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EFDSS boss departs after blowing out cobwebs

The man brought in to breathe new life into the English Folk Dance & Song Society has left the job after just over a year - but with colleagues praising his dynamic new initiatives.

Martin Frost stepped down as chief executive on Thursday, December 9, to take up a post at a multi-media community arts centre in London's Spitalfields.

Dave Arthur praises him in the latest issue of English Dance & Song. "Martin has done a fantastic job in rejuvenating and energising the EFDSS," he says.

"Although he is leaving for pastures green, it is the intention of the society mandarins to continue with his initiatives and plans, and further build on his work to put the society on a firm footing for the next millennium."

His resignation is an immense disappointment for people who have seen him start to bring a new vitality and credibility to the society.

Although he's left for a more-attractive job, it would appear that tensions behind the scenes have caused frustration.

Martin began work at Cecil Sharp House in mid-1998, when he confessed to having little knowledge of the folk movement.

He was considered to be a man who could bring fresh ideas and insights to the society, which was viewed by many as being old-fashioned and not in tune with many aspects of today's traditional dance and music scene.

He's made a point of exploiting the resources of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library .

The Society's CDs, A Century Of Song and Absolutely Classic: The Music Of William Kimber, are both the result of that policy.

He's also responsible for launching Root & Branch, a package of booklets, articles, a poster and a full-length CD of archive material - "a magazine you can listen to," according to the publicity. Issue one came out in October 1999; number two, due in March 2000, will explore the Fifties folk boom.

Martin's also the brains behind Images of Tradition, a gift set of 55 "trading cards" celebrating aspects of the 20th Century folk revival, along with a flipper book reproducing an early Kinora film of a country dance.

They're due to go on sale within a few days of Christmas, priced 14.99

During Martin's time in office the society has also declared a new set of objectives - which will include celebrating modern interpretations of folk traditions - though they were agreed before his arrival.

The National Council of the society is planning short-term administrative changes while it searches for a new chief executive.

The winter 99 newsletter report ends by wishing Martin Frost good luck in his new appointment.

Press Release: EFDSS EFDSS Web site

1999 Simon Pipe, Mark Rogers, The Outside Capering Crew

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