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Spring Equinox Folk Ball and Festival

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Event description

A very special weekend of popular social dance, extraordinary music, with workshops and performances heralds both the turning of the seasons and the completion of Caroline Plummer Fellow Michael Parmenter’s Otago University Fellowship.

Two Folk Balls, three intensive workshops in dance genres not normally included in the Balfolk repertoire and an evening of social exchange with live music and dancing will provide opportunities to celebrate the arrival of Spring and the re-emergence of social conviviality after the long dusk of Winter.

Historic central Dunedin will host all events of the Spring Equinox Folk Ball and Festival. Burns Hall, just next door to the towering First Church, will be the site for opening event, the Spring Equinox Folk Ball on Friday 23 September.

With dance caller Michael Parmenter and music from the popular ensemble Folkalyptica, the evening will combine popular partner-dances such as mazurka, scottish, waltz and polka with group bourrées, contra dances, rounds and reels. The evening will be rounded out with performances by our workshop instructors, dancers from Balfolk Dunedin and a very special supper.

Saturday offers a full day with two intensive workshops and an evening social event: Mazurkas at Maggies. The workshops will cover American Contra Dance with Bernadette Berry, and Swedish Polska dance with Michael Parmenter and Kate Grace. Both workshops, with accompanying live music, will take place in the historic Bus Station Social Room at Toitū Otago Settlers Museum.

Mazurkas at Maggies will be an opportunity for conviviality, music and dancing. The musicians of Folkalyptica will present an evening of mazurkas, schottisches, waltzes, blues, rags and reels in the lovely venue of Morning Magpie, Lower Stuart Street.  Food and drinks available for purchase.

The dancing continues at Toitū on Sunday with a morning workshop and the afternoon Josephine Mini-Bal . The morning’s blues dance workshop will be led by Sibby Dillon and Kieran Ford. The Social Room will resound to the sound of the classic blues recordings associated with this foundational partner-dance form which reflects the African-American experience of suffering transformed into joy.

Festival Events.

Friday 23rd of September

Spring Equinox Folk Ball

Burns Hall,  415 Lower Moray Place (beside First Church)

8:00 pm - 10:30 pm

A wonderful evening of group and partner dances with live music from the irrepressible musicians of   Folkalyptica. All dances introduced by Balfolk Dunedin founder Michael Parmenter to ensure you can confidently navigate the dance floor. The evening includes supper and performances from the festival workshop teachers and dancers from Balfolk Dunedin.

7:30 pm.  Free introduction to some basic dances to get you started.

Admission: $30

Saturday 24th of September

American Contra Dance Workshop

with Bernadette Berry and music by Maplewood

Historic Bus-station Social Room, Toitū Otago Settler Museum

10:00 am to 12:00 noon

Contra dance is an American form of social dance adapted from English Country Dances and French Quadrilles. It is usually more relaxed and less prescribed. This workshop will teach the basic moves alongside ways of adapting and improvising to make the dances your own.

Admission: $20

Saturday 24th September

Polska workshop

With Michael Parmenter and Kate Grace. Music by Anna Bowen and Alan McCulloch

Historic Bus-station Social Room, Toitū Otago Settler Museum

2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Not to be confused with polka, Polska is a popular Swedish dance dating back to the 17th Century. Accompanied by gorgeous fiddle music, Polska comes in many different styles. In this introduction to Polska we are focusing on Slängpolska, a very accessible walking and turning dance.

Admission: $20

Saturday 24th September

Mazurkas at Maggies with Folkalyptica

Morning Magpie 46 Lower Stuart St.

8:00 pm till 10:30 pm

Our wonderful musicians Folkalyptica present an evening of mazurkas, scottishes , waltzes, blues, rags and reels, providing an opportunity for dance and conviviality in the lovely venue of Morning Magpie

Food and drinks available for purchase.

Sunday 25th September

Blues Dance Workshop

With Sibby Dillon and Kieran Ford.

Historic Bus-station Social Room Toitū Otago Settler Museum

10:00 am – 12:00 noon

Blues dance is a foundational partner-dance form that dates from the early period of jazz music and dance.  Blues dance is a collection of dances and movement styles that grew out of the African-American experience as expressed in blues music: the transformation of suffering into joy.

Admission: $20

Sunday 25th September 

Josephine Mini-Bal

With Michael Parmenter. Music by Catgut and Steel

Josephine Foyer, Toitū Otago Settlers Museum

2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Join Michael Parmenter, the Balfolk Dunedin community and the wonderful musicians of Catgut and Steel to celebrate the inauguration of Spring and take the opportunity to spend a Sunday afternoon in the gorgeous light-filled space of the Josephine Foyer. Suitable for participants of all dance levels; each dance is introduced with a brief instruction to enable you to have maximum fun on the dance floor.

Admission free.

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