Dance Programme

One of the great things about folk festivals is the ability to participate and one of the most fun ways to participate is to dance.  
 
This year at Cygnet there will be a whole stream of dances through the festival, in the Town Hall, a great venue for dancing with a real wooden floor.
 
You get to listen to great music but also have loads of social fun dancing with other happy people, learning some new things, getting exercise and experiencing the joy of moving to live music.  
 
Of course even if you don't want to dance you're very welcome to come along and enjoy watching and listening to the fine bands and the dancers. 

Download Dance Programme as PDF

 

Cygnet has really come of age as a dance festival. There are many different dance bands and types of dancing, giving you the opportunity to have great fun learning different folk dance traditions or styles, from tango to contra.

 
Kick up a storm with dances from Prince Edward Island and Ontario played and called by the East Pointers, dance to the captivating rhythms of Xenos's Balkan sound....
 
... learn the physics of partner dancing with Kristina Olsen, strut your stuff at a tango with Ruth Roshan and Tango Noir, groove and swing your way through a contra dance with Moonshine Whiskers and the Ragged Pony, find yourself lifted by the lilting of Sinn Araon at an Irish Ceili...
 
... swing your partner and promenade at a traditional square dance with The Company, feel the beat with Samba by Kaya Boom, go bush with the HOT String Band, enjoy easy dances and Tasmanian music at a family bush dance with the Tasmanian Heritage Fiddle Ensemble or be part of a BushMOB with Woody's World...
 
... taste the world of European dancing with Cuisenaire, dance morris with the Jolley Hatters, find out how much fun Renaissance dancing and Regency Dancing can be with the Tasmanian Harp Society, or wrap up the festival with a rousing Scottish ceilidh with Lomond and a klezmer dance with Bohemian Nights.  
 

All dances are taught and no partner or dancing experience is required.  

 
Meet new people, laugh, get some exercise, learn something new, and feel the joy of dancing with others to beautiful, driving, live music.
 
Don’t go home early on Sunday!  The dance programme wraps up with a finale to use up your last dancing energy with a Scottish ceilidh with Lomond and a klezmer dance with Bohemian Nights.  Say goodbye for now to your new found festival friends with a last dance.
 
Also, outside during the festival there'll be fun to be had with the Brightstars and a bush dance flash mob.

Opening Bush Dance with the HOT String Band, Friday 7-8:30pm, Town Hall

High-spirited traditional and contemporary dances for anyone who loves a good time, including children over 8.  Dance to the wall of sound from the biggest hillbilly band this side of anywhere, playing a variety of bush tunes from Australia, and places not so well known, along with old-timey and cajun classics.  Dance calling by David "Odd socks" Wanless.  No dancing experience required and there’s no need to bring a partner although any children should bring an adult.

Renaissance Dance with Tasmanian Harp Society, Friday 8:30-9:30pm, Town Hall

Merry and intriguing early dances from western Europe, with fine period music by the Tasmanian Harp Society and dancing master David Wanless.  No dancing experience or partner required.  Kick up your heels Renaissance style, verily.
 

Contra Dance with Moonshine Whiskers and the Ragged Pony, Friday 9:30-11:00pm, Town Hall

Contra dance is non-competitive, moderately aerobic and highly addictive.  It’s a lively, social, swingy dance style from the USA which has exploded in popularity in the last few decades.  This rapidly developing tradition is popular with all ages, including a vibrant university scene.  Done to a simple walking step, it features flowing movements, lots of swings, a chance to dance with everyone and the opportunity for improvisation.
 
Come along and find out why they say that contra dancers are “Traditional, progressive and frequently improper.”
 
All dances taught by dance caller Sarah Lewis.  No dancing experience or partner required.
 

Balkan Dance Workshop with Xenos, Saturday 9:30-11:00am, Town Hall

This is a workshop designed to teach the dances in readiness for the evening dance. We have chosen easy line dances that all can do. The dancers will emerge from the workshop with a better understanding of the complex and beautiful rhythms of the Roma. The teaching style breaks each dance down into simple steps and that means success for everyone!

The BushMOB workshop (spontaneous bush dance performance), Saturday 11am-12noon, Town Hall

In the style of the "Flash Mob" craze, join Woody's World and the Bush Mob crew for a spontaneous public performance at this years's festival.  Accompanied by a menagerie of festival musicians and guided by experienced bush dance caller Woody, this will be a blast! 
 
The BushMOB consists of a workshop followed by two spontaneous performances during the festival. 
 
At the workshop participants will learn the dances or the music.  We then gather around a particular public space at the festival for the BushMOB.  Sounds like fun? It is!!
 
Woody and his kids form the backbone of the band but they'd love other musicians to lend a hand. In this way the BushMOB is a collaborative event which forms new musical connections with festival musicians both young and old.

BushMOB (spontaneous bush dance) performance, Saturday 12:30pm, Loongana Park

If you attended the workshop, join in the flash mob performance, to the surprise of the people in the park.

Samba Social Club with Kaya Boom, Saturday 1-2pm, Town Hall

Samba rhythm is infectious and once you start you can't stop. Come and learn in a fun relaxed atmosphere. Experiment with a range of traditional Brazilian drums or join the dance group and get moving. This super charged class can invigorate the most rhythmically challenged and set creative minds rolling. Every one who attends will instantly feel like moving and shaking. Workshop participants are welcome to join in the parade and the evening Samba Dance.

PushMePullYou with Kristina Olsen, Saturday 2-3:30pm, Town Hall

The Physics of Partner Dance: Learn universal lead and follow techniques so you can dance with anyone to any music! This workshop is appropriate whether you are a total beginner or an experienced partner dancer. We will explore where the lead comes from and how the follow can best react to the signals so the lead and follow move as one body instead of two separate ones. You do not need a partner to come to class! You just need a flexible mind and a desire to dance. This class has been a surprise hit at swing camps in Canada and the USA.

Canadance with the East Pointers, Saturday 3:30-4:30pm, Town Hall

Prince Edward Island Square and Ontario dancing with one of the headline acts of the festival, sixth generation fiddlers and folk musicians Tim and Koady Chaisson from Prince Edward Island and Jake Charron from Ontario, Canada.
 

Family Bush Dance with Tasmanian Heritage Fiddle Ensemble, Saturday 4.30-6pm, Town Hall

Easy and enjoyable traditional and contemporary dances for families with children ages 8 and up and anyone else who loves a good time.  Lovely and lively Tasmanian tunes, both traditional and contemporary, by the Tasmanian Heritage Fiddle Ensemble.  Dance calling by Sarah Lewis.  No dancing experience required and there’s no need to bring a partner although children should bring an adult.
 

Samba Dance with Kaya Boom, Saturday 7-8pm, Town Hall

Samba rhythm is infectious and once you start you can't stop.  Kaya Boom create a dynamic fusion of world roots drumming and dancing. Their band leader, Kai Tipping leads the crowd into a frenzy of organic beats with his talented entourage of drummers and exquisite dancers. Kaya Boom always keeps the stage pumping.  Dance caller: Jess Stalenburg.

Tango Dance: Kristina Olsen with Ruth Roshan and Tango Noir, Saturday 8-9:30pm, Town Hall

Two festival favourites team up to bring you the flair, elegance and sauciness of Argentinean tango.  Enter the thrilling world of this bittersweet, melodic music and dance.

Balkan and Roma Dance with Xenos, Saturday 9:30-11pm, Town Hall

Be inspired by the exciting music of the Balkan Roma. The band performs mostly on the floor with the dancers encircling them. Energetic, acoustic and wild! Passionate dance music of the Roma - melting hearts, fire in the belly.

Morris Dance Workshop with the Jolley Hatters and Friends, Sunday 10-11am, Town Hall

A workshop to teach two English Morris Dances.  No experience necessary.  This is also an opportunity for other musicians to join in and play a Morris tune.
 
21st Century Contra Dance Workshop with Moonshine Whiskers and the Ragged Pony, Sunday 11:00-12:30am, Town Hall
Contra is a rapidly evolving tradition.  Learn some more cool contra moves, or try contra dancing for the first time.  If you were at the dance on Friday evening, that’s great, but come and dance even if you weren’t.  Music by one of Australia's finest contra bands.  All dances taught by caller David Wanless.  No dancing experience or partner required.

Regency Dance Party with the Tasmanian Harp Society, Sunday 12:30-1:30pm, Town Hall

A dance party in the regency style, led by dancing master David Wanless.  Frisky dances from Jane Austen's time.  No dancing experience or partner required.
 
BushMOB (spontaneous bush dance) performance, Sunday 1:45pm, Loongana Park
If you attended the workshop on Saturday, join in the flash mob performance, to the surprise of the people in the park.

Euro Dance with Cuisenaire, Sunday 3:00-3:50pm, Town Hall

Balkan, Klezmer and other dances from Europe, especially eastern Europe.  All dances taught by caller David Wanless.  No partner or dancing experience required.

Scottish Country Dancing Demo with the Tascal Dancers, Sunday 3:50-4:00pm, Town Hall

Intricate formations, fancy footwork and intriguing formations from the Tasmanian Caledonian Society dancers.

Square Dance with The Company, Sunday 4:00-5:00pm, Town Hall

The Company have a passion for high-energy original and traditional acoustic bluegrass music.  Now you have an opportunity to dance to it.  Yeehaa!

Irish Ceili with Sinn Araon, Sunday 5:00-6:00pm, Town Hall

Find yourself lifted by the lilting of Sinn Araon at an Irish Ceili.  Flautist Brian Owens is a master Irish dance musician and Deanna Devers a wonderful dance musician in various genres.  Caller Sarah Lewis will introduce you to the world of evocative and energetic Irish ceili dancing.

Klezmer dance with Bohemian Nights, Sunday 7-8pm, Town Hall

Exhilirating Klezmer tunes with festival favourites Bohemian Nights.  Dance caller David Wanless will teach a variety of easy Yiddish dances.

Scottish Ceilidh with Lomond, Sunday 8-9pm, Town Hall

Burn the last of your festival dance energy with a rousing ceilidh.  Music by fiery young fiddlers Lomond – contemporary, original and traditional Scottish folk music forged in the fires of history by the smith of fate.  Caller Sarah Lewis.   No dancing experience or partner required, but do bring a drink bottle, sensible shoes and a bucket-load of enthusiasm.

Dance performances to watch

As well as all the participatory dances, you can watch the following.  Of course anyone is welcome to watch and listen to any of the participatory dance workshops or dances as well.

BrightStar Dancers with the Tasmanian Heritage Fiddle Ensemble, Saturday 10-11am

BrightStars South is a dance group of over twenty dancers, members of Down Syndrome Tasmania and taught by Meg Cooper. A group of passionate and inspiring dancers with Down Syndrome with volunteers, they will perform to the music of the Tasmanian Heritage Fiddle Ensemble.

Scottish Country Dancing Demo with the Tascal Dancers, Sunday 3:50-4:00pm, Town Hall

Intricate formations, fancy footwork and intriguing formations from the Tasmanian Caledonian Society dancers.
 

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Around the festival

Before the festival

Bruny Island Kids Artzone 5-9 January

Bruny Island Arts Inc. endeavours to further the skills of artists from the island by running various workshops within the visual and performing arts, organising many exhibitions, performances and a very active film group, as well  as KidsArtzone, the only Tasmanian annual children’s art festival which has been running successfully for over  ten years.
 

After the festival

MOFO 15-18 January

This year, we’re livin’ la vida loca in our old stomping ground, PW1, and expanding our other-venue horizons: Constance ARI and the Odeon Theatre have joined the party. It’s all happening, all over Hobart.
 
  • Festival stalls +

    Stalls are managed by the Cygnet Arts Council. If you are interested in having a stall at the market, please contact the Cygnet Arts Council directly: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Buy tickets +

    Presale tickets go on sale 1st September Read More
  • Become a volunteer +

    Volunteering is great fun, you meet new people and get a free ticket. Applications to become a volunteer open 1st September. Read More
  • Festival Programme available in December +

    Nearly 500 bands have applied to play at the Cygnet Folk Festival 2015. Over 100 acts will be chosen to perform. About half will be from Tasmania
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