WinQeilidh logo

What is ceilidh?
Ceilidh dancing is a lively, energetic style of folk dancing that emphasises the sociability of dances. It's inter-generational and family-friendly, and everyone is encouraged to partner with whoever they like. The dances we do come primarily from an English tradition, but also French, American, Scottish, Irish, and more. Because everyone dances with everyone, you don't need to come with a partner -- but you might want to bring a group of friends!

Who organises WinQeilidh?
At the core of WinQeilidh are Louise Siddons and Linda Game. Louise teaches and calls dances across the UK, as well as in the US and Europe, and Linda is an internationally celebrated folk fiddle player (and a classically-trained violinist on the side!). We moved to Winchester in 2022, and decided to start a dance series in walking distance of home. At each of our dances, Linda is joined by one or more additional musicians, so you're guaranteed incredible live music!

Winchester School of Art 2023 Welcome Week ceilidh

Why 'Queer' Ceilidh?
More and more across the country, ceilidhs are being taught and called gender-free -- in other words, the language we are using is reflecting the reality that all of us enjoy dancing with friends, family members, partners, and people we've only just met! In this context, queerness isn't about who you partner with in a romantic way, it's about rethinking how we relate to one another as a community, pushing back against social pressure to separate into cliques based on age, ethnicity, class, gender, school... WinQeilidh welcomes everyone, encourages consent culture, and teaches dancing without making assumptions about dancers.

What kind of dances do we do?
It really depends on the night, but we might do barn dances from English and American traditions, contra or Playford dances, Irish or Scottish ceilidh dances, Scandinavian or other international folk dances, French/bal dances, Irish sets, American swing, or couple dances like waltz and polka. We might even invent our own dances!

Sound Winchester 2024 Launch Event ceilidh

Who goes?
WinQeilidh dances are open to everyone (under 14s must be accompanied by an adult), and we strive to be as accessible as possible, although regrettably our current venue does not have a lift. We also welcome enquiries from musicians of any age who have some experience playing for folk dance.

What does it cost?
Our regular series is £10 for the general public and just £5 for students or those who need to pay a little less. We're also grateful for supporters who pay £15.

When and where is WinQ?

In 2023-24, we're meeting on the last Thursday of the month during university term-time, from 7-9pm (with the exception of Friday, 1 December). We meet at the Nutshell, 15 Kings Walk, Winchester. It's most easily accessible via public transport, but there is also public parking nearby.

You can also find us on social media:

Facebook and Instagram