7 wheelchair users are sitting in a group outside dressed in coloured 'Folk in Motion' T-shirts, bowler hats and waistcoats.
Members of East London Wheelchair Dance Club at the Dance Around the World Festival at Cecil Sharp House on 25 October 2015.

Close-up of wheelchair users dancing in a hall.

Welcome to the Folk in Motion website, the home of 'wolk' dancing!

Folk in Motion is a Community Interest Company (no 8609883) that is working to involve wheelchair users in adapted forms of traditional dance and to show the world that dance is for everyone. We have been granted the prestigious London 2012 Inspire mark, the badge of the London 2012 Inspire programme which recognises exceptional and innovative projects inspired by the 2012 Games. We also run the free East London Wheelchair Dance Club, where anyone who is interested can join us to learn wolk. In February 2014 we presented Access All Areas! at Cecil Sharp House, the home of English folk dance, to celebrate the installation of step-free access to all floors.

What is Wolk?

Wolk dancing fuses folk dancing with a street dance ethos and is choreographed especially for wheelchair users. Wolk draws on the rich heritage of English folk dance to create complex geometric patterns to traditional folk tunes. Dancers work in pairs, and dance in teams (ideally four or more pairs). Teams include roles for callers, musicians and costume coordinators as well as dancers. Like street dancers and Morris dancers, teams develop their own unique style and energy and can form their own social circles too.

As with all forms of dancing, Wolk boils down to people moving their bodies through space in time to music — in this case, by moving their chairs in unison through a series of patterns and shapes. Wolk does not require any physical ability other than the ability to move a wheelchair by hand or with a joystick, and people who need to be pushed are welcome to join in.

Like street dance, teams aim to synchronize their movements and to move through the different patterns as precisely as possible. However, Wolk is first and foremost meant to be fun for all concerned; precision is something that can be worked at over time as a long-term goal. Wolk celebrates diversity, and teams are built on cooperation and working together and making allowances for each other rather than on uniformity.

The Folk in Motion demonstration team is available for booking for performances and to lead workshops and participatory wheelchair dance sessions.

 

However, we also aim to provide all of the resources necessary for you to be able to dance without us, whether or not you have taken a workshop first. Our website contains the following downloadable free resources:

  • Choreography and calling sheets for each dance
  • Musical scores for each dance
  • Specially arranged MP3 tracks in two speeds (slow for learning, and standard)
  • We also include videos of the dances wherever possible and will continue to add these. Send us links to yours too and we will add these to the site.

Wheelchair dancers move into a circle together in the centre of a dance hallWe are developing new choreography all the time, and we welcome submissions of ‘new’ dances from Wolk teams (remember to follow the Wolk rules). The English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) is the best source of information about traditional dances: visit their website www.efdss.org; or in person at Cecil Sharp House, 2 Regent's Park Road, London NW1 7AY. Tel: 020 7485 2206. Email: info@efdss.org

If you are interested in developing your team and enjoying different forms of wheelchair dancing, we encourage you to join the UK Wheelchair Dance Sport Association where you will be able to learn dance forms as diverse as ballroom and Bollywood as well as developing your dance skills and training to be a teacher.


Arts Council England Lottery Funded; Newham London; efdss english folk dance and song society

Photos: Hugh Hill