On Sunday, July 24 the East Anglian Traditional Music Trust presents its annual celebration of our local stepdancing tradition at Stepdance Day, this year in a new location in the village of Occold, near Eye.
Together the Beaconsfield Arms and the Village Hall make a great new home for this popular event, which has run in Worlingworth for the last ten years.
Stepdancing is an informal, improvised dance, in which the feet make percussive sounds on the floor, or on a small board.
It is not a stage dance, but is part of a social event where groups of people meet to entertain themselves with traditional music, singing and dancing, often in a pub.
Events on the 24th start with an informal workshop at 1.45, followed by two competitions, music and merry-making!
Anyone wishing to join in with the dancing needs hard-soled shoes and a sense of rhythm, and all ages are welcome to take part: previous competition winners have varied from 11 years old to over 70! The event, which is free, also includes live traditional music. Real ale and food are available during the day.
This year, in addition to trophies for the two competitions, there is a new award, in memory of Percy West O’Connor, a very fine stepdancer who passed away in 2015 and is much missed in the stepdancing community across the UK.
This is the 17th year in which the Steve Monk Memorial Stepdance Competition will be held.
Steve lived just outside Framlingham, and was a musician, singer and stepdancer who always encouraged others to join in, and so the aim of this competition is to encourage absolutely everyone to have a go and includes a prize for the best newcomer.
The aim of the Font Whatling Traditional Stepdance Competition (now in its 9thyear) is to provide a challenge to the more experienced traditional stepdancers, and for the audience to enjoy seeing the cream of the region’s talent.
Font Whatling lived in nearby Worlingworth and was a well-known figure around central Suffolk, entertaining with his band The 3 Ws.
In the 1980s and 90s he was a member of the traditional music group The Old Hat Concert Party and appeared at festivals and events from Devon to Gateshead.
Further information about the event is available on www.eatmt.org.uk or from the East Anglian Traditional Music Trust on 01449 771090.