Special Event?  Have a CEILIDH.

A CEILIDH is an evening of traditional dancing, with instructions given by a “Caller”.  You don’t need to know the dances – it’s the Caller’s job to guide you through the figures.

Sometimes, people call it a Barn Dance or Folk Dance.  I prefer the term Ceilidh as this is less likely to be confused with Country ‘n’ Western or Line Dancing.  Usually, the dress code is casual (high heels are a big disadvantage).  The dances will be a mixture of energetic gallops and graceful turns – rooted in traditional forms, mainly English and Scottish. And often there’s an interval for a supper – which might be anything from a simple Ploughman’s Lunch to a full buffet.  American Suppers (where everyone brings a plate of food and the fare is shared by all) are popular, and keep the expenses down.

What does it cost?  It depends mainly on the music source.  The cheapest option is to have recorded music.  For larger events, you’ll probably want a live band – and the cost varies according to size and how far they have to travel. Then of course there’s the cost of hiring a venue.  I can’t help you with that, but I can give a quote for caller and (if required) a band.

Sibby began calling in Hampshire, having become a popular figure on the local folk scene through his appearances at folk song clubs and his regular programmes on BBC Radio Solent.  He was soon to be seen at many festivals, including Sidmouth.

Then he moved to Essex and work commitments led to a temporary retirement from folk dancing…until the Bursledon Village Band asked him to call at their 20th birthday celebration.  The bug bit.  Sibby returned to calling, and within a few years became just as busy as ever.  Now his bookings send him all over the country and abroad.  He has also returned to the festival circuit: Sidmouth, Broadstairs, Whitby, Chippenham, Eastbourne, Bideford and others.  For a while, he was also the Dance Teacher of the Leigh-on-Sea Caledonian Dancers. From 2015 to 2018, Sibby ran CPRS (Castle Point Running Set) – a series of workshops for invited dancers.

His repertoire ranges from barn dance through celidh to club level and advanced – including playford, contra, Scottish and originals.  His 33rd book of dances was released in 2019.  Sibby is an avid collector of dances, and has over 15,000 notations in his database.  His own dances are an eclectic mix of styles.

Sibby is also an accomplished ballroom dancer and has been awarded the gold medal in both ballroom & latin-american categories by IDTA (International Dance Teachers’ Association). Anne & Sibby are also accomplished in modern sequence dancing; they often attend Hamptons Sports & Leisure club in Chelmsford on friday afternoons.

Whatever the occasion, Sibby adds humour and originality to the favourite standards of the folk dance world.


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