Together! 2012 CIC’s associate wheelchair dance company Folk in Motion invented the dance form ‘Wolk’ and runs the fortnightly East London Wheelchair Dance Club [currently suspended]. Wolk is danced by pairs of wheelchair users, each pair wearing a different colour, with one dancer in the pair wearing a darker shade and the other wearing a lighter shade of the same colour. For demonstrations and teaching, Folk in Motion buys plain t-shirts in the appropriate colours. They then get a local printer to over-print the t-shirts with their logo. Dancers wear skirts, trousers or leggings with the t-shirts, either in black or the same colour, and also tie coloured ribbons onto their wheelchairs.
For performances, Artistic Director Dr Ju Gosling aka ju90 raids the charity shops for jackets and waistcoats that she can upcycle, teaming these with cheap fancy dress bowler hats with a hat band in the dancer’s colour. The company likes to incorporate costume elements from English country dance, Morris and traditions dating from the Industrial Revolution, as well as using fabrics that reflect the diversity of our own ‘village’ of Newham. Queen’s Market in Green Street and eBay are the main sources for the accessories used for upcycling, which reflect the flowers, hares, foxes, deer and owls associated with folk traditions. Wheelchairs are decorated with ribbons and bells, with a pashmina in the dancer’s colour over the back.
There is lots more information, including everything you need to start your own Wolk group, on the Folk in Motion website.
This is Ju’s jacket, originally a lightweight, dark-grey striped office blazer, with bright floral embroidery on one sleeve. Ju ‘calls’ the dances, but dances too if someone needs a partner. The jacket’s collar and front are now edged with shiny red ric-rac, with replacement buttons on the front and on the collars in the shape of roses. A white tatted owl is appliquéd onto the back of the jacket under the collar. The jacket is accessorised with brooches in the shape of a stag’s head, foxes and owls, and with an original English Folk Dance Society (EFDS) badge from the 1920s. Another fox-head brooch is on the silver hat band, which is the same fabric as the pashmina which is hung over the back of Ju’s wheelchair.
This is one of the original English Folk Dance and Song Society badges.
This is the company staff, created from an antler found and painted gold by Ju, fixed to a hazel pole from Epping Forest by local maker Dave Wilkins.This is either attached to the back of Ju’s wheelchair, or used by another performer if the show includes musicians and storytellers.
This costume was created for Jaspal Dhani, who chairs Together! 2012 CIC’S Community Advisory Board. The waistcoat is made from a shiny aqua-green tartan fabric with a red line. It’s now edged on the inside with a leaf-shaped ric-rac, with a tartan-shaded bright brown fox head appliquéd onto one breast. The back is lined with rows of aqua and dark-green satin ribbon ‘tatters’.
This costume was created for Together! 2012 Chair Julie Newman and is based on a light-green formal waistcoat. Leaf-shaped ric-rac edging now runs round the inside, the arms, the collars and the darts. Silver stars are appliquéd just below the shoulders, with a white tatted owl over the left breast. On the other side, over the breast there is a gold appliqué in the shape of a moon, stars and lightning, with a green satin appliqué in the shape of green leaves at the bottom. At the back of the waistcoat, an embroidered stag’s head is appliquéd below the neck, with gold silhouettes of deer on either side of it.
The dark pink costume was created for professional member Jade Sempare and is based on a black leather-fronted women’s waistcoat with a zip up the front. The waistcoat is now edged on either side of the zip with cerise-pink embroidered and sequinned strips, with butterflies appliquéd at the top. The shiny gold silhouette of a deer is appliquéd over each breast. The back of the jacket is lined with ‘tatters’ made from pink, green and white patterned African fabric.
The light-pink costume was inspired by the late Sophie Partridge, who originally danced in this colour for the professional company and whose t-shirt is pictured here. Based on a plum-red formal woollen waistcoat, pale pink ric-rac now runs round inside the edges. Pale-pink felt roses are sewn over each breast, and two silver hares hang from each of the bottom ‘pocket’ flaps. The buttons have been replaced by ones in the shape of pale-pink roses. The back of the jacket is lined with ‘tatters’ made from pink, green and white patterned African fabric.
The dark-blue costume was created for professional member Angus McKenzie Davies. A dark-blue men’s formal waistcoat now has traditional Morris bells as buttons. Gold satin appliqués in the shape of stars and moons are over each breast, and a brass pin with a hare and stars hanging from it adorns the right breast ‘pocket’ flap.
The light-blue costume is based on a women’s fawn suede-fronted waistcoat with brass buttons, and now has gold sequinned floral appliqués on each side under the shoulders. Brooches in the shape of flowers are pinned over the ‘pockets’ and at the top on one side. The back of the waistcoat is lined with ‘tatters’ in blue, brown and white patterned African fabric, with embroidered blue edging on the shoulders and neck.
The red costume is based on a party waistcoat, with a black velvet front, red-and-black-striped satin back and red round buttons. Satin patches have been appliquéd on either side under the shoulders, one with a moon design and one with a sun design.
The orange costume was inspired by Alex Cowan, a Board member of Folk in Motion and is based on a floral-patterned women’s waistcoat in pink and yellow on a light background. It is now edged with green satin leaf-shaped ric-rac, accessorised with pewter brooches in the shape of a straw bonnet and a running hare, with a seated silver hare hanging from the bottom right-hand ‘pocket’ flap. The back of the waistcoat is lined with African fabric ‘tatters’ in shades of orange and brown.
This dark-red diamond-patterned satin waistcoat is worn by the company PA, and is decorated with a hand-made satin fabric brooch of a ladybird on a poppy.