Folk dance Remixed is a company I have performed with since 2013. I remember being freshly graduated from my Dance Degree and just being high on life and wanting to Dance and spread that joy and passion. I was approached by Natasha Khamjani who I have known for years, I did a lot of dance projects as a teen and she taught a handful of them. She already had a workshop programme in place with Kerry Fletcher who specialises in English Folk Dance, called ‘Street Dance The Maypole’ and wanted to devise a show that fuses Street Dance and traditional English Folk Dance. As soon as I heard fusion I was in! The piece that was created was called ‘Step Hop House’. ‘Step Hop House’ is a piece where we have live musicians. It is not just a fusion of dance styles but also a collaboration between dance and music, which I LOVE!
Folk Dance Remixed is a fresh, quirky, colourful and magical collision of traditional and Hip Hop dance and music: high-energy, with a unique remix of Maypole, Clogging, Ceilidh, Street, House and Breakdance with a hint of African & Bollywood… to a live soundtrack of fiddle & beat boxing – this is Folk and Street Dance like you’ve never seen it before!
Led by Artistic Directors Kerry Fletcher and Natasha Khamjani, we rediscover old traditions through contemporary forms, and take it out on the streets through performances, Street Dance the Maypole workshops and participatory Ceilidh Jams.
‘Step Hop House’ was created in the Summer of 2013 and we had a successful summer tour. Folk Dance Remixed were partnered with the ‘English Folk Dance and Song Society’ (EFDSS) and received a Grants for the Arts Award, which was also supported by public funding by The National Lottery through Arts Council England. The cast were the most diverse cast I have ever worked with. Everyone has specific dance styles they specialised in and at the same time we were learning English Folk Dance. On the Summer Tour 2013 we performed at the ‘Stratford Rising Festival’ and ‘Sidmouth Folk Week’. When we performed in Stratford for the ‘Stratford Rising Festival’ we felt comfortable as a lot of us had performed in the venue Stratford Circus numerous times and have a connection with East London Dance who are based there. ‘Sidmouth Folk Week’ was completely different as it was a full on Folk festival and for a lot of us the first time we were performing folk dance, there was a lot of pressure.
Stratford Rising Festival 2013- Irven Lewis Photography
Sidmouth Folk Festival 2013- Chris Walshaw and Frances Watt Photography
In 2014 we did a number of shorter shows of ‘Step Hop House’. The piece was revised and we performed at events such as ‘The Feast of St George’ in Trafalgar Square where we were broadcast on London Live, showing the presenter how to dance on the Maypole. A performance I will always remember is when we performed at the ‘Glasgow Green Commonwealth Games festival’. Not only was I very ill but it was 28 degrees in Glasgow! I have never been in Scotland when it has been that warm We performed in Regent Street for Big Dance on the Big Dance Bus and did a Ceilidh Jam, where we get the public to join in and dance together it is so much fun! We also performed in Borough Market where it is always packed with families and the children love the show and we get them to do a ‘Street Dance the Maypole’ workshop.
The Feast of St George- Trafalgar Square 2014
Big Dance Bus- Regent Street 2014- Charlene Davis Photography
Borough market 2014-
In 2015 Folk Dance Remixed were granted a second Grants for the Arts Award from Arts Council England. This was amazing news, as it gave us more time to really develop ‘Step Hop House’ and take it to a new level. Our costumes were revamped, we learnt new sections for the show, we were buzzing! The funding allowed us the time and space to develop ‘Step Hop House’ which was really important to the entire cast. The change from the smaller show in 2014 to a bigger show in 2015 was vast. The 2015 Summer Tour had a musical director and a lot more musicians involved. Through the rehearsal process we became a tight unit, this was great as we were going to spend a lot of time together on the Summer Tour. We performed at around 25 festivals and events and the show was around 30 minutes. My cardiovascular health got a lot better! We even camped in between shows from time to time, which was a really fun experience. The video at the top of the post shows highlights of the Summer Tour 2015. I must say the summer of 2015 was one of my favourites, touring is so much fun especially when your with your friends
Summer Tour 2015
Urban Village Fete at Greenwich Peninsula 2015- Chris Walshaw Photography
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park 2015- Chris Walshaw Photography
Camden Lock Live 2015- Talie Eigland Photography
Royal Opera House 2015- Kajtek Witkowski Photography
The Festival of Thrift 2015- Tracy Kidd Photography
City Diversions- Chelmsford 2015
Borough Market 2015- Talie Eigland Photography
Poplar Harca 2015
Towersey Festival 2015- Chris Walshaw Photography
Cecil Sharp House 2015- Talie England
The 2015 Summer Tour was AMAZING! What I love about the show is the fact we connect with people through all the generations. Children, adults and the older generation all enjoy watching us. Seeing their faces light up whilst I am performing is incredible. The fact that we are making people happy and entertaining them is a great feeling. The Folk Dance Remixed team are so lovely and everyone helps each other out. Natasha and Kerry the Artistic Directors allow us to be ourselves and grow within the show. We have performed all over the UK and the company will continue to grow. We have performed on every surface you can imagine and in a number of challenging weather conditions, this does not bother us because we are having so much fun!
I get asked a lot of questions about touring. Touring is amazing because you discover new places and you are doing what you love at the same time as hanging out with amazing creative people. I couldn’t ask for more. My advice would be if you are passionate about something and you want to turn it into a career, you CAN. It is hard work, but nothing is going to be easy. I did it and I can say it was all worth it; I wouldn’t change a thing.
I have not taken the photos in this post. Photographers are named above and all photos are in ownership of Folk Dance Remixed. Folk Dance Remixed have shows coming in April and May 2016. If you are free do come along and make a day out of it All details are on the Folk Dance Remixed Website. Also add Folk Dance Remixed on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up to date with what we are up to and tour dates.
Thank you so much for reading my post. This is one that I hold dear as Dance is one of the biggest parts of my life. I am loving my Folk Dance Remixed jpurney so far and look forward to what’s to come in the future. Come and see us dance Comment below and let me know your thoughts. If you have any questions about my dance career do get in touch. I would love to hear from you.