The streets of Todmorden will be alive again this year with music and dance from teams across the country.
Rockingham Rapper perform Rapper sword dances based on North East England traditions and Appalachian step dances. Originally formed in Northamptonshire in 2004 the team is now based in Whittlesey Cambridgeshire home of the Straw Bear Festival.
Not only have they won prizes fortheir dancing at DERT, they have also gained other accolades including “Best Song” and “Best Solo Dance”. They are also probably the only traditional dance side to incorporate Queen and Gilbert & Sullivan into their repertoire.
The Lancashire Wallopers clog step team was born out of the teaching of the legendary Sam Sherry, who spent most of his working life as a step & acrobatic dancer in the music halls & variety theatres. The Wallopers perform, in various lively & entertaining routines, the steps of Sam Sherry and other famous Lancashire clog dancers. Incidentally, the team name is derived from the old Lancashire term ‘clog walloper’ – as in one who wallops the floor with his/her clogs!
Rivington Morris was founded in Bolton in 1977. They are proud to be based in the north west, to be dancing north west Morris and thus part of continuing local traditions. Over their 43-year history, Rivington have attended many festivals including previous Todfests, Whitby; Sidmouth; Shrewsbury; Evesham; Ely; Towersey and Wimborne; all of which they have thoroughly enjoyed but they are equally happy to attend their local carnival processions dancing amongst the carnival floats and rose queens, again supporting local customs/traditions. Rivington’s colours are red, purple and white and their swirling red skirts and purple and red beribboned sticks assist in providing a bright colourful display.
Hebden Bridge Hill Millies
Hebden Bridge Hill Millies are a Women’s Cotswold Morris dancing side based in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. We have been going over 16 years, starting off as a bet with the then landlord of the Fox and Goose pub in Hebden Bridge. They dance with hankies, sticks, dusters, and on occasion a mop or two and are accompanied by a talented group of fiddle players.
Persephone Morris are a north west (old Lancashire and Cheshire areas of England) Processional Morris side with a very distinctive kit where black predominates adding yellow and green as noticeable contrasts.
The style is vigorous and precise, the side earning accolades and appreciation from both general and knowledgeable audiences.
Sowerby Bridge Morris
Sowerby Bridge Morris are a mixed dance team performing in the north west Morris tradition. They are based in the West Yorkshire mill town of Sowerby Bridge in the heart of the South Pennines.
Horwich Prize Medal Morris Men
Horwich Prize Medal Morris Men have been proudly representing Horwich since 1891.
North British Sword Dancers
Tweed, currry, and sword dancing make a potent mixture, and with North British you get the full dose. They’re very sociable and enjoy a chat: “people like to come up and point out where we have wrongly interpreted dances which we actually wrote ourselves, but that’s folk dancing for you.”
Mind the Step Appalachian Dancers
Appalachian dancing originates from traditional English, Irish and Scottish clogging and stepping styles as danced by the immigrants who settled in the Appalachian Mountains in North America. The dance evolved in remote mountain communities and incorporated steps from the dance style of native Indians and former slaves.
Mind the Step was formed in 1990 by a group of dancers wanting to “do something different “ and they have been performing our unique style of Appalachian dancing ever since. They choreograph all their own dances using traditional Appalachian clogging, stepping and flatfooting styles.
JD & Folk
Jake and Dan were originally taught Appalachian Flatfooting by Sue Coe and then Ira Bertstein and have taken what they learnt and mixed with a little bit of tap and whatever pops into their heads at the time – which shows in their relaxed, musical and often funny (though rarely planned) routines.
Oakenhoof are a Folk Arts organisation from Littleborough in Lancashire. Always a wonderful presence!
Ryburn Longsword is a team of Longsword dancers based in Ripponden near Halifax, we started in 1994. They dance traditional Longsword dances from villages across Yorkshire and some others which they have created themselves. Their dances are performed by five, six or eight dancers in a circle, dancing over or under one of the swords, and a characteristic feature of each dance is the “Lock” where swords are intertwined in one of a variety of shapes.
Ryburn Longsword has been dancing since 1994. Some of their dances are traditional and come from villages across Yorkshire; others have been created by members of the group.
A mixed border Morris side who like dancing, waving big sticks about and yelling. They were formed in 2006 and ages range from 20 to 73.
Based in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, White Rose originally formed in the autumn of 1953 by a number of Leeds University Morris Men and others who wished to form a non-university side. White Rose Morris men met initially in the Burley Road scout headquarters and were helped by Ron Smedley, the EFDSS Yorkshire Area Organiser. Co-operation continued with the Leeds University Men resulting in the joint hosting of the 53rd Morris Ring Meeting in Leeds in 1956 although it was to be 1959 before White Rose were admitted as a member side into the Morris Ring. We’re very pleased to have these festival regulars with us!
Sheffield City Morris
Formed in 1975, the world famous Sheffield City Morris aim to make Morris dancing an interesting spectacle in an urban environment and keep it going as a living tradition. They perform their Medup tradition, some Bampton and some novel Upton on Severn style dances. They are famous for their green trousers, singing and their Yorkshire sense of fun. Enjoy the show!
Lady Bay Revellers
Lady Bay Revellers are a mixed Cotswold side formed in Nottingham in 1992. They dance a number of Cotswold traditions and this year will be focusing on Kirtlington (amongst others) having attended a Kirtlington Morris workshop at Whitby Festival a couple of years ago. They try and do at least 3 or 4 festival weekends each year and are really looking forward to their first visit to Todmorden.
Rhubarb Tarts Molly Dancers hail from the famous Rhubarb Triangle of West Yorkshire. Before the First World War farm workers would dress up in disguise, often in women’s clothing, in the depths of winter to cadge money and sustenance during the difficult lean times, dancing and playing music at the ‘big houses’. Last recorded in the Cambridgeshire Fens it has strong parallels with East Yorkshire Plough Stotts and Plough Monday festivities.
Rhubarb Tarts aim to enlighten folk about the Molly tradition and also the amazing medicinal properties of rhubarb! Watch out for the cast of characters, The Reverend, Martha our Molly, The Cowman are just a few of the delectable Tarts dressed mainly in pinks and greens.