South Pennine Boat Club

Club Dance Troupe Aiming to Make History

The Club dance troupe will make history when they perform what is believed to be the world's first 'Handspike Dance' at a rally open day in May.

The unique 'Handspike Dance' is a subtle blend of Morris, Country and Rapper dance, using Calder and Hebble Handspikes instead of traditional two-handled swords.

The Handspike is the instrument used to work the paddles on Locks along the Calder and Hebble Canal, similar to a cricket bat but much less refined.

The six man dance team, dressed in traditional pirate costume, have been practising hard and are eager to impress the audience at the Club Rally and Open Day on Saturday May 4th.

Troupe leader Tony Foster believes the Handspike dance routine has potential for the future and could easily be adopted by other dance teams across the waterways. "None of us are natural dancers but at practice sessions, fellow club members have been stunned by our double overs, push-me-pull-yous and circle-outs." he said "Although the handspike is fairly heavy and primitive as a lock tool, it has proved it's worth as a finely tuned dance implement," he added.

The Club is opening it's doors to the general public from 11am until 5pm on Saturday May 4th.

Amongst the attractions, aimed at the whole family is a children's best-dressed pirate competition and pirate ship bouncy castle, boat trips along the canal, live music, a duck race, craft stalls and a real ale bar.

Rally coordinator, Heather Bearpark has put together a full package of family entertainment and lots of activities to keep the interest of younger pirates, including a special appearance by Captain Jack Sparrow in the shape of look-alike Matty Parkinson.

Heather explained, "We want the whole family to enjoy the day and are making sure there's something for all age groups, but the Handspike Dance will be an unbelievable addition."

Admission to the Rally Open Day is free!

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