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Trad meets contemporary in a blitz of stepping

Some of the most innovative traditional dance performers will be out to grab the attention of the arts establishment in London on 30 July, 2000. Organiser Anthony John Allen makes a rallying call for support.

Broken Ankles, Stepback, Taps, Wolf's Head & Vixen, Thrale's Rapper and the Morris Fed are taking traditional dance to the Royal Festival Hall for a full day in its Ballroom Blitz series.

They'll be bringing public workshops and performances to a serious venue. It's all part of the Stepback Project's crusade to have the arts establishment take traditional dance seriously, and get the media to stop patronizing us.

If you're in London drop in and be counted on July 30 - let them see how dynamic folk dance is. All performances and workshops are totally FREE, and Aqua Pura have donated 30 cases of water to re-hydrate the workshop and ceilidh participants.

It's funded by the Royal Festival Hall and The Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

Here are the details:

Ballroom Blitz: 30 July, 2000 at the Royal Festival Hall

10.30 - 10.45am, Ballroom: Workshop warm-ups.

10.45 - 11.45am, Ballroom: Appalachian clog workshop - Modern-Traditional Step dance. Exuberant step dance out of the Appalachian mountains in America. Broken Ankles Cloggers and musicians led by Penny Allen. Absolute beginners upwards.

10.45 - 11.45am, Hothouse. English clog workshop (only 25 places). Hard soled shoes -clogs with irons are NOT permitted. Traditional English Clog steps with Gary O'Mahoney. Absolute beginners upwards. Please sign up for this workshop during the warm-up session in the Ballroom.

11.15, Terrace. Kent-based group Wolf's Head and Vixen perform their own brand of English Border Morris to traditional and contemporary music.

11.45 - 12.45pm, Ballroom. Border morris workshop with Wolf's Head and Vixen, for absolute beginners and up (min age 8)

Noon, Terrace. Performance by Pete Lawless White and his Suitcase Circus. Tricks, stunts and delightful comic inventions

1.00 Terrace. Thrale's Rapper

1.30 - 2.30 Ballroom. Performance by Stepback. Part 1: British and American Roots material in a high-energy, integrated show with Broken Ankles and the Stepback Morris Dancers, featuring Ross Allen and Gary O'Mahoney from Dance AV, plus stunning musicians.

2.30 Terrace. Border morris performance, Wolf's Head & Vixen.

3.00 - 4.00 Ballroom. Workshop - Set and Groove. Traditional and Contemporary dance fusion - combine English set dance choreography with body movements from contemporary, jazz and street dance, and JazzCeilidh is what you get! The youth dance company formed for a millennium project by TAPS (Traditional Arts Projects) is joined by Jeannette Brooks, Roger Watson and the drummers from Boka Halat to workshop this exciting fusion style.

3.00 - 4.00pm Chelsfield Room. Playing for Dance, music workshop - please bring instruments (only 24 participants - some non-participatory places may be available). The criteria for playing for dancers are somewhat different from other solo or ensemble playing. Brian Stone is one of the most experienced dance fiddlers in the country, having worked with the Royal Ballet School and American choreographer Twyla Tharp, as well as Traditional dancers such as NYFTE (National Youth Folklore Troupe of England) and Albion Morris. This workshop will concentrate on techniques to enhance the danceability of the music you play.

4.00 - 7.30pm Chelsfield Room, open jam session. This room will be left available for any musicians, dancers, singers and story-tellers to mix and mingle, jam or just chill out together.

3.30 Terrace. Performance by Thrale's Rapper

4.00 - 5.00pm Hothouse. Rapper workshop - hard soled shoes. Only 20 places. Lower age limit: 12years. Traditional step and figures taught by Andrew Kennedy. Absolute beginners upwards.

4.15 - 4.45pm Ballroom. Set & Groove: TAPS' Millennium Youth Company in performance.

4.45 - 5.15pm Ballroom Border morris performance, Wolf's Head & Vixen

5.15 Terrace. Performance: Pete White's Suitcase Circus

6.00 - 7.00pm Ballroom. Stepback in performance, part 2. Broken Ankles and Stepback Morris are back again with the 2nd-half of the Stepback show.

7.30 - 10.00pm Ballroom, Jazz Ceilidh. Finish yourselves off completely with the grooviest dancing around. Traditional English dances to the cross-cultural rhythms of the Boka Halat band. A knockout at Towersey Festival last year, off to Sidmouth International Festival the following week, Boka Halat are in town as part of their National Tour 2000. Caller Roger Watson. Guest Spots from Thrale's Rapper and Suitcase Circus.

2000 Simon Pipe, Mark Rogers, The Outside Capering Crew

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