Barn Dance - Pells Pool

The Pells Pool is holding another of its enormously popular summer bashes tonight: guests are invited to bring along their own food to put on a communal barbecue and to take an evening swim in the oldest outdoor pool in Britain - quite an experience. There is, of course, a bar. There is also a barn dance, which may or may not seem appealing. We called ‘caller’ Tony Dunn to learn what to expect, which isn’t a corny straw-hatted trans-Atlantic affair, apparently. “Barn Dancing has a toe in the past,” says Dunn. “About 25 years ago Vic Gammon published The Sussex Tune Book which collected together a number of tunes sung and played by church wardens in the 18th century. We use a lot of those tunes for our barn dance. People think of these dances as an American thing, because they thrived and survived over there, but they are in fact of English origin. If you have ever seen Far From the Madding Crowd – the film adaptation of the Hardy novel – you will see what is in effect a barn dance taking place. The dances are very much rooted in English folk heritage.” Tony’s calling will be accompanied by folk musicians The Splash, on concertinas and accordions.

“Some callers are rather strict with dancers, but I’m not,” says Dunn. “It doesn’t matter if you can do it well or not, the important thing is to be able to smile. I always say people have more fun getting it wrong than getting it right. It’s a vehicle for having a good time and helps people to meet each other.” AG

Take your partner by the hand - then take a night dive into the Pells Pool

Pells Pool, Lewes
When? 7.30-10.30
How Much? £4/£2 (family of 4-5 £10)
Pells Pool
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