Dance Sounds 

Regulars come from all over Yorkshire to
dance the night away at our Village Hall

Richard Field drops in to chat to the organisers and the dancers 
who come every fortnight to Bishop Monkton Village Hall, rain or shine, 
to attend  Dance Sounds for their favourite night out 

Dance Sounds had been staging their fortnightly dances here for the past 10 years, bringing together dance enthusiasts from all over Yorkshire.  However, in December 2018, Jack & Sylvia Parkes who ran the group were forced to retire because of age and some infirmity.  Their events will be greatly missed by many.

On Wednesday evening every fortnight you could hear the sound of merriment as dozens of couples step the light fantastic swirling round a romantic dimly lighted Bishop Monkton Village Hall.

Dance Sounds were, in fact the first outsiders to book the then new Village Hall after its opening in January, 2005, and have been attending regularly ever since. They reckon to have staged some 200 dances here and provided a dance venue for hundreds, even thousands, of enthusiasts.

Jack Parkes, who runs the group with his wife, Sylvia, recalls that he was looking for somewhere to stage dances about 10 years ago when his friend, the late Brian Stockil (who owned the garage on the A61 bend), mentioned that Bishop Monkton was just opening a new hall and suggested he take a look.  He did –he liked what he saw – and has been coming ever since.

‘It’s a wonderful venue. It’s got everything we need and we wouldn’t ever want to go anywhere else', Jack told me as the first of that evening's dancers started to come through the doors.

When Dance Sounds first started they attracted as many as 90 dancers each session who literally filled the hall. Now the numbers have dwindled somewhat to 50 to 60.

‘As we lose the old ones, there aren’t so many people wanting to take their place’, he lamented.

Dance Sounds is an institution for many dancers and the Wednesday night is the one appointment they 
never want to miss.  Most of the dancers are in their sixties, seventies, eighties and there have been some in their nineties.

One 84-year-old man from Knaresborough commented:  ‘It's really wonderful. I wouldn’t miss it for the world. It keeps me fit’.

Dancing continues from 7 30pm until 11pm, with a short break for a snack.

‘Some of the dancers come in with sticks and walking frames, but once they arrive they’re on their feet dancing around the room’, says Sylvia.

The dancers come from all over Yorkshire – Wetherby, Pately Bridge, Knaresborough, Skipton, York, Harrogate, Northallerton, Thirsk and from even further afield.

Jack’s one regret is that nobody seems to attend from Bishop Monkton – maybe because they don’t know 
it’s on and what they’re missing, he suggests.

Most popular is the sequence dancing, followed by ballroom and old-time.

‘We’re not exactly competing with Strictly Come Dancing but we do have some very good dancers; Jack says.

Apart from the pleasure the evenings give the dancers Dance Sounda also raises lots of money for charity.  Jack says that over the years they have raised nearly £10,000 for Yorkshire Cancer and for Carers Charity.

and answers

When are the sessions held?  
On Wednesday evenings, from 7 30 to 11pm,.

Is it held year round?  
Yes, except in July and August when it is too hot for dancing.

What sort of music is played? 
There are three main musicians who play music for dancing -  Jim and Philip Randles on organ
and Mark Spafforth on keyboard.

How much did it cost to attend an evening session?


The organisers of Dance Sounds
Dancers come from all over Yorkshire