English Dance Musicians Course at English Week
August 3 - 10, 2013
Held during English Dance Week at Pinewoods.
Is there still room?
For up-to-date info about availability and wait lists,
see our main Dance & Music Camps page.
Shira Kammen has spent well over half her life exploring the worlds of early and traditional music as a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist. A member for many years of Ensembles Alcatraz, Project Ars Nova and Medieval Strings, she has also worked with Sequentia, Hesperion XX, the Boston Camerata and the King's Noyse, and is the founder of Class V Music, an ensemble dedicated to performance on river rafting trips. She has performed and taught in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Israel, Morocco, Latvia, Russia, Japan and on the Colorado and Rogue rivers. Shira happily collaborated with singer/storyteller John Fleagle for 15 years and performs now with a diversity of collaborators, including storyteller Patrick Ball, the English country dance band Roguery, medieval ensembles Fortune's Wheel and Tapestry, and the California Revels, among many others. She occasionally has played on movie and television soundtracks, when weird medieval instruments are called for.
In this intensive English Country Dance Musicians Course, comprising two periods each day, we'll work with the musical tools and experience you already have, and delve as deeply as possible into the many facets of this wonderful and varied music. English dance music can use skills from a variety of musical backgrounds -- contra, classical, baroque, medieval, renaissance, jazz, different aspects of folk musics, your own hybrids and sense of musical style, even choral part singing (and more!).
The course will make use of practical musical theory, improvisation and musicianship exercises, exploring ways to vary melodies, find and develop harmonies, bass lines, chords, rhythmic approaches, obbligatos, etc., practice in arranging, and intensive work in small groups, supervised and occasionally unsupervised. We'll work by ear as well as by paper.
We'll also look at different historical settings of English Country Dance music. These range from settings of the Renaissance Playford collections, dances set to melodies by Purcell and his contemporaries, likewise some of the classical music adapted for English Dance, elegant 'Jane-Austin-ish' tunes, as well as gnarly versions of folk and ballad tunes. We'll also spend a little time composing in different styles. A sense of musical adventure is necessary! Must be able to read music.
This course is limited to 12 participants to ensure plenty of opportunity for active participation. Participants must be able to read music. If it is oversubscribed on March 18, there will be a lottery weighted toward people with some experience playing in a dance situation and to balance melody and rhythm instruments. Please clearly indicate if you would like to attend English Dance Week, if you did not get a space in the course. Scholarships are available.
|7:45-8:15||Hot Breakfast served cafeteria style|
|8:15-8:45||Cold Breakfast Coffee/Tea available|
|9:00-10:00||English Dance Musicians Course|
ECD Style and Mechanics through the Modern Lens (Adv): Joanna Reiner
Music by: Karen Axelrod, Shira Kammen, Anna Patton
At many of our ECD events, we focus on the social aspects of this dance form we love. Rarely do we have the opportunity to focus on how we dance in addition to learning choreography: body mechanics, phrasing, dancing in concert with others, etc. This class will use examples from the modern ECD repertoire to examine these often-neglected aspects of the dance to increase your skills, confidence and enjoyment. Knowledge of ECD figures, concepts and basic repertoire is expected.
ECD The Marvelous Classics (Adv): Brad Foster
Music by: Karen Axelrod, Peter Barnes, Aldo Fabrizi
Cecil Sharp and others set the stage for the modern English dance revival by interpreting a large body of historical dances in a particular style. I loved doing these dances when I learned them in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and I love doing them today. Some, like Step Stately, have seen very recent resurgent interest. Others, like Argeers and Dargason, are equally wonderful but not as well known today. In this class I will present a selection of the marvelous advanced classics of the first half of the 20th Century, along with an occasional dance outside that scope for variety.
ECD Classic Repertoire and Style (Beg/Int): Rich Jackson
Music by: Peter Barnes, Paul Woodiel
We will concentrate on two basic areas, classic repertoire and dance style. We will visit many of the dances that have lasted the years as favorites as well as new "classics". We will work on dancing with the beat and with the phrase as well as dance movement. We will talk about skipping, waltzing, and, if people are interested, we can work on the rant and polka steps as well.
English Clog (Adv): Stephanie Besford
Music by: Alex Cumming
Clog or step dancing in the north of England is most commonly performed in one of two styles. The Northumberland and Durham style remains a strong part of North Eastern culture, whilst the style from Lancashire is said to emulate the sound of the cotton mills, with the steps most commonly performed having been written by either Pat Tracey or Sam Sherry. Steph's own variety of clog is most closely aligned with the Lancashire style, in particular the dances of Sam Sherry, but having spent many years living in the North East, she has also been influenced by the those traditions. In these classes Steph will largely be teaching the Lancashire steps of Sam Sherry and others, but will also look at how rhythms can be developed and styles merged to create a more modern form of dance.
|12:00-12:30||Swimming, Bookstore staffed|
ECD Open Mic/Open Band (For all): Joanna Reiner, Aldo Fabrizi
A chance for you to call dances and/or play music under the constructive guidance of Joanna (coordinating callers) and Aldo (coordinating musicians), plus another opportunity to dance, to the calling and music of your peers.
North West Morris (For all): Tom Besford
Music by: Tom Kruskal
North West Morris dancing is derived from the mill towns of Lancashire. On holidays such as St George's Day or for local Rushcart bearing traditions, many North West Morris teams would meet and process through the streets alongside their rushcart, rosequeens and local dignitaries. North West Morris is characterised by being big, loud, colourful and precise. As Tom is originally a Lancashire lad, he grew up learning the dances of once of the earliest revival sides, the Horwich Prize Medal Morris Men. In these classes, Tom will be teaching a selection of collected dances still performed in Horwich today.
ECD Choreographer’s Discussion Group (For all): Rich Jackson
Music by: Melissa Running
We will start off talking about what makes a good dance and dancing a few to see what works and what doesn't. From there we will see what the class participants have to present. Bring some new figures, new tunes, and new ideas and we will all help make new dances.
Harmony Singing (For all): Alex Cumming
This song workshop offers you a chance to learn some lesser known English songs and sing in four part harmony. Participants will also have an opportunity to explore and experiment with vocal arrangements within a group setting.
|3:00-4:00||English Dance Musicians Course|
|4:00-4:30||Tea, Swimming, Bookstore staffed|
ECD Modern Medley (For all): Brad Foster
Music by: Peter Barnes, Paul Woodiel
Modern compositions from the great dance authors of the 20th and 21st Centuries, from the "old" and early modern of Maggot Pie to the very recent compositions of Gary Roodman and others. For all.
Longsword (For all): Tom Besford
Music by: Tom Kruskal
Longsword dancing is possibly the oldest form of traditional dance with examples coming from right across the European continent and beyond. Yorkshire longsword is the most widely notated tradition of hilt and point sword dancing and probably the most regularly performed. In these workshops, Tom will teach from this tradition but specifically demonstrate that longsword, when done well and correctly is a fascinating, challenging and entertaining dance.
Deliver the Rhythm! - Playing Dance Tunes with Oomph and Grace (For all): Anna Patton
This class is for dance musicians who want to work on the rhythmic aspects of their playing in a playful, exploratory way. There are so many different ways to play rhythmically: even sweeping legatos can be rhythmic. How can we create more rhythmic variation? How can a melody player find a niche in the rhythm section and vice versa? How to approach dragging or speeding tendencies? How to deliver the most satisfying kinds of oomph for different kinds of choreography? Rhythm-based improvisation!? Come explore these eternal questions and more.
|5:30-6:30||Swimming, Bookstore staffed, camper-initiated parties|
|8:00-10:45||Evening Dance Party (starting with For Those Who Know)|