taking our culture forward

Rinkaghyn Vannin: Manx dance book & cassette released online

Thu, 18 Apr 2024

An essential guide to Manx folk dance has gone online over forty years after it was first published.

Still the “go-to” reference book for both new and experienced dancers, Rinkaghyn Vannin – the Dances of Mann was produced in 1983 by members of the dance group Bock Yuan Fannee and folk dance collector, Mona Douglas, and published by the organisation, Sleih gyn Thie. Three years later, a cassette of the accompanying dance music recorded by John Kaneen and featuring a variety of leading Manx musicians was released as a learning aid.

Now, after four decades, the trustees of Sleih gyn Thie and Culture Vannin have worked together to make both the book and music audio freely available online.

Former trustee of Sleih gyn Thie and one of the dancers behind the book, Rosemary Speers said:

“Rinkaghyn Vannin was produced by a team of us in response to the growing interest in Manx dance, both in the Island and internationally through the growth of folk festivals. Over a number of years, and with Mona Douglas’ guidance, we transcribed the steps and musical notation to produce a book which could be used by schools and adult dance groups to bring the dances back to life”.

Dances in the book include well-known easy dances like Hop tu naa and Cur Shaghey yn Geurey, dances connected to calendar customs like Hunt the Wren or Yn Mheillea, couples dances like Chyndaa yn Bwoailley and Illiam y Thalhear, and expert group dances such as Fathaby Jig or Shooyl Inneenyn. There are also many other dances which are rarely seen today and would be exciting to bring to prominence again.

Rinkaghyn Vannin can be downloaded as a whole book or the 28 dance instructions can be accessed via manxmusic.com. Furthermore, the original 1986 cassette has also been digitised, and is now available on the Culture Vannin website or bandcamp page.

It is hoped that their release online will make the traditional dancing of the Isle of Man even more accessible, and to encourage new people to take up Manx dancing, both in the Island and anywhere around the world.

Dr Chloë Woolley, Manx Music Development Officer for Culture Vannin said:

“This is such a wonderful and important resource and we’re excited to be able to share it far and wide! As well as learning the classics, schools and dance groups on and off the Island are always looking for new challenges and releasing this iconic publication will help further the development of Manx dance.”

More information:

Rinkaghyn Vannin book
Rinkaghyn Vannin audio recordings