[events are not strictly in chronological order]

National Folk Festival is delighted to announce the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award.

Huge congratulations and fabulous news for dancers -:

Sydney dancing couple awarded #ourNFF‘s highest honour.
The National Folk Festival is delighted to announce that the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award for their significant commitment and contribution to enriching folk culture in Australia has been awarded to Bill and Margaret Ellen Winnett. Together they have shared their absolute love of traditional Irish dancing with people both in Australia and overseas.

Click here for full details about dancing at NFF 2018


Cobargo Folk Festival – 2 – 4 March 2018

Cobargo Folk Festival

Click here for pdf of Full Cobargo programme


Research into Convict music and dance.

A village dance in an inn_1790_nypl.digitalcollections_smaller

Queensland University of Technology media release about this research.

Also visit the website



Australia Day Dance in Brisbane

Bradley dancing with strangers detail.jpg

Colonial Regency Dance.  Farmers Hall, 30 Main Street, Samford, Brisbane
7:30 – 9:30pm + tea/coffee and cake  $10
For more information visit:

2018 Events in Melbourne

2018 Melbourne Ball.JPGMelbourne Bush Beginners

2018 Contra Jan 18th Flyer



Jane Austen Ball

21 October 2017

Sandgate Town Hall, Brisbane


Promo flyer


Brisbane Colonial Ball

Colonial Ball brisbane 2017


Bruce’s visit was a great success.   Many thanks for visiting.

Bruce Hamilton to visit in June 2017

bruce_hamilton_24 – 8th   Melbourne

Dance workshop with George
Dance workshop with Coral Eden

8th  Sydney:

Dance workshop with Margaret Swait’s English Country Dance Group

9 -12th Bundanoon 

  Bundanoon Dancefest

12th & 13th  Newcastle

with Margaret Kenning’s group

 17th & 18th Cairns

with the Archdeacons
evening dance andmorning workshop

Bruce Hamilton is a well-respected teacher of English and Scottish dancing with 45 years’ experience. He has launched classes, trained teachers, coached performing groups and adjudicated festivals.

A retired research scientist, Bruce is always looking for new ways to understand and present ideas. He tries to weave many threads besides technique and choreography into his lessons. Music, sociability and physiology are his current favorites. People often say they come away with things to think about and ways to grow. His weekend teacher’s class also draws high praise.

Bruce lives in Menlo Park, California with his wife Jo and as many dogs and cats as her rescue operation happens to have on hand. He runs a biweekly English dance class, and is the recent past president of the Country Dance and Song Society.


BUSH DANCE poster May 2017 Ganggangs jpeg


Walk, Stretch or Dance? Dancing May Be Best for the Brain

A new study that compared the neurological effects of country dancing with those of walking and other activities suggests that there may be something unique about learning a social dance. The demands it places on the mind and body could make it unusually potent at slowing some of the changes inside our skulls that seem otherwise inevitable with aging.


Monaro Folk Society Canberra Contra Club after Easter

Tues 18 April, 2017

Please come along and share the dancing to the fabulous music of the Canberra Contra Club musicians and our wonderful callers.  Dancing starts at 7:30.
No need to bring a partner, but you could bring a friend to share the fun.
The usual prices:  $6 members, $8 others, second night free.
North Canberra Baptist Church:

Contact person: Linda 0437 350 254  If you use the reply button on this email, I will see your reply, but not for a few weeks.

Canberra Contra Club is an activity of the Monaro Folk Society


Monaro Folk Society English Country Dance workshop prior to NFF.

Tues 11 April, 2017

Dances from English Country, Playford (1650), Pride and Prejudice (1800), or Pat Shaw (contemporary).

The next MFS English Country Dance workshop is on the Tuesday prior to NFF, on Tues 11 April.  And we’ll be having live music from Ian and Sarah Bull (who starred at Bundanoon last year).  All dancers welcome, especially those arriving early for NFF.

Are you interested in exploring some different dances? And want to polish up your dance technique? Then please come along.
Workshops are twice a month – on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays, 7:30 – 9:30pm, at North Canberra Baptist Church Hall, 17 Condamine Street, Turner.
Cost  $7 for MFS members, $9 for non-members. Dances will be taught by Colin Towns.

Enquiries: Colin Towns 0417 020 615  <>

ADVANCE NOTICE:  On the Tuesday after Easter (18April) there will be the usual Contra, for anyone staying on after the National.



This year sees the centenary of Pat Shaw’s birth.  Pat Shaw was a giant of the folk dance world.  Is most famous dance in Australia is not doubt Levi Jackson Rag, with Margaret’s Waltz a close second.

It was his prodigious output of dances in all styles and levels of complexity which has led him to be labelled the Twentieth Century Dancing Master. He took his dances to Wales, Scotland, Holland and the U.S.A. as well as all over England.

The Pat Shaw Legacy Group is encouraging people around the world to register the Pat Shaw dances they are celebrating this year.  Check the site at


Cobargo Folk Festival

cobargo-dance-post-card-2017-updatedDear Dancers,

The organisers of the Cobargo Folk Festival are making a determined
effort this year to implement an on-going series of improvements to the
dance program at the festival. The organisers hope this will attract
more dancers to the festival and that this will in turn lead to further
suggestions for improvements. They are prepared to invest time and
resources into making this work. This is a refreshing attitude towards
dance and we should, if possible, attend and enjoy the dancing and let
the organisers know it is appreciated and is bringing new people to the

Previous complaints have largely centred on the dance venue. This year
the School of Arts Hall in the village has been booked for the main
evening dances on Friday and Saturday. It is a lovely venue with a good
floor. The dance workshop tent on the main site will be used during the
day and has been moved to a more central location.

Evening dances will feature Bush Dancing and Irish Set Dancing his year.
If there is sufficient support from the dance community we hope to
extend this in future years to include other popular genres such as
Contra or Scottish. The workshops cover a good range of styles from the
Anglo-celtic, Latin, African and American repertoires.

The festival runs from Friday 24th February – Sunday 26th February.
Full details can be found at

We have attached the current working dance program plus a postcard flier
that you can print off and stick on your fridge door or shoe bag to
remind you to come along. cobargo-dance-program

We look forward to meeting you on a dance floor in Cobargo.

Best regards,
Fran Robertson, Paul & Leslie Carr


National Folk Festival meeting

Meeting of ACT ASDN reps with Pam Merrigan, Program Director, National Folk Festival

10.30 -12 am, Monday 5 December 2016


Pam Merrigan:           Program Director, NFF

Roger Gifford:           ACT Ctte Rep, ASDN

Ray Mulligan:             ACT Ctte Rep ASDN

The NFF in 2017 will feature two dance venues, as has been the case since 2013.

Pam Merrigan still holds an aspiration for a third dance venue once NFF finances improve sufficiently.  However, given the smaller site footprint now adopted for financial and security reasons, it is most likely that a third dance venue would be placed in a large marquee. But that is not likely to happen soon.

1st Venue

In 2017 the Coorong will again be the main Dance venue. The fit-out in 2017 will feature drapes to absorb sound as it did in 2016. This is expensive but the sound quality that it produces is considered essential to the type and quality of dance programmed.

2nd Venue

The Piazza will be for display and smaller dances. The floor area will be the same as 2016 and it will be in the same position within the performance precinct; behind the grandstand.

Program content

We were informed of what seems to be developing as an extensive and varied dance program. However, the NFF plans to release information about the program for 2017 in stages and details are embargoed until the NFF’s press release in January.

The Program Director informed us of an initiative which she referred to as Fringe World. The ACT Government is funding this initiative in 2017. This will see a tent placed on the oval, outside the entertainment zone, where it will seek to engage with a younger set of patrons. This initiative will include some emphasis on dance as part of its remit.


ASDN concerns

We let Pam know of ASDN’s concern that the advertising of acts seems to not promote dance and dance bands much.

Social Media

  • – She explained that NFF relies heavily on the social media for communicating information and advertising to the public; its effectiveness relies on the extent to which recipients ‘like’ and ‘share’ these feeds on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  Unfortunately, only one recipient in the dance-scene seems to be doing that.   The message is that for those who use those social media is to consider spreading the NFF advertising feeds about dance further through their social media groups.


  • – The other major promotional outlet for NFF is through its E-News, with distribution to its in-house email list.  Pam noted the ASDN’s wish that more emphasis be placed on dance and dance bands at the NFF in these promotional newsletters.

Press and Radio

  • – With regard to the mass media she regretted that NFF doesn’t have much control over what the newspapers, radio and TV promote, rather they tend to emphasise high profile groups that they think will be attractive to their audiences.


shakespearean hokey pokey————————————————————————————————————————————-

== May 2015 == Vale Peter Ellis

It is with much sadness that we have to report that Peter Ellis passed away on 18 May, a short time after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He will be missed by many in the dancing and music community. His funeral will be held at the Mulqueen Family Chapel, 15-25 Bridge St, Bendigo, Victoria on Monday 25 May at 11:00am. Regards from Jan and Vic Orloff

Peter Ellis was the first Chairperson of AFSD which later became ASDN. He wrote many articles re the history of dance and music – some of which are shown on the page ‘Articles”.

A Tribute to Peter Ellis – The Downfall of Paris (a dance)

  • Peter Ellis was a tremendous mentor, valuing and encouraging my research into early colonial dance and the Australian step dance tradition when very few people seemed to be noticing. He hugely encouraged the continuing research and we were in constant communication about many aspects of dance heritage.
  • He was particularly keen to revive the dance The Downfall of Paris and planned to include it on a CD of Australian Regency dances which we were working on when he died. I was a little reluctant to approach the dance as it looked long (64 bars) and involved, and perhaps not suited to modern tastes. However, Peter told me it was one of his most favourite tunes, so I decided to tackle it. It is a lovely dance, flowing and eloquent, not complicated, and a great pleasure to such an exquisite tune.
  • We will present The Downfall of Paris in the Dancing into Battle workshop at the Bundanoon DanceFest this weekend. This workshop features dances associated with Waterloo, the famous Duchess of Richmond’s ball on the eve of the battle, and the Australia connections.
  • Posted by: