As well as editing the magazine, Sheila can provide guidance on setting up a barn dance.
You can phone 01952 240989, or email
In Hardy's Dorset, it you had to do was shout out the name of a dance, and everyone would grab a partner and be ready to dance. These days, people aren't content to dance the same half-dozen dances all year, so we need talented individuals with encyclopaedic memories to guide us in a brief walk-through of the moves before each dance. A good dance caller has an engaging and enthusiastic manner, and talent for explaining complex dances in simple terms.
Typically, what happens at a dance is that the caller, in a friendly way, encourages people to choose a partner and come onto the dance-floor (usually in a very simple formation) and then talks everybody through a series of uncomplicated moves. When the music starts, the caller provides a constant stream of reminders of what movement is coming next.
Sheila Mainwaring is one of England's best-loved folk dance experts, as caller and teacher. She calls at folk dances (sometimes known as ceilidhs, country dances or barn dances) for audiences ranging from beginners to experts, from pensioners to children. She started calling at a club she ran in Durweston, Dorset in the 1960's and has never looked back.
Over the years Sheila has called at most of the major Folk Festivals in the country Ė Broadstairs, Bromyard, Chester, Dartmoor, Fylde, Sidmouth, Towersey, Warwick, Whitby, etc, and was dance advisor at Sidmouth Folk Arts Festival for eight years. She was also one of the founder organizers of Shrewsbury Festival when it started (in Bridgnorth) and is currently the dance club organiser for Bromyard Festival.
But donít be put off by all this expertise: it means that Sheila happily calls for people of all ages and ability. She really enjoys weddings, coming-of-age dances, retirement parties, birthday bashes, etc. She is also a favourite guest of English Dance Clubs nationwide.
Sheila can organise teaching days for those involved in dance in schools (teachers or pupils). She has taught at callers' workshops throughout the country.
Enjoyment and fun characterise her calling. Dancing, according to Sheila should be fun - so expect to be entertained.
To sum up, Sheila is one of the most experienced and respected callers in the UK, a walking encyclopaedia of all matters dance-ish (she was a Performing Arts Librarian after all). Her repertoire is extensive and never short of surprises.
One of the surprises is that she also finds time to edit Shreds and Patches.
Here's a list of the better-known bands Sheila has worked with recently: All Blacked Up, Belshazzars Feast, The Cat's Whiskers, English Rebellion, The Falconers, Five Speed Box, Gordon the Hedgehog, Grand Union, Hekety, Junction 24, Redowa, One Short, Peeping Tom, Random, This Way Up, Trinculo and The Woodpecker Band.