April Verch Band, The (USA)
While Verch is perhaps best known for playing traditional fiddle styles from her native Ottawa Valley, Canada her performances extend into old-time American and Appalachian styles and far beyond for a well-rounded tour-de-force of North Americana sounds. Sometimes she sings, steps, and fiddles all at once with apparent ease and precision. Verch is – as they say – a triple threat in performance. Her live show is a beautiful companion to her music: versatile robust and masterfully executed.
Passionate performers of traditional middle-eastern rhythm and dance, Banat Amar will delight you with their joyful improvisations and dynamic choreographies. Gorgeous rhythms from live percussionists accompany a troupe of enchanting and playful dancers in colourful and intricate costumes. Both the dances and costumes are inspired by late 19th century Ghawazee dancers of Egypt – renowned for their swinging hips, powerful shimmies, and delicate arms. Bring along your clapping hands and cheering voices!
Black Joak Morris
Black Joak Morris performs the traditional folk dancing of the bucolic English Cotswolds (Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire). Morris dancing is fresh and varied friendly and skilled danced to live music provided by our talented and knowledgeable musicians. The origins of Morris are lost but have been linked to ancient English rituals connected to hunting and harvesting traditions. The Joakers are an energetic side from Sydney who couple athletic display with bright costumes and loud bells to delight.
Canberra Contra Club
Canberra Contra Club recreates the exhilarating and inspiring contra dance scene from northern America. With diverse – dare we say eclectic – music from the Appalachians through to Quebec, contra is a social dance style that anyone can do. With world-renowned callers teaching and calling all the dances, Canberra Contra Club will be a highlight of your Festival experience.
Canberra Scottish Country Dancers
The Canberra Scottish Country Dancers will entertain with a lively yet graceful display of Scottish Country Dancing, reflecting the diverse influence of traditional Scottish music and dance on modern Australia. Amongst the strathspeys, jigs and reels and ably accompanied by renowned musicians Emma Nixon and Iain McKenzie, look for references to the ACT and WA, including wildflowers, rivers and roundabouts!
Cue and Do
Cue and Do are the TSDAV's Norm Ellis calling, and musicians drawn from the Melbourne Colonial Dancers Band. Cue and Do is a high intensity 'Dance for Dancers', with a minimum of fuss: briefed and called, but mostly NOT walked through. It is structured for experienced dancers and maximum enjoyment.
Dances of the North
Madis Alvre and his wife Tiina will present a variety of Estonian, Finnish and Swedish folk and social dances, suitable for beginners as well as more experienced dancers, and ranging from circle and formation dances, to couple and progressive dances. Accompanied by Salmiakki Pelimannit led by Helen Strutt they will lead Dances of the North Workshop and Social Dance.
Dividing Range Dancers
The Dividing Range Dancers are a group of dancers from the ACT and NSW who share a common interest in traditional and lively forms of social
dance. Coming from a range of dance backgrounds, they enjoy a repertoire of couple dances, set dances and quadrilles from the past 200 years,
particularly those of relevance to Australia.
Fair Maids of Perth & Sons
The Fair Maids of Perth first performed at Toodyay Folk Festival in 1978, so in 2018 they celebrated their 40th year. Their dances are primarily traditional Morris processionals from Lancashire Cheshire and Yorkshire as well as some recent creations. Live music is an important part of the Morris and the musicians play traditional English tunes on melodeon accordion fiddle and drum. A unique aspect of their costume (kit) includes Lancashire wooden clogs.
Flamenco Centre Canberra
Tomás Dietz has been teaching flamenco dance in Canberra for nearly 20 years. Most of his students start with little or no dance experience, but their diligence in this austere discipline brings them to appreciate the depth of this stunning expression of personal struggle. This year his students will share their achievements with you in an intimate 'tablao' style show of pure flamenco dance – up close and personal, and 'muy flamenco'.
Jan and Bruce Clark of the Canberra Scottish Country Dancers Strathmannan
Experienced callers and teachers of Scottish Country Dance Jan and Bruce Clark will host and guide you through the fun that is a Scottish Ceilidh. Live music by local dance band Strathmannan will have your feet flying to traditional dances and tunes. A workshop ably led by Jan and Bruce Clark will teach dancers the finer points and figures of Ceilidh program to ensure everyone is on the dance floor.
Jumptown Swing are a high energy group of swing dancers who look and dance like they came straight out of the 1940s, including the Lindy Hop and Charleston. Their vibrant displays and taster classes will transport you back to the jumping dance halls of Harlem. Catch one of their high-energy performances or come along to one of their always popular fun and friendly swing dance workshops.
KUD Razigrana Makedonka
KUD Razigrana Makedonka is a Macedonian folk dance group based in Queanbeyan NSW. The group has been active in the community for over 20 years and completed successful overseas tours in 2006, 2010 and 2017. They are passionate about upholding various traditions from across Macedonia while entertaining audiences with an array of authentic and artistic songs, dances and original choreographies.
Margaret and Bill Winnett
Margaret and Bill Winnett have been leaders and teachers of the Sydney Irish Ceili Dancers for decades. They have presented workshops in most states of Australia as well as overseas. Their dual teaching style is informative and great fun. Beginners to advanced dancers and all between have benefited from their vast repertoire of traditional Irish dances. Margaret has been an old style traditional Irish step dancer since 1957.
Marlee Morris dancers formed in 2018 and are based in Perth, WA. They perform traditional dances from the Cotswold Hills but also wilder Border Morris dances. The word Marlee comes from the Indigenous (Noongar) word for the Black Swan. Although a new group, the dances and musicians have a wealth of dance experience and take on challenging and energetic dances of the Morris tradition.
Melbourne Colonial Dancers and Coral Eden
The Melbourne Colonial Dances were formed in 1974 to preserve the living history of Australian Colonial Heritage dance and dance music. Coral Eden has been running Beginner Dance Classes since 1993 and is committed to helping people learn and enjoy dancing. This year the Display Team will perform a heritage dance display intertwined with a Western Australian story.
Melbourne Comhaltas is a vibrant, welcoming group of expats and locals who, as an organisation, have spent nearly 50 years spreading and celebrating Irish culture through music and dance. Their shows are sure to delight and welcome audiences keen to give Irish set dancing a go. Their performances showcase some of the group's favourite songs and dances, and their workshops will get anyone up dancing, no matter their age or ability.
Paverty Bush Band
The band, now known as Paverty Bush Band, Paverty or just the Pavs, is still going strong, comprising founder member Graham Chalker, Bob Buckley, Mary Firkins, Simone Dawson, John Taylor, Rick Kenyon with help from Bill and Sarah. The band is versatile, equally at home with bush dances for dancers of all ages and experience levels, from school halls, to church halls to woolsheds, to beer garden gigs, house parties and folk clubs.
Roguery and Brooke Friendly (USA)
Roguery is Dave Bartley (plucky strings), Jim Oakden (keyboard strings winds) and Shira Kammen (bowed strings, voice), together with Brooke Friendly (dance caller and choreographer). They have wowed and entertained dancers and audiences at festivals and dance events throughout the US and in Great Britain. Individually they have appeared on over 150 CDs, including six as a band. Shira is highly respected in international early music circles, and Brooke has published five books of original dances.
Salmiakki Pelimannit (Finnish for the Salty Licquorice Folk Musicians) has been performing the music of the Nordic countries for over 20 years. They have performed with Finnish, Swedish, Danish and Estonian dance groups and at festivals in Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Australia. Over the years they have introduced many Australian musicians to the beautiful music of the Scandinavian countries.
Short Dented Potts
Explore the ongoing tradition of English Country Dance with caller David Potter and band Short Dented Potts, a trio of musicians revelling in the beauty and complexity of whatever dance music takes their fancy. From the dainty melodies of the 1700s to the irresistible syncopation of a modern English Country dance, Short Dented Potts bring their unique perspective and their enthusiasm for you to enjoy.
With driving twin fiddles and jazz-influenced funky piano, Strathmannan's sound has been described as a unique musical fusion of folk, classical and jazz styles. They play music in concert and for dancing from the rich fiddle and piano repertoire of Scotland and related Celtic musical traditions.This band gives your feet wings.
Sydney English Country Dance
Sydney English Country Dance are a joyful group dedicated to continuing and sharing a lovely tradition. They appreciate and perform traditional dances, but are primarily devoted to enjoying English Country Dance as a modern and developing dance form encompassing a wide variety of musical styles.
Sydney Irish Ceili Dancers
The Sydney Irish Ceili Dancers have kept alive the traditional dances of Ireland since 1958. Their very entertaining performances, with music by their resident musicians, show audiences in a fun way the value of keeping these traditional dances alive. There will be solo step dancing, two hand dances, ceili dancing and set dancing to wonderfully inspiring jigs, reels, hornpipes, polkas and slides. There may even be a fling or two!
Tango Social Club of Canberra
Since the first tango was danced in Australia in 1913, this urban dance from Argentina has captivated audiences, musicians and dancers here. A century later and the Tango Social Club of Canberra is here to showcase the variety of dances and music that make up the world of tango today.
TSDAV Dance Composers’ Competition
TSDAV has run a Dance Composer's Competition since 1980. Come and try the dances yourself to see if you agree with the judges! The dances are instructed, danced by you, and judged in this session. Awards are given for the best General Social Dance and the best Dance for More Experienced Dancers.
Xenos and friends – Balkan music, song and dance spectacular
Xenos is internationally renowned for playing the evocative and electrifying music of the Balkans and the Balkan Roma (Gypsies). The singers and dancers of Sydney-based Saint Sava Serbian Folkloric Ensemble and leading teacher/choreographer of Balkan dance, Gary Dawson, join Xenos to present thrilling, high spirited, energetic and fun music, song and dance performances. Be captivated by the atmosphere of a Balkan 'sred selo' when the whole community dances in the middle of the village.