Founded 1984

Report of Spring Weekend Harrogate 2013

The Old Time Dance Society held its 2013 Spring Weekend from Friday 22nd March 2013 to Monday 25th march 2013. The venue for this year was the beautiful Victorian spa town of Harrogate in North Yorkshire which coincidently was only this week voted “the happiest town in the UK to live in”.

Our hotel for this weekend was the Cairn Hotel, a well-appointed Victorian hotel with many beautiful stained glass windows in the public rooms and stairways, and of course a superb ballroom.   With dancers travelling from many parts of the UK for this ‘Spring’ Weekend, it was something of a shock for all of us, when only days before our weekend started, the Met. Weather office forecast heavy snow for much of the UK particularly bad in northern areas!!! So, many of our determined dancers set off early, some days before to be on the safe side, and with good reason because the snow did start to fall, and by the time most of us had reached Harrogate there was already 10 cm of snow on the ground, with more forecast overnight!  With over 100 dancers in attendance for the first evening on Friday, our Hosts, Guest Leaders & MC's were Ron & June Urquhart from Hull in East Yorkshire, with a great night’s programme of dances and the musical backing provided by the fine young musician Mr Philip Randles, the weekend got off to a great start with many good old favourites in the dance programme.

Saturday morning dawned to a winter wonderland of snow as we opened our bedroom curtains to witness a landscape of ‘white mounds’ in the car park below which appeared to be parked cars.   After a superb breakfast which the Cairn Hotel served, we stood at the front door of the hotel surveying the weather outside – snowing hard, sub - zero temperatures, fanned by a gale force wind.   Some Gentlemen were clearly, visibly upset, because the appalling weather had prevented them from taking their Ladies out shopping to buy them “something really nice”.  However  - help was at hand – Ron & June came to the rescue,  as they so often do,  by kindly offering to hold an impromptu Saturday morning request dance in the ballroom which was well appreciated by all (particularly the disappointed gents!!!)   Saturday evening, the Guest Leaders & .MC's were David & Wendy Griffiths from Surrey, who with another great program of traditional old time dances well supported by the music of Mr Philip Randles. A good evening followed.

Sunday morning - it had stopped snowing, so after enjoying yet another magnificent breakfast, most people felt it was time we ventured out to brave the snow and see something of Harrogate town, other more adventurous ones caught the buses to Ripon and Leeds.  Old time dancers are well known for very good footwork & footwear so it came as no surprise that they were well prepared for such snowy conditions by wearing “crampons” on their feet so that even in the snowiest of conditions they still didn’t put a foot wrong when venturing out. So as we prepared to face the sub-zero conditions and biting east wind, we seized the golden opportunity of wearing something very warm on our heads, to keep out the cold - no matter how silly or ridiculous we looked. The general rule that desperate times call for desperate measures was well served here as we were all treated to the most inventive display of “eye catching” headwear ever seen outside of the ‘Easter Parade’, which is after all, only next week!  

Sunday Evening dance our Guest Leaders & MC's were the excellent Keith & Kath Jackson from Sheffield whom with Mr Philip Randles behind them providing the music gave a faultless performance.  It was good to see some of the older more neglected dances in the old time repertoire which are not often seen or danced, which is, after all, exactly why the Old Time Dance Society was formed.

So, despite everything the weather could throw at us, everybody had a wonderful weekend of Old Time Dancing at Harrogate which is a great tribute and compliment to our committee, in particular the Event’s Organizer Paul Harding, whose continuing tireless efforts make these events so successful. We all look forward to our next event, The Ball of the Year in Weston-Super-Mare Somerset in May 2013.