Folk in Motion costumes

Photograph of Wolk dancers outside of Cecil Sharp House before a performance

Members of East London Wheelchair Dance Club at the Dance Around the World Festival at Cecil Sharp House on 25 October 2015.

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.
Black striped light blazer, decorated with rose buttons, red ric raw and various badges

Close up of badges and necklace

This is one of the original English Folk Dance and Song Society badges.

Close up of EFDS badge

Close up of felt owl badge on pocket

Close up of knitted fox badge on pocket

Close up of owl badge on sleeve

close up of rose button on cuff

Close up of appliqué lace owl on the back of the jacketThis 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.Gold painted antler mounted on wooden shaft

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’.

Shiny aqua green tartan waistcoat with appliquéd leaf trim and a fox head appliquéd on one shoulderClose up of the owl appliquéThe back of the waistcoat, covered in dark and light aqua satin ribbons

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.

Light green men's waistcoat, up cycled with green leaf trim, silver and gold appliqué stars, and an appliqué lace owlClose up of gold and silver appliqué starsClose up of appliqué lace owlClose up of appliqué leavesDetail of back of waistcoat, with appliqué gold deers and a stag's head

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.

Black leather-fronted waistcoat with gold deer on either shoulder and pink butterflies appliquéd at the top of the zip, and pink braid on the sidesClose up of the appliquéPhotograph of the back of the waistcoat, covered in pink African fabric tattersClose up of the tatters

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.

Dark pink woollen waistcoat with pale pink braiding, pink roses and silver hares hanging from the pocketsClose up of pink rosesClose up of hares on the pocketBack of waistcoat, covered in pink African fabric tattersClose up of back of jacket and hat badge of pink butterfly

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.

Dark blue and black suit waistcoat, with the buttons replaced by gold bells, gold moons appliquéd on the breasts and a brass pin with hares and stars on one pocketClose up of the moon appliqués Close up of brass pin with hare and stars

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.

Sand-coloured suede-fronted jacket, with gold sequinned appliqué flowers on the breasts and various blue flower-themed badgesClose up of the top of the jacketClose up of small blue enamelled flower badge on pocketClose up of blue crocheted flower badge on pocketBack of the jacket, covered with blue and brown African fabric tatters and blue Indian trimmingClose up of back of jacket

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.

Black velvet waistcoat with red and black striped satin back, with red, green cold and black star and moon appliqués on the breastsClose up of moon and star appliquésBack of the jacket, showing the red and black striped satin

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.

Orange, white and pink floral waistcoat, with green leaf trim and hare and button badgesClose up of hare badge and necklaceClose up of hare badge on pocketClose up of pewter badge of straw hat on pocketBack of waistcoat, covered with orange African fabric tattersClose up of orange tatters

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.

Red satin diamond-patterned waistcoat with red fabric badge
Close up of fabric badge in the shape of a poppy