Duke's Dandy Step Clog team celebrated 30 years of step clog dancing in the Nottinghamshire region in 2012.  The team started in Retford in January 1981 after several young women saw Penny Smith step clogging at a ceilidh dance and thought they would like to have a go.  Penny had originally learnt with Greenwood Clog in Nottingham and was happy to start a local team.  For many years the group practised at Grove Street Methodist Hall.  Three of the original Retford members - Chris Bradley, June Prior and Moira Ruff - are still connected to the team.  
The first booking was for a fund-raising event for the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme and the team had patterned, Sunday best or 'dandy' clogs - hence the team name.  Since then they have danced at many events and festivals both locally and across the country - and even abroad.   The original repertoire of Lancashire and Lakeland steps has grown to include others from north-east England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Canada and the USA (our famous skipping clog dance!). 

Duke's Dandy have been known to be quite creative in devising routines to compete as a team with some success at Wigan Pier clog festivals and in Durham.  Barbara and Moira have attempted solo competitions in the past and Barbara has quite a few medals and trophies to be proud of from Saddleworth, Fylde and north east competitions.  Team members have been involved in tutoring at workshops and festivals and the side have faithfully supported the unique Skipton Clog Fest each July since its onset over a decade ago.

Some years ago the team numbers had gone down to only five dancers (Penny, June, Chris, Moira and Barbara Owers) , but after a “step swap” session with Lynette Eldon and Wendy Bolton from the renowned Green Ginger team from Hull – also struggling  to perform with low numbers – the two groups decided to join forces in 2007.  Sue Jenkinson, also ex Green Ginger, and Jill Blackwell, once of Charnwood Clog, have since joined and have occasional joint practices, during which they share each other's dances.  These meetings have been a boost to the team’s enthusiasm and repertoire.
Glyn Smith was the original musician.  In fact, the first year he and Penny loaded a harmonium into their VW bus when the team danced out!  Glyn then learnt to play melodeon and whistle.  Unfortunately he had to give up a few  years ago, but the gap has been more than adequately filled by Ken Watson, who once played for Green Ginger Clog and who also plays for Grimsby Morris Men, and Bernard Blackwell.  Despite the team including several grandmothers, and the fact that Penny and Glyn recently moved to Folkestone, Duke’s Dandy are optimistic that they will be going for some time yet!

Penny and Moira dancing north east waltz steps taught to them by Lynette and Wendy, here with them at Skipton Clogfest 2008 - in our laid-back blue top and trousers kit:

And this is 6 of us in our later black and mauve kit, dancing Duke's Dandy's routine of steps collected by Penny from one-time member, much loved and remembered Dot Murphie, who learnt her clog dancing in Liverpool as a child from one of the famous theatre clog dance troupe, the Lancashire Lads - Skipton 2010.

For around 20 years Duke's Dandy were recognised by their red skirts, Liberty-print waistcoats and skirt band, white Laura Ashley blouses, blue tights and clogs.  Here are June, Penny and Moira dancing a Westmoreland reel in Cleethorpes Pier Gardens for the 1990 Cleethorpes Folk Festival.  Glyn Smith and Tim Pateman accompanying.  (Horwich Prize Medal NW morris side follow on this clip.)

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