Oxford International folk dance group
Traditional dances from Europe and beyond...
We are a group of people who love the dances from Europe, from slightly further East into Russia, Turkey, Israel etc and occasionally further afield. Different cultures produce different styles of music and dance, so the variety that we offer is large. Not everyone likes all the dances, but there is no obligation to dance throughout the evening (although most do because they can't resist!).
We have the great advantage of several leaders, all committed to showing us a variety of dance styles. They teach in different ways, so everybody absorbs their enthusiasm variously. Comments on the dances offered are welcomed. At the end of each month we have a party during which we dance our favourites of the month with only brief reminders (and stop slightly early for a little nibble and chat). Oddly, every party is completely different and every one is joyous.
A few times each year, we have a visiting teacher who will introduce a small number of dances (typically four or five) in the evening but teach them thoroughly. This is one way in which the group increases its repertoire.
As the group has been going for over forty years, we have a huge repertoire, some of which we dance occasionally, and some of which we repeat frequently. In most dances we hold hands in a line or circle and beginners are encouraged informally to learn the steps and sequences by joining in the dance. Most people usually return regularly for more fun. Every evening of dancing brings a mixture of experienced and inexperienced dancers, so nobody needs to feel self-conscious about their level of expertise. It is as likely to be an old hand who goes wrong or a beginner who says that a dance was brilliant, as the other way around.
Once a year we visit the Archway group and share some of our dances with them. This is the only demonstration that we undertake and, although very rewarding, there is no obligation on anyone to attend.
Come and try us out! We welcome newcomers, and all of us help to make our group cohesive. Where else can you have so much pleasure for so little money?
History of the group
The group was founded in 1976 by Paul Chow as a Scottish dance group. He had learnt Scottish Country Dancing in Hong Kong (and later taught it to Arabs in Israel!). At that time Paul was a postulant at Blackfriars and the group met in the monasitic library (it has an excellent wooden floor).
In 1987 the repertoire had increased aas had its membership and it adopted its current name.
Paul Chow at the 40th anniversary party.
Diana Porteus showing the club's mascot at the 40th anniversary party.