NYFTE as runners up in the SDU Longsword 2023 competition
NYFTE entered a Longsword team into the SDU competition in Sheffield on the 14th October 2023. In addition to the general competition, the team was entered into two classes: own dance and longsword as a secondary dance tradition. Much to everyone's delight, NYFTE were runners up in both classes.
Huge congratulations to all those who took part!
Family Ceilidh Nominated for Excellence
Following a very wet day of dance in Buxton on Saturday 15th July, NYFTE gathered together in Bakewell Town Hall to host a family ceilidh on the Sunday lunchtime. All aspects of the ceilidh, which was run like a display ceilidh (social dancing interspersed with NYFTE performances) were provided by NYFTE team members, from musicians (there were seven different bands, each with their individual flavour!), five callers and dance performances.
Prior to the event, the ceilidh was advertised as part of the Buxton Fringe Festival, and so it was a lovely surprise to discover that it had been nominated 'as a recognition of excellence in dance'. The arrival of a certificate through the post was the first inkling of the nomination!
For a full review of the event, please see https://www.buxtonfringe.org.uk/reviews2023dan.html
NYFTE Achievements at DERT and DERTy
The Dancing England Rapper Tournament (DERT), is a competition which attracts Rapper sides from all over the country (and in some years from all over the world!). Alongside it is the DERT Youth and Junior competitions (DERTy Youth and DERTy Junior).
In 2020 we had been all set to go to Lincoln with teams in both DERT and DERTy, and the teams had been practicing hard over the winter, but it was cancelled with just a couple of weeks to go due to COVID. In 2021 it was going to be in Edinburgh, but the uncertainties around what would be possible meant that it couldn’t take place. In both years there was an online version! In 2022 the Rapper community was finally able to meet and dance together in Derby with a much reduced tournament (DERT only, at a single location; no DERTy competitions). Having spent several Sundays together over the winter, the NYFTE rapper team took part and were delighted to win the Open Competition. DERT 2023 was in Rochdale and for the first time for four years was back to its traditional format with dance spots in a number of venues around the town and a Showcase Spectacular in the evening.
And so it was that on 11th March 2023, three NYFTE teams gathered at their warm-up venue at Touchstones in Rochdale.. All of them had worked hard over the winter. The DERT team had only one dancer and the Tommy from the previous year’s Open Championship winning team; three of the dancers and the musician had never been to DERT before and one had been the reserve dancer in 2022. No one in either of the DERTy teams had been to DERT before. Some of them had only started to dance Rapper in our winter sessions; this would be their first public performance! As usual the DERT teams were split into categories, this year Premiership and Open, and the NYFTE team was competing against the adult teams Northgate, Mabel Gubbins, Dancing Spires, Birmingham, Silver Flame and Mons Meg. Whilst the DERTy competition was held at Touchstones, this year for the first time each DERTy team was also given a spot in one of the pub venues.
After a long, exciting day, the teams gathered for the evening Showcase and the results. All three NYFTE teams combined for their party piece with a dance that involved mobility aids, plasters and much fake blood! Then it was time for the results! Two trophies to be awarded for DERTy: both awarded to NYFTE (unfortunately we had no competitors): The Sword Dance Union (SDU) prize for the highest placed team that doesn’t have rapper as its main dance form: awarded to NYFTE (this is often known as the prize for ‘Rapper as a Foreign Language). Then the main results: NYFTE were 3rd in the Open Competition (which was won by Northgate). A special mention for our Tommy - we get all the detailed scores and comments afterwards and whilst when you look at the scores she was placed eighth, when you look more closely you realise that Molly was only 2 points behind the second place – a fantastic achievement!
Huge CONGRATULATIONS to all those involved – dancers, musicians and Tommys - and a big thank you to all the NYFTE team leaders and parents who have made this possible. A special thank you to Matt Nikel who was a key part of the training sessions over the winter but due to a work commitment couldn’t be in Rochdale with us!
2022 was the year that NYFTE returned to public performance. Provisional programmes in previous years had to be changed / cancelled, and so it was with great excitement that we were able to attend events we had previously had to postpone.
The NYFTE year started with the return of our February residential weekend, the first time since 2019 that we had been able to meet indoors! Following the auditions, we welcomed several new members bringing our numbers near to the largest team we have had for a while. This weekend was also the first 'normal' event a number of our existing members had experienced, as they had joined the team just before the first lockdown in 2020.
As well as performing traditional English music and dance, some team members have taken up the opportunity to learn other folk traditions. During and after lockdowns, a number of team members have been learning to call for ceilidhs. They were then invited to call a ceilidh at IVFDF 2022 in Sheffield, a great experience for all concerned.
During the winter 2021 / 2022, a number of the NYFTE team had been rehearsing their entry for the Dance England Rapper Tournament (DERT2022) competition held in Lincoln. Normally this event involves each team dancing around a number of venues in the host city, followed by a showcase in the evening. Also, there are usually a number of different competitions, including a youth element (DERTy). However, the 2022 competition only allowed one team per organisation performing a single dance once, and there was no DERTy. NYFTE won the open competition! We are looking forward to the 2023 competition, to be held in Rochdale.
Following an action packed training week in April, we hosted a Spring concert in Shirehampton, a new venue on the edge of Bristol, where we showcased our entire repertoire that we had been rehearsing during the training week. This was followed by a return to Chippenham Folk Festival, as well as appearances at Warwick Folk Festival, and a NYFTE-run event in Sheffield. During August, several NYFTE musicians, callers and their families ran a ceilidh at Sidmouth Folk Festival 2022. It was with great sadness that we said goodbye to four team members at Wallingford Bunkfest: we wish them well with whatever they do in the future.
We are looking forward to another busy year in 2023. During the 2022 / 2023 winter, team members have been working hard, both on rapper and clog dance. February will see us welcoming new members; April will see us revising, rehearsing and performing our 2023 repertoire and the following months will see us performing in Upton-upon- Severn, Chippenham, St Albans, and Buxton. There are still dates to confirm, so watch this space.
In other news, we are pleased to announce the development of our new Family Support Fund. A generous donation given in the name of Mike and Mary Isaacs, has enabled us to support those families struggling to attend NYFTE events because of financial pressures. For more information, please see the Family Support Fund page. We would also like to thank our other benefactors, named and anonymous, without whose support we would struggle.