President, Hands Four Editor, Epicenter organizer, keeps NBCDS going!
I started Contra dancing in 1989 at Folklife in Washington. Feeling connected to hundreds of people, all dancing together to the incredible music, moving as one, connecting by hand and eyes… I’ve been hooked ever since. I have enjoyed traveling to dance camps and making friends across the country. Contra dance has brought joy and community into my life. The volunteer work I do for NBCDS helps me feel like I’m giving back by bringing the opportunity for joy to other peoples’ lives.
Vice President, programmer of Santa Rosa contra, Faultline Frolic organizer
I have been seriously dancing since 1993 and went to my first dance camp in 1996. My favorite thing about contra dancing is what I tell beginners: contra dance is fun if you do it as called and it is more fun if you screw it up; so just relax and enjoy the ride. My favorite dance hall is Monroe Hall. I have a personal relationship with the past two owners who both bought the hall to preserve its place in our community. I helped the previous owner oil the dance floor and helped the new owner in replacing the dance floor.
Secretary, Faultine Frolic and Epicenter committees
I love how our community is nationwide. Last year friends who used to live here and were on the NBCDS board but now live in Ashville, NC and I went to the dance featuring the Clayfoot Strutters and George Marshall at the Guiding Star Grange in Greenfield, MA. We were delighted to find our dance gypsy friends from Sacramento, Susan and Jim Stratton, were there too! I used to bring my young son to dances, along with a pillow and a blanket and a book or two. After watching for a while and often having another dancer read him, say, one of the Tintin books, he’d curl up and go to sleep off in a corner. Now he’s a guitar player who played contras in LA with a group called Paddy’s Pig before he moved to NYC.
Treasurer, Epicenter and Faultline committees, supports programmers and dance managers, CDSS Treasurer
Craig began contra dancing in the late 1980’s in San Luis Obispo/Santa Barbara. He met his wife Elaine while international folk dancing and after they married took up contra dancing with a passion. They raised both their daughters in the dance community and value how this community embraced their family. He began English Country dancing about five years ago and enjoys sharing ECD with his contra dance friends. You’ll also find him on the fringes of camp song circles and an occasional ukulele jam session.
I contra danced as a girl in Belfast, Maine and again in college in Boston. In 2014 I started dancing again with great joy. Happily feeling the community energy, making new friends, and traveling to dance weekends. Since my first experiences with contra were at family dances I’ve started a family dance series in Sebastopol, to introduce community dance to the next generation. email@example.com
Dancing is one of my favorite activities and I have learned many different styles over the years. I’ve lived in 13 different states and always sought opportunities for social dancing: Scottish, English, contra, folk, swing, ballroom, you name it. Since moving to Santa Rosa in 2012 I’ve joined NBCDS and am a regular attendee at English Country Dance in Sebastopol. I became a Board member in 2016 and look forward to more collaboration between dance communities and increasing membership. I’m a Dance Ambassador on Meetup, the “button guy” who delivers Craig’s colorful I.D. buttons to new and renewing ECD dancers, and co-manager of the 5th Sunday Advanced ECD. Look forward to sharing the joy of country music and dance with you soon. firstname.lastname@example.org
Dance Programmers and Managers
As manager Karen has these words for newcomers: Contra is probably the very best dance you can do as a newcomer to dance because it is so easy – you don’t need to keep the beat perfectly or really know anything and beginner lessons are free before each dance. You will absolutely NOT find a better group of people to learn with – the people are warm and welcoming. It is a great workout. It is just a ton of fun. It is very inexpensive for a great evening out.
Manages the Santa Rosa-based carpool to local and regional dances, helps with Epicenter and Faultline Frolic in general, coordinates housing for out-of-town attendees.
Her favorite things about contra dancing? Dance weekends, including the people I’ve met there for years. I have enjoyed volunteering for the two weekend dances we do here each year. It’s fun to prep food and chat with people in the kitchen, or other tasks. I’ve gotten to know many dancers from all over California and beyond. That led to encouragement from my friend, Elaine, to carpool with her to the Lake Tahoe area for a weekend dance. Now some of my happiest times are the five weekends or so I attend each year, carpooling around the state. I can’t leave the favorite thing question without bringing up the hundreds of fabulous musicians and callers I’ve come to love through our dances.
Nationally renowned caller for English country dance and contra, programmer for the Sebastopol English dance, founder of Apple Tree Morris. email@example.com
I’m the dance manager for the Sebastopol Contra Dance. I started International Dance in 1969 at UC Berkeley. I’ve added contra dancing since 1971. I think it is like meditating to music with friends and exercise thrown in. Lots of fun!
I was a manager for the San Rafael contra, and now I’m the programmer. I went to my first contra dance years ago, but was only able to dance regularly when I moved to the Bay Area five years ago. I love the high energy and the sense of community. There are rare magic moments on the dance floor when the music, the calls and the dancers are all perfectly in sync, all connected, and creating something greater than the sum of the parts. The tune perfectly matches the moves, and the stomp of dancers’ feet on a balance creates percussion that augments the music. When we make eye contact, we are seeing each others’ souls. This, for me, is heaven.
Apple Tree Morris Squire. I began Morris dancing in 2001 as a way to connect with my English roots, and to have something interesting to share with my young daughter, who later became a Morris dancer herself. At about the same time, inspired by Little House on the Prairie, I took up the fiddle. I danced (and sang) with the California Revels for several years, and with Berkeley Morris until I moved to Sebastopol in 2005 and joined Apple Tree. Jon Berger was kind enough to let me learn the repertoire behind him in the Morris Muso Pit, and when he left, I took over as Apple Tree’s lead muso. The Green Man character developed over time, as an homage to Morris’ pagan roots, and a reflection of my love of costumery and makeup. My advice to aspiring Morris dancers? Start young! Your knees will last longer. Contact Cliff directly.
I have been contra dancing for over 25 years, but my first contra dance ( 1982 in Boulder Colorado) predates that. I think contradancing became so important my husband and I because our two daughters could join us contra dancing as they were growing up. They were both welcomed and encouraged by their adult friends in the contra community and it was a cheap family date. When they were young they could bring a sleeping bag and go to sleep in a corner of the hall; later we would have to drag them home as they lingered to say goodnight to every last person.
I have many favorite things about contra dance ( the music, the exercise, the patterns we make as we dance) but my very favorite thing is the people who contra dance. We come to contra dance with open hearts willing to embrace and enjoy dancing with anyone who comes our way down the line. The love and acceptance that we feel for each other as we dance is transformative.
I have had the opportunity to dance in many places in the United States but contra dancing in Jerusalem was special. The community there announced on their Facebook page that we were coming as though we had special contra skills as the visiting Americans. The caller called in Hebrew and English and she used a slightly different method of calling: do this for 16 beats or this for 8 beats. The math was challenging for us and for dancers on the floor. When she called a petronella no one could get it until we were called upon to demonstrate. Showing is always better than telling on the dance floor.
Many dancers judge dance halls by their dance floors and all of our dance halls are good on this score. I like the halls where you can sit out a dance or hold a conversation just beyond the reach of the music. I like that Sebastopol and Santa Rosa have adjoining rooms for snacks and conversation and that they have fairly functional kitchens. Petaluma also gets a plus for the kitchen.
I would like newcomers to feel as loved and welcomed as the most experienced and skilled of dancers. No one cares if you make mistakes. Laughing is more important than dancing and don’t forget to sit our and just enjoy watching.