The Bamford Initiative
Bamford is an unassuming village, nestling in the Derwent Valley near Ladybower Reservoir in The Derbyshire Peak District. It does, however, boast an Arts Committee and Pete Mackey, who can best be described as a hidden treasure. Pete when he is not fell running likes to have his little projects. He also happens to be a member of Handsworth Sword Dancers ( He is currently enjoying a long sabbatical.) and many moons ago, he was a dancer with Eastwood Rapper.
The Bamford Community Arts & Crafts Committee have, for a number of years, organised Arts festivals on different themes and Pete and his son, Will, have attended the Whitby Folk Week Rapper Workshop - you can see which way this is going? Not surprisingly Pete experienced a Eureka moment and came up with Rapper as part of a proposed Dance Festival. The Arts Committee were persuaded and they successfully sought funding from Awards for All in order to buy swords and hire the hall. Sheffield based Triskele Sword were enlisted to do the teaching and the rest, as they say, is history. 7 The project started in mid July, with a promotional tour of pubs in the village and the Hope Valley during Carnival Week. Triskele did the dancing and Pete handed out the promotional flyers. Stage two was the 6 week series of Sunday evening workshops. The dozen or so hopefuls who turned up on week one were 50/50 male - female, the boys all being teenagers and the two girls being supported by three mums. Only Will Mackey had any rapper dancing experience, though two of the girls were ice skaters and familiar with working to rhythm and music. The workshops started in October and the aim was to perform at the Ceilidh during the dance Festival at the end of November.
This was a tall order especially as one or two changes of personnel made continuity a real issue. The mums and girls, not surprisingly, made better progress than the boys who with exception of Will found it hard to concentrate and cope with the multi-tasking required. In the end two passable dances were constructed and were sufficiently polished to go to stage three - the performance! Village resident and fiddle player, Kiri Smith was enlisted and proved an adept rapper musician. On the night both boys and girls danced well for a delighted audience who had “Never seen anything like that before!”
The enthusiastic applause was justifiably well earned. And the future? Perhaps one or two might like to take the dancing further... and Triskele are still trying to tempt Pete Mackey out of retirement.