Dance Reviews 2005



Saturday July 9th

Quite when Morris dancing became a part of English summers I don't know - but now I expect to see dancing sides strutting their stuff. Lucky for us all, then, that the Chapel Morris Men organised this day of dance which surfaced all over the town. Lucky for us, too, that we had a perfect day - warm, calm and relaxed.

For the dancers it might have been a bit on the warm side because - despite those that regard Morris dancing as an easy target for a joke - Morris dancing is strenuous fun. The presence in town of 11 dancing sides did mean they all got a bit of a rest. It also meant that that the different audiences (shoppers in Spring Gardens, visitors in the Pavilion Gardens) got a chance to see a variety of dance style.

There were dancers in clogs, taps and working boots. There were dances with sticks, handkerchiefs and knives. Costumes incorporated rags jackets, pinafores, feathers, flowers and bells.

Amongst the crowd-pleasers were The Powder Kegs from Whaley Bridge dancing their exuberant brand of Border Morris. Dressed in black coats trailing strips of red rag tatters and 'blacked-up' - traditionally to disguise the dancers' identity from local landowners and employers - The Powder Kegs whooped it up.

Border style dancing is, perhaps, on the rock 'n' roll end of the Morris spectrum and may well engage some young dancers. The Powder Kegs are a mixed dance side - men and women dance together dancing the same steps and movements. Dancing in a similar style was a side from Whitstable, Kent, who included 7-years-olds in their line-up.

Several sides dancing today came from the Cotswold Morris tradition - which is the style most of us are familiar with. There were the Chapel Men and the Derby, women side Chip of the Old, for example.

The north-west tradition of dancing was represented by Chorlton Green Morris dancers wearing clogs. From Nottingham came Whip The Cat dancing in 'taps' performing intricate Rapper sword dances.

Both Chapel-en-le-Frith Morris Men and The Powder Kegs are recruiting; contact Philip Jupp (01663 735387) for Chapel and Graham Kennett (01663 734328) for The Powder Kegs. Maybe next year you'll be dancing rather than watching!


LATINISIMO - Salsa Party


George Hotel, Sunday July 17, 7pm

Buxton salsa dancers have had to put up with a succession of different venues over the last months pending the redecoration of the Railway Hotel, but last night local dance teachers Linval Smith and his partner Justine teamed up with the Cheadle-based Latin American group Latinisimo! to give us all a real treat - a steamy summer party with excellent live music from Venezuelan and Cuban musicians.

Some fifty people crammed into the back room of The George for a well-structured evening that catered for all abilities with workshops for beginners and advanced dancers, as well as plenty of opportunities to get on the dance floor and simply salsa the night away.

As last year, a particular highlight of the evening was the demonstration, this time from our own energetic Linval and Justine. Dancing with Justine must be a little like dancing with a live eel, such is the extraordinary fluidity of her hip movements, and sinewy Linval has immense style, rhythm and strength, at one point lifting Justine so that it looked as if he might drop her on her head! Needless to say, this did not happen, and the routine progressed smoothly, combining sexy, close-contact dancing with semi-acrobatics and expressive solo moves.

For further information about Latinisimo! workshops check out, or for those who like their salsa closer to home, contact Linval and Justine at for news of their new season of classes at the Railway Hotel from September.

Stephanie Billen