I was bitten by the folk dancing bug in the early 90’s when I joined my local folk dance club in Waterlooville, Hampshire. However, my first experience of traditional dance was Country Dance lessons in primary school! Since then I have always enjoyed dancing in all its many forms and so a while back, during ballroom dance classes with a close friend, my Cha Cha Cha at some point turned into a Do Si Do! I blame all those wedding reception ceilidhs!
Anyway, back to Waterlooville folk club. As my interest and enthusiasm grew my dance partner and I found ourselves going to more and more dance workshops and folk festivals. Gradually I began to notice how each dance was written, how it flowed and what each dancer/couple were doing at each stage of the dance. The ‘art’ of taking an overall view of a dance is something that comes with time and is a valuable asset in each dancers repertoire. From this point it was a natural progression for me to begin calling a few dances, particularly as the folk club encouraged this by having a ‘club caller’s night’ one evening a month. Slowly my library of dances began to grow alongside with my calling experience.
The folk world and I parted company for a few years while I embarked on a professional nursing career although I am pleased to say we were reunited in 2006 when I joined a fantastic band of Morris dancers called Rampant Rooster Morris. Morris dances share many dance moves (called figures) with their folk-dance counterpart. I felt completely at home again! Apart from a great social scene, a good workout and regular ale house inspections, Morris dancing also shares a passion for all things traditional. If you’ve never been to a folk festival before – you don’t know what you’ve been missing!
The paths of Morris and folk dancing cross again at festivals and I found myself once again on the ceilidh dance floor promenading the night away. Festival ceilidhs are renowned for their shear exuberance and they frequently involve sharing a packed dance floor with hundreds of keen perspiring dancers moving to exciting and upbeat music delivered by bands ranging from the funky to the downright exotic.
I was then asked to call at a family event and subsequently decided to take the plunge and set up as a professional caller for public events. Since then, my regular customers will notice that I have changed my name from Ben Moore to Ben Fernmoor after getting married.
Today, I have expanded my repertoire to include disco music at weddings. The Bride and Groom will often opt for a ceilidh first followed by a disco – I can now provide this in one complete package.