photo: © Rob van Loon, Composers Festival 2013




    Growing up in the hills of Derbyshire, Sarah has been steeped in a rich traditional of British folk music and dance. Since her teens, Sarah was a member of the heage windmillers, a traditional dance team performing clog, Irish, morris, rapper and maypole dance.

  Since then, Sarah has regularly performed traditional dance around England and Holland; on numerous tours with Joe Broughton's Folk Ensemble and The Old Dance School.

   For the past seven years Sarah has been a dance, whistle and recorder tutor on the popular FolkWorld course at Dartington Youth Summer School. This course is aimed at musicians aged 9 - 19, and comprises playing, singing, drumming, composing and dancing. An entire concert is learned, arranged and performed by ear by the participants in just five days!

 --- for information on clog dance workshops, click here! ---




   Upon her arrival in Amsterdam, Sarah was inspired to experiment with the combination of clog dance and live electronics, due to the vast percussive and theatrical possibilities of this combination. Here, the clogs are used as instruments in their own right, allowing the performer to mingle audio and visual musical expression. Since 2008, she has been studying South Indian Carnatic music, and has been exploring the use of these complex rhythmic techniques in both choreographed and improvised clog dance. 

In 2012, Sarah founded radical music-theatre group Bo is Burning with composer Felipe Ignacio Noriega (MEX) and choreographer/sceneographer Cinthya Oyervides (MEX). Together they have developed The Mill Song (2012), Bo is Burning! (2013), FolkCLASH (2013), The Call (2014), De Klankstoomboot (2014) and Alt-Bo (2015). In these works, clog dance stands central to the theatrical aspect as well as being a percussive tool. They have performed internationally at festivals such as NEU/NOW, hcmf//, Amsterdam Fringe Festival, Atlas Festival and Quiosque!



The critically acclaimed performance WRKSHP - a music theatre performance fusing rhythmically complex choreography with the piece Workshop (Ned McGowan, 2004) - has been well received at events such as Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and Sonorities Festival, Belfast, as well as concerts in the Netherlands and Sweden.

Sarah has also lent her clogs to the cross-genre production 'Mr Yellow Jacket' by PCM; improvising with electronics as well as composed pieces. She has also worked with composer Brechtje van Dijk on a contemporary fairytale for clogs, vocals, recorder and percussion. 





photo: © NEU/NOW festival Glasgow / 2014



Sarah focused upon the use of clog dance as a tool in contemporary music-theatre as a subject for her master thesis. This research not only catalogued the traditonal dance form, but used it to braoden the rhythmic spectrum of the dance, to combine it with live electronics, expressive theatre, and to explore the use of space. 

The research, entitled 21st Century Clogs: English Clog Dance as a Tool for Creating Contemporary Music-Theatre, was presented in the Master Symposium at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam in March 2013. Sarah attained a '10', the highest mark possible. This research was generously supported by with a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship.

The collected video material for this project can be viewed here.  To obtain a copy of the research paper, you may contact Sarah directly.


Click to view the research abstract