The Bay Area Country Dance Society Website

This page is: ceilidh

Regularly-Scheduled English Ceilidh Dance Series

The BACDS ceilidh dance series is on indefinite hiatus.

Oakland (formerly Berkeley)

English ceilidh emerged from the folk clubs and pubs of 1970s England, a time when groups such as Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span, and Pentangle were exploring the fringes where Folk, Rock, and Blues met. Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span co-founder Ashley Hutchings formed the Albion Band, one of the earliest folk rock bands to perform at English barn and country dance venues. This group, which later included the likes of Martin Carthy and John Kirkpatrick, became the model for later ceilidh bands, as well as rock groups such as Oysterband. English ceilidh dances are popular events at English universities, folk festivals, and pubs where students and other young people enjoy the exciting hybrid of folk and rock music and unusual but usually simple country dances.

In the United States, English ceilidh dances can be found at camps such as English Week at Pinewoods, BACDS English Week at Mendocino, and BACDS Fall Weekend, and at festivals such as the San Francisco Free Folk Festival.

Oakland Ceilidh Dance

Our ceilidh dances feature lively dances led by longtime local dance teachers and ceilidh leaders from England; the dances themselves often feature uncomplicated yet vigorous stepping, such as step-hops, skipping, polka steps, and rant steps. The tunes draw from the English tradition, and are played by bands made up of bay area English and morris musicians. The series is scheduled irregularly.

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