dancing a cygnet folk festival

Updated programme: Monday 4th of January:

One of the many wonderful things about folk festivals is the ability to participate; and one of the most fun ways to participate is to dance.  

Whilst there’s plenty of free dancing at concerts, Cygnet also runs a called dance programme for the whole weekend, in the Town Hall, a great venue for dancing with a real wooden floor.

You get to listen to inspiring 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 watch and listen. The music itself is fabulous and features some of the festival’s headline acts.

In almost 20 dances over the weekend we feature many different dance bands and styles of dancing, giving you the opportunity to have great fun learning different folk dance traditions, including Balkan, contra, Israeli, indigenous Latin American, Greek, bush, Irish Ceilidh, Prince Edward Island, Scottish Ceilidh, square, swing, regency, Zumba®, renaissance and Zydeco.
 
See the dance programme listing elsewhere in this booklet, and the listings under individual artists, but a few ideas are: 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, groove and swing your way through two contra dances with As the Crow Flies and Moonshine Whiskers and the Ragged Pony, or do some high energy Irish Ceilidh dancing to the driving traditional Irish dance tunes and modern beats and sounds of world travelling Tim Scanlan (ex Ireland's demented trad trio 'The Latchikos') and Toshi Bodhran (master percussionist).  
 
You can also swing your partner and promenade at a traditional square dance with One Up Two Down and an old-time American barn dance with festival headlining Canadian folk fusion band, the Duhks.

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

Don’t go home early on Sunday!  The dance programme wraps up with a twin finale -– use up your last dancing energy with a square dance to the raw old-time groove and bluegrass dexterity of One Up, Two Down and then a rousing Ceilidh to the driving guitar and bouzouki, intense fiddle playing, warm pairing of flute and whistles and dynamic bodhrán and percussion of Scotland’s Paul McKenna band.

Friday Dances

Opening Bush Dance

Cygnet Town Hall
7:00 PM - 8:15 PM    
High-spirited traditional and contemporary dances for anyone who loves a good time, including children over 8. Dance to the Devil's Own, with caller Sarah Lewis making it easy for everyone. There’s no need to bring a partner although any children should bring an adult.
  • The Devil's Own
  • Sarah Lewis-Dance Caller
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Renaissance Revelry

Cygnet Town Hall
8:30 PM - 9:15 PM    
Merry and intriguing early dances from western Europe, with fine period music by the Tasmanian Harp Ensemble and dancing master David Wanless. Kick up your heels Renaissance style, verily.
  • Tasmanian Harp Ensemble
  • David "Oddsocks" Wanless
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Contra Dance With The Crows

Cygnet Town Hall
9:30 PM - 10:45 PM    
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. Done to a simple walking step, it features flowing movements, lots of swings, a chance to dance with everyone and the opportunity for improvisation. All dances taught by dance caller Sarah Lewis.
  • As the Crow Flies
  • Sarah Lewis-Dance Caller
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Irish Ceilidh

Cygnet Town Hall
11:00 PM - 12:00 AM    
High energy dancing to the driving traditional Irish dance tunes and modern beats and sounds of world travelling Tim Scanlan (ex Ireland's demented trad trio 'The Latchikos') and Toshi Bodhran (master percussionist). No dancing experience or partner required. Caller: David Wanless.
  • Tim Scanlan & Toshi Bodhran
  • David "Oddsocks" Wanless
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Saturday Dances

21st Century Contra Dance

Cygnet Town Hall
9:30 AM - 10:45 AM    
Contra is lively, fun, traditional, progressive and frequently improper. It's a rapidly evolving tradition. Learn some 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. Groove to the hot old-time tunes of one of Australia's finest contra bands. No partner required. All dances taught by caller David Wanless.
  • Moonshine Whiskers & The Ragged Pony
  • David "Oddsocks" Wanless
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Balkan Dance Workshop

Cygnet Town Hall
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM    
Traditional Balkan and Roma dances to the captivating rhythms of Xenos. 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 teaching style breaks each dance down into simple steps and that means success for everyone!
  • Xenos
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Swing Dance Workshop

Cygnet Town Hall
1:30 PM - 2:15 PM    
If you can walk, you can swing. Get up and dance with some fun swing dance moves, taught by Bibiana and Michael from TasSwing. Swing is a fun, energetic form of dancing that is dynamic to watch and is incredibly fun to do. Dance to the exciting 1930s French dance hall music of Melbourne's La Mauvaise Réputation. You don't need to bring a partner.
  • La Mauvaise Réputation
  • Bibiana Devlin
  • Michael Laczko
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Regency Dance Party

Cygnet Town Hall
2:30 PM - 3:30 PM    
"A dance party in the regency style, led by dancing master David Wanless. Frisky dances from Jane Austen's time. “It may be possible to do without dancing entirely. Instances have been known of young people passing many, many months successively, without being at any ball of any description, and no material injury accrue either to body or mind; - but when a beginning is made - when the felicities of rapid motion have once been, though slightly, felt - it must be a very heavy set that does not ask for more.” -- Jane Austen
  • Tasmanian Harp Ensemble
  • David "Oddsocks" Wanless
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Family Bush Dance

Cygnet Town Hall
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM    
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 Fiona Henwood. There’s no need to bring a partner although children should bring an adult.
  • The Tasmanian Heritage Fiddle Ensemble
  • Fiona Henwood 
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Irish Ceilidh

Cygnet Town Hall
7:00 PM - 8:15 PM    
Find yourself lifted by the lilting of Sinn Araon at an Irish Ceilidh. 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 ceilidh dancing.
  • Sinn Araon
  • Sarah Lewis-Dance Caller
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Duhk Dancing: Old-Time American Barn Dance

Cygnet Town Hall
8:30 PM - 9:15 PM    
Jump in and have a heap of fun with an old-time American barn dance with music by festival headlining Canadian folk fusion band, the Duhks. No dancing experience or partner required. Music from the Appalachian mountains and beyond.
  • The Duhks
  • David "Oddsocks" Wanless
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Balkan Gypsy Dance

Cygnet Town Hall
9:30 PM - 10:45 PM    
Traditional Balkan and Roma dances to the captivating rhythms of Xenos. 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.
  • Xenos
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Canadance with the East Pointers

Cygnet Town Hall
11:00 PM - 12:00 AM    
Come and learn traditional Prince Edward Island and Ontario square set dances, to the infectious music of one of the festival's headline acts, the East Pointers, returning after a brilliant first appearance at Cygnet in 2015. All ages and abilities welcome.
  • The East Pointers
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Sunday Dances

Israeli Dance

Cygnet Town Hall
10:3AM - 11:45 AM    
Come and join to enjoy simple Israeli dancing with Michiko of Hora Tasmania.  You will love the beautiful music and variety of steps.  Good exercise for your body and good food for your soul!!!  Everybody welcome.
  • Michiko Gough
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Balkan Zumba®

Cygnet Town Hall
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM    

Join Hobart ZIN™ Zumba® instructor Elspeth Hickey for this fun dance-fitness workout inspired by Latin rhythms. No dance experience required, just a willingness to let go, sweat and smile! 

  • Elspeth Hickey
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Mama don't want no Zydeco 'round here

Cygnet Town Hall
2:30 PM - 3:45 PM    
Zydeco is the accordion and rub-board driven, rhythm and blues infused music of the Creoles of Louisiana. Here it's in the hands of Tasmanians who have put their own take on it with splashes of country and hints of gypsy jazz. Mostly up-tempo and lighthearted the band best serves those who wish to dance. Experienced callers Steve and Jane Ray will lead you in this exciting dance to infectious music.
  • Lagoon Hill Zydeco
  • Steve Ray
  • Jane Ray

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Greek Dance

Cygnet Town Hall
4:00 PM - 4:45 PM    
Enjoy traditional Greek dances from various regions of Greece, to the rhythmic folk tunes of the Aria award winning haBiBis.  All dances taught by experienced Hobart Greek dance teacher Marika Castrisios.  No prior experience necessary.  Dances of passion, war and life.
  • The haBiBis
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The Big Hairy, Scary Australian Dance

Cygnet Town Hall
5:00 PM - 6:15 PM    
Traditional, historical and contemporary Australian dances, with a tribute to Peter Ellis. Australia has a rich social/folk dance tradition, from the First Fleet to the present day, from the city ballrooms to the bush. The Chloe and Jason Roweth Band with caller David Wanless and special guests will help you experience the fun and vigour of Australian folk dancing, both old and new. Ages 8 and up, but this is not a kids' dance – any children need to bring an adult. No partner or dancing experience required. This is Australian entertainment with the hair still on!
  • Chloe & Jason Roweth Band
  • Graham Seal, Rob and Olya Willis - The National Library of Australia
  • The Scary Family Band
  • David "Oddsocks" Wanless
  •  
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One Up, Two Down Square Dance

Cygnet Town Hall
7:00 PM - 7:45 PM    
Traditional square dances to the raw old-time groove and bluegrass dexterity of One Up, Two Down. Yeehaa!
  • One Up, Two Down
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Scottish Ceilidh

Cygnet Town Hall
8:00 PM - 9:00 PM    
Burn the last of your festival dance energy with a rousing ceilidh to the driving guitar and bouzouki, intense fiddle playing, warm pairing of flute and whistles and dynamic bodhrán and percussion of festival headliners the Paul McKenna band. Caller Sarah Lewis. No dancing experience or partner required, but do bring a drink bottle and a bucket-load of enthusiasm!
  • Paul McKenna Band
  • Sarah Lewis-Dance Caller
 

Cygnet Folk Festival 6-8 January 2017

Real music, real food, real people, real experiences.

Ticket sales open 1st August.

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