Are you ...
- Zapped by Zumba?
- Bored with Ballroom?
- Sick of Salsa?
Do you want to try a different and fun way to keep fit – and help keep English traditional dance alive? Then join Pennyroyal Clog Dancers!
All our dancers are women but musicians of either sex would be very welcome. We would be very pleased to see people of any age but would be especially welcoming to some younger members.
Interested? See our contact details on the right ...
... or just come along to one of our practices to see what it’s all about. We can probably lend you a spare pair of clogs!
If you should see us dancing out, feel free to speak to any of us for further information.
Pennyroyal was formed in 1979 by a group of Morris dancers’ wives who wanted something of their own to perform. Although our dancers are still all women, Morris dancing husbands are not a necessity!
Some of our dancers are original founder members and two of our three (male) musicians have been with us almost from the beginning. We currently have about twelve dancing members. We are not an evening class; all our members are expected to perform in public (though the back row is very popular!)
We have learned our steps at workshops and from other groups. Luckily many traditional dancers have been teaching until recently, and have been able to pass on their steps to a new generation of performers. Some of the dances we do have their origins in the Music Hall, learned from performers such as Sam Sherry, while others have been handed down through families, for example that of Pat Tracy.
All the steps we perform are traditional, mainly from Lancashire, Durham and Westmorland. However, we perform as a group and have tried to make our dances more interesting for modern audiences. Some steps are presented simply by a number of dancers, some are performed in traditional forms such as 3-, 4- or 5-hand reels, whilst others have been choreographed by members of the group to form our own unique dances.
The French Connection
Back in about 1993, a group of French folk dancers from Sutton's twin town Gagny, a suburb to the east of Paris, was invited to visit Sutton as part of the twin towns’ scheme. Members of East Surrey Morris Men and Pennyroyal Clog Dancers were asked to provide accommodation for the French visitors.
The French dance group was l’Aubade du Quercy and this initial contact sowed the seeds for a long-lasting friendship that continues to this day. The English dancers were first invited to France in 1995 and this started a pattern, with visits in opposite directions roughly every two years.
This contact has been a good example of l’entent cordiale over the years and provides the opportunity for generous hospitality, conviviality, dancing and the appreciation of another nation’s rich folklore heritage. L’Aubade du Quercy visited Sutton in 2016 and Pennyroyal were their guests in France in July 2018.
Just as Pennyroyal, are based in north-east Surrey yet perform dances from the north of England, so L’Aubade du Quercy do not perform dances from Paris! The group was founded by families who had their roots in Quercy, which is situated in the southwest of France and is noted, amongst other things, for the local Cahors wine and for stunning rugged scenery.
or Rosie 01883-343019
We meet for practices in Ruskin Hall, Ruskin Road, Carshalton SM5 3DE on Tuesday evenings 8:15 - 10:15pm Sept to June and dance out mainly between May and Sept. See our programme for details.