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Dartmoor Step Dancing Project - Message from Project Coordinator Lisa Sture - Taking Steps: Discovering & Enjoying Our Dartmoor Stepdance Heritage
You may be wondering ... Why are we doing this project?

Stepdancing is a form of dancing where the feet tap out a rhythm to music and is allied to, but not the same as, clog dancing and a forerunner of Tap Dancing. Specifically what defines the tradition has not been studied. However, it was a popular social pastime, as well as a competitive activity involving prize money, something that would have been keenly fought over.

It is reported that at one time there were pubs on Dartmoor where 'everyone' was stepdancing, and there were a good number of villages across Dartmoor that held an annual stepdance competition.

These days it is not often that you will see someone stood on the traditional small board doing Dartmoor Stepdancing. If you go to the 3rd Monday music session at the King's Arms, S Zeal you may do, if you go to the Annual Dartmoor Folk Festival you definitely will, but apart from that it is a rare sight. How things have changed!

The Dartmoor Folk Festival was started by renowned Dartmoor folk musician Bob Cann in 1978. He wanted to help revive and preserve the traditions of Dartmoor, and in particular, the traditional music, dance, song and crafts of the area. It has done well, and for the last 33 years there have been both stepdancing workshops and a competition. During this time the number of stepdancers has grown, and interest has grown too.

How did the decline of stepdancing happen? It happened before mobile phones and the distractions of modern technology. Les Rice used to say it was when World War II started in 1939. This, along with many other thing,s like whether women competed in the competitions, we don't know. So research is the focus of the first part of the project. We are searching out all the records we can find across the country to do with Dartmoor Stepdancing, so we can so piece together more facts, steps, stories and music of the tradition.

We are hoping to find people who remember stepdancing from more than 30 years ago, or who knew the older stepdancers, and record their memories. These interviews will enrich our knowledge and inform the development of stepdancing into the future.

The Steps & Stories of Dartmoor Stepdancing Workshops & Events this Summer
The Taking Steps project is researching the Dartmoor stepdancing tradition and bringing it to a wider audience through music and dance workshops and community events.

Community Stepdance Worshops
Open to all ages, all levels, all abilities
Fri 1st Sept - 7.30-9.00pm - Drewsteignton, The Drewe Arms FREE
Fri 22nd Sept - 7.30-9.00pm - Ashburton, The Town Hall FREE
Young Dancer's Stepdance Workshop
For 11-18 year olds with some experience of dance in any style
Sat 16th Sept - 10am-3pm call for venue FREE
For more information & to book a place, telephone Jenny on 07790008839 or email
An Evening with Gadarene & Guests
Friday 15th September 2017 - 7.30pm - Ashburton Town Hall
Festival folk band Gadarene will play 'Ultra Modern Ancient Tunes' and weave stepdancing into their set. Guests will stepdance
... and more - a great evening out! £3.00/ £1.00 concessions
The Taking Steps Finale
Saturday 30th September 2017 2.30pm - 4.30pm - Chagford Jubilee Hall
An afternoon of traditional Dartmoor entertainment! Stepdancing, broom dancing, jig dolls, and a taste of the old-time fairs that Stepdancing would have been a part of. £3.00/£1.00 concessions - Cream teas available
This is the year we invite you to join in the fun! telephone 07971148531

The Paimpol Sea Shanty Festival 11,12,13 August 2017

The Island Trust are offering a voyage on their boat Pegasus, departing from Plymouth on Wednesday 9 August and returning to Plymouth on Friday 18 August.  You do not need to have any experience to come on board and enjoy a wonderful voyage to France taking in three days at the festival.  This will be a hands on experience, during the voyage you will get the opportunity to  to help sail the boat, guided by our highly qualified and friendly crew.  This will include raising of sails, navigation and watches to name a few.  There will be 9 places available on board. 

Further details regarding the festival can be seen here

Further information will be posted on the Island Trust website in the near future.  If you would like to register your interest and find out more please do not hesitate to email

The cost of the voyage will be £1,100 per head and includes use of safety equipment, waterproofs and all meals on board. 

August at THE BICTON INN - 5 Bicton Street, Exmouth EX8 2RU - Click on link for more information

Tuesday 15th 9.00pm - Bicton Jam Night
Thursday 17th August 8.30pm - Open Folk Session with Becky Brooks
Friday 18th August 9.00pm - Jacob Hillman
Saturday 19th August 5.00pm - Reefs of Moonshine
Saturday 19th August 9.00pm - John Mcloughlin & Friends
Sunday 20th August 5.00pm - Nigel Challis
Tuesday 22nd August 9.00pm - Bicton Jam Night
Thursday 24th August 8.30pm - Bicton Folk Night
Saturday 26th August 5.00pm - Dave Ward & Russell Perkins (papaphone)
Sunday 27th August 1.00pm - Picnic in the Park Finale – Musical Extravaganza with Malcolm Horton
Sunday 27th August 3.30pm - Après - Season of Sunday’s Party
Tuesday 29th August 9.00pm - Bicton Jam Night
Thursday 31st August 9.00pm - Ladies Night

Filing Room Sessions - “An eclectic music show for musicians, music fans and music event organisers” Read more..
Click here to view latest session

The Mike Harding Folk Show - an hour plus show of the very best in folk, roots and acoustic music every Sunday at 5.00pm and also available 24/7