taking our culture forward
Manx Folk Dance Society

Manx Folk Dance Society


The Reih Bleeaney Vanannan award for 2012 was presented to the Manx Folk Dance Society in a ceremony that took place in the Nunnery Chapel. Members of the society were present and Mrs Joan Cowell, the MFDS Chairman, accepted the award on their behalf. The Hon Phil Gawne MHK, Chairman of Culture Vannin, presented the award. Mr Gawne said that the Society had worked hard to support and promote Manx culture over the past 60 years and had made an invaluable contribution to a unique and important aspect of our national identity.

The Manx Folk Dance Society was formed in September 1951 for the Festival of Mann celebrations and has been responsible for the preservation and teaching of Manx dancing since this time. Over the years the MFDS has demonstrated Manx dancing at many formal and informal gatherings, and members take pleasure in teaching the dances to those eager to learn. The society has represented the Isle of Man at many off-island festivals and gatherings, and has performed to numerous members of royalty throughout Europe. The MFDS has performed at the Royal Albert Hall in London, the Manchester Free Trade Hall, as well as important venues in Sweden and Germany, including the first World Folk Dance Festival (Munich). The society has even been filmed dancing for television! On-Island, the society is much in demand and is dedicated to promoting Manx culture. Each year since 1951, members have performed on the Front Green, St Johns before the Tynwald Ceremony. They have danced at the opening concert for the 1979 Millennium Celebrations, as well as every International Festival of Music and Dancing. They perform regularly for Manx National Heritage; tourism functions; local village, farming, church and fundraising events.

The MFDS runs dance classes and has produced books of dance instructions with written and recorded music, as well as a video of Manx dancing. The society is now working on a DVD of Manx dances including instruction, and a book of dance instructions for more modern Manx dances.