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Please visit the Gallery page to see the pictures. We've been to the festival twice (2005 and 2006). Seing as we did pretty much the same thing both times, we've only written a report for the first year.
The festival took place from 14th-16th October 2005 in a school gym in Prague. The festival was very well attended, with all age groups and abilities represented. As well as a few of us Brits, the festival was also attended by some Danes and the main teacher, David Millstone from the USA, was accompanied by his wife, Sheila.
When we arrived on Friday night there was a real buzz as people arrived to enrol for the whole weekend. We were impressed by the large number of young people involved. The large gymnasium was full and the welcome night involved a fair bit of introduction, mainly in Czech so we had no idea what was being said. The dances were mainly longways sets so we just joined in and managed to follow others as they were all very helpful. When David Millstone did the calling it was of course in English so we knew what to do, but waited for the translation for the others. It was a really happy evening and we met up with the couple from Denmark and others.
On Saturday morning we were there bright and early and had to choose which classes to attend. David and Sheila stuck with the contra and square dancing in the main gymnasium but that gave them some Mexican dance too. Sue was braver and joined the Appalachian clogging class and managed well for a start but it became more challenging as time went on so she returned to the other hall. It was fine to change back and forth or simply to spectate. We were told about the 'ball' on Saturday night so we were unsure just quite what to expect but as most of the girls were already wearing swishy skirts we reckoned that what we had packed was fine - and it was!
There was a decent lunch break time on Saturday so Sue and Jim went somewhere for lunch and David and Sheila walked up a hill through a woodland into a park and the weather was glorious. We just danced the whole day. Marvellous!!!
Trina and Jo arrived around tea time on the Saturday, just in time for the main event of the festival. As well as some social dancing, lots of groups got the opportunity to show off what they could do, Kick the Cat amongst them! As well as a variety of clogging styles (modern and more traditional) we were treated to amazing displays of Irish hard and soft shoe and waltz. Visit the Gallery to see some of the groups in action!
Sunday morning brought the final set of classes. Some of us tried 'vintage' Czech dancing. Sue and Jo tried the intermediate clogging, but there's only so much you can learn when you can't understand a word of the language and there was no translator present! The clogging style was also very different and, to a certain extent, resembled flatfooting and step dancing rather than the clogging style that we do. It was difficult to see how we could use the routine we had managed to learn, in spite of the fact that it was good fun to have a go.
The remainder of our stay in Prague was spent sightseeing. It is a beautiful city, well worth a visit, and we are planning a return trip next October.