Sam’s father was a self-taught dancer and professional music-hall entertainer who brought up all his children to be entertainers and dancers. Being the youngest of nine children Sam was taught both by his father and his older siblings and was encouraged (pressurized) to achieve a high standard in dancing and acrobatics.
Sam left school at the age of 14 to be a professional entertainer and after several line-ups with various family members The Five Sherry Brothers were formed. Through the 1930s the group toured and topped the bill at the leading variety theatres performing routines that combined music, singing, comedy, acrobatics and dancing.
After the war Sam continued to perform professionally as a duo with his brother Peter. When Peter retired in 1956 Sam moved to Galgate near Lancaster and established a canal boat business. As a singer and guitarist he was a regular at a Lancaster folk club in the 1960s. When he performed a clog dance this was soon given enthusiastic encouragement by folk revivalists and he attended many folk festivals in the 1970s and 80s performing and teaching clog dancing. He started to teach clog dancing at Preston and Galgate. Lancashire Wallopers was established by members of his dance classes.
Sam also established the Lancashire and Cheshire Clog Dancing Competitions which continue today. The Wallopers also continue to enjoy performing and teaching Sam's dances so that they can be enjoyed by newer generations of dancers and audiences.
This video from 1985 is a very well loved video of Sam showing his musical roots. It was common practice in the music halls to dance to well known songs so that audiences would sing along!
This video from 1980 shows Sam dancing what is now known as his "Original Waltz". There are three versions of this routine at varying difficulties - the middle 5 steps vary in each routine. The "Improvers" version of Sam's Waltz is often used as a massed dance at gatherings of clog dancers.
This video from 1990 is of Sam dancing some of his "Jig" steps. However, modern dancers might not recognise some of these steps as belonging to the "Jig". This because Sam took steps from the impressively (and exhaustingly!) long "Jig" to form what we now know as the "Schottische".
A quick search for Sam Sherry, or his individual routines, on YouTube reveals a great number of videos showing just how much people all around the enjoy dancing his routines. Be warned though - you will find yourself spending hours absorbed in a chain of enjoyable videos!
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