of £3 on club nights.
Our first meeting after the summer recess will be on Friday, September 6. If you want to know more about our club, give me (John Blackburn) a ring on 01237 476632 or email me on jwbe firstname.lastname@example.org.