Woodvale IFDG


*** Archive Spot 1960's ***

In the decade of Flower Power and the Hippy movement, Ian & Jean Willson and Ernie & Eileen Nolan decided to form a Folk dance group locally. This was in November 1967 and the idea caught on so, in January 1968 annual subscriptions were introduced. By the end of the year Woodvale was well and truly established.

Prequel - 14th June 1967

There is in the scrap books an article and some photos from the Kent Messenger of June 16th 1967. The photos show dancing being led by Ernie & Eileen Nolan and Jean Willson with Ian Willson playing the squeezebox. The article (extracts from it) is below... "Women Tie In Ankle Contest" Mrs. Peggy Butler and Mrs. Anne Price, both of Annetts Hall, Borough Green, tied for first place in the ankle competition at the Quarry Hill W.I. annual garden meeting at Pine Close, the home of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Griggs. The article goes on to say that "the competition was the highlight of an evenings jollification that included games and folk-dancing on the lawn". Nearly 50 people were there, Ernie and Ian were amongst the judges and Ian and Jean were in costume (not stated what costume, but looks like Austrian in the photo). Quarry Hill W.I. was formed 18 months previously and has more than 80 members. The enthusiasm of the ladies and the number taking part made Ian, Jean, Ernie & Eileen think about forming a group that met regularly - and the rest as they say!!

The following appears on the first page of Scrap Book No.1 (1967-1973). Author unknown (if anyone can remember who wrote this and/or when, please let us know). It is as written, no amendments have been made. (even the mispelling of Ian's surname has been left as written). The Woodvale Folk Dance Group It all began in the November of 1967, when Mr. Ian Wilson, his wife Jean, and a few other adults and youngsters, clubbed together to begin, the Folk Dance Group. Mr. Wilson being a member of the International Folk Dance Society became chairman and his wife to help. The following Tuesday quite a lot of people were there. The next bit covers 1968 In the April, a Folk Dance was held in the Village Hall of Borough Green. Many people arrived, and it really raised our funds, we were able to buy our own records, for the group. Even early on in the year, members had ventured up to Cecil Sharp House in London for another dance. With featured national dances.

1967 - The Toe in the Water

Inaugural meeting - 14th November 1967. The Church Hall was available on a Tuesday (for 15 shillings per night). 7:30-10:00pm with the juniors leaving at 9:00pm. Ian (squeezebox) and Jean Willson and Ernie (accordian) and Eileen Nolan were the founding members. A name was decided in a competition and the winner got free membership. The name had to include the words "Folk Dance Group". (Woodvale came from two Borough Green estates where most of the members came from - Woodlands and Valley View). From January 1968 it would be 7/6d a year for adults, 5/- a year for juniors and then 2/- a night adults and 1/- juniors. 1/- (one shilling) = 5p in todays money!! Under the heading costumes is written "Later on some thought would have to be given to costumes if we were to give demonstrations." For music, we borrowed a record player and a tape recorder (reel-to-reel). Records were borrowed from the Harrow Green group and they were taped for future use. Eventually the group would buy a record player and build up a stock of records.

Israeli 1968

1968 - Our First Full Year

*** January 1968 *** There was coverage in the January 19th 1968 edition of the Kent Messenger along with three photographs (having tea, doing "Setnja" and doing "The Windmill"). At this point the article (titled "More and more want to be folk dancers") says the group has grown to more than 30 members and it is still growing (after only a few months !!). The age range is 14-35 and at the moment simple Balkan dances are being taught. It is hoped eventually to form and enter a demonstration group in competitions. *** 27th April 1968 *** The first dance and by all accounts it was a roaring success. The Kent Messenger of 3rd May had a couple of photos from it. *** 1st May 1968 *** The first demonstration. It was for the Borough Green Lepra group. They debuted the new Israeli costume. The Kent Messenger of 10th May 1968 had a paragraph about the Lepra group evening and the last sentence said "A demonstration was given by the Woodvale Folk Dancers"

Another demonstration in July 1968 was a disaster. (as IDG titled it in a write up "A Fete Worse Than ---?") After being assured that there would be an electrical supply and a reel to reel tape recorder (no cassettes or CD's in those days !!), it turned out to be a battery operated tape recorder. Ian played for some of the dances. The tape recorder had no fast winder, announcements drowned the music (especially one about hot dogs during the penultimate dance), and an escapee from the Dog Show nearly took a piece out of Ian's leg - during "Windmill"!! They weren't even offered any refreshments until Ian invaded the refreshment tent and demanded some.

1969 - First Big Demo in Costume

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