Andrew Shaw

 

Andrew was dragged kicking and screaming to his first country dance as a teenager in the 60s. Initial reluctance overcome, he was quickly attracted to the dances and their music and went on to gain a basic grounding from some of the more fearsome instructors of the day. But it was not until many years later, inspired by his friend and mentor, Tom Cook, that the pleasurable social activity was to develop into an enthralling interest in and enthusiasm for the history and performance of the English Country Dance. As an interpreter and exponent of these dances he teaches at weekends, festivals and other courses at home and abroad. For a list of his forthcoming engagements, click here.

 

In 2001 Andrew inaugurated his own annual dance weekend at Halsway Manor in Somerset. The first series, entitled “Wit & Mirth: Or, Pills to Purge Melancholy”, after the 18th century song collection of that name, ran for 6 years and featured music from Paul Hutchinson, initially with Paul Sartin and latterly with John Hymas. Late-night song recitals by Liz Park, accompanied by Tony Battilana, illustrated the link between the song and dance tunes of the period, which was an underlying theme of the weekends. A recording of a selection of their songs is available: click here for details. After an “Entr’acte”, led by Philippe Callens in 2007, Andrew began a second series of dance weekends, entitled “For the Furthur Improvement of Dancing”, which ran from 2008 to 2015. Andrew is currently using the weekend, now extended to 3 days, on an ad hoc basis, to feature musicians working at the leading edge of English Country Dance. Under the title Kyndred Spirits, it welcomed the Californian band Persons of Quality in 2016 and Paul Hutchinson, Karen Wimhurst and Fiona Barrow in 2017. Lists of the dances taught at these events can be downloaded by clicking the following links:

 

Wit & Mirth

Entr’acte

For the Furthur Improvement of Dancing 2008 - 2015

Kyndred Spirits

 

Andrew’s interest in the dances of the late 17th and early 18th centuries, especially those composed by Nathaniel Kynaston, has resulted in the publication of four dance collections to date:- Mr. Kynaston‘s Famous Dance in 2000, The She Favourite in 2002, Emperor of the Moon in 2006 and Farnicle Huggy in 2009. The She Favourite also throws light on the activities of the little-known dancing-master Richard Motley, whilst Farnicle Huggy features dances “Compos’d by a Person of Quality Recommended to Mr. Nathaniel Kynaston”. The recordings accompanying the first three collections all feature Paul Hutchinson on accordion: the first two in association with Paul Sartin on violin and oboe as Belshazzar’s Feast, and the third in association with John Hymas on violin and viola. The most recent was recorded in California by the multi-instrumentalists Rebecca King, Jon Berger and Jim Oakden.

 

In-between times, in 2004, Andrew also edited The Dances of Brian Wedgbury, in memory of this fine dance composer and near-neighbour who died in 2002. The book and accompanying CD by John and Sue Stapledon on English concertina, keyboards and violin contain the notation and music for all 22 dances written by Brian.

 

For price and availability of all Andrew’s publications, click here.

Updated: 28Jul16