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Rima (3rd from right) representing CDSS at the 2015 National Square Dance Convention (photo by David Millstone)

We had the privilege of participating in a national organization panel at the National Square Dance Convention, late last month in Springfield, MA. Colleagues on the panel represented: CALLERLAB (, Contralab (, Alliance of Round, Traditional and Square-Dance (, United Square Dancers of America (, Roundalab (, and the Canadian Square and Round Dance Society ( CDSS was invited to be on the panel and we were represented by Executive Director, Rima Dael.

Topics of discussion included:

  • What are the challenges facing folk dancing today?
  • What does your organization consider the greatest priorities to address?
  • Are there possibilities of sharing and coordinating projects to address these issues together?
  • What are your near term goals (next five years)?
  • What needs to happen so that we can expect active participation in the various forms of dance for the next 100 years?

Rima shared that we think the biggest challenge for our dance, music and song communities is time and money. With enough of both, all problems or challenges could be solved, but given that both time and money are scarce resources for all nonprofits and volunteer groups, we focus on three ways to help our communities be resilient:

  • building a pipeline of dancers, callers, musicians and organizers
  • problem identification/problem solving through sharing common issues and best practices
  • communication best practices online and offline

(These are three areas CDSS has identified through the Strategic Direction and specifically articulated in the “CDSS Theory of Change” section in our recent Education Report.

All the panelists shared concerns around time, money and cultivating volunteers needed to help keep our organizations going, and involving the younger folks in stewarding our art forms. Ironically, with many questions raised about how to involve youth, none were present in the conversation. Rima posed that we need to ask our younger constituents how to better engage them, and to consider defining what we mean when we say “youth”—in some instances, it could mean 40 or under, or students K–12, or young adults.

There was a lot of discussion around involving next generation and youth participants. CDSS was the only organization on the panel that promotes intergeneration programs and has weeklong summer camps that teach kids, youth and young adults dance, music and song skills.

It was an interesting discussion as the national organizations represented are all arts service organizations that serve their membership with programs and services from insurance to skill-building and best practice workshops. One thing we can learn from the Modern Western Square Dance groups are how connected many of them are with their local/regional Tourism Boards and the use of assisted hearing devices that are in sync with the caller’s microphone; these are two areas CDSS would like to investigate more. David Millstone, CDSS President, also in attendance at the panel discussion (and, in his teacher/caller’s role, leading several dance workshops at the Convention), shared with the panel and audience the new New Hampshire Art Council social dance map, based on West Virginia’s Mountain Trail Dance Map.

It was great to see so many folks in downtown Springfield, from all over the country, dressed in their formal square dance attire. This was the Convention’s first visit to New England; we look forward to seeing them again soon.


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Categories: American Dance, Arts & Tourism, Arts Advocacy, Ballads, Beginning Dancers, Centennial, Contra Dance, Dance Callers, English Dance, Features & Fun, Folk Dance, Ideas & Resources, Membership & Development, Musicians, Old Time Dance, Round Dance, Square Dance, Traditional Dance, Traditional Music, Updates from the Office | + Leave a comment »

American Week, Pinewoods 2014

by Chuck Abell

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Photo by Garrett Fondoules

When I first heard about the Country Dancers of Rochester (CDR) scholarship program for CDSS camps, I developed an immediate interest. As a new caller—and as an experienced musician—I was looking for any opportunities to hone my skills in both areas, and just to collaborate with other callers and musicians.

Having never been to Pinewoods before, I was initially struck by the mellow, woodsy environment, along with the two beautiful lakes/ponds situated next to the camp. Pinewoods is truly a New England paradise. The next revelation was the outdoor dance pavilion, again tucked back in the woods. There really is nothing like dancing outdoors in a covered pavilion in mid-August. From the first night it was evident that magical things would happen in the pavilion over the course of the week—in many ways, it was really the center of the camp. The final thing that struck me right from the start was the diversity and the energy of the campers. I confess, I was bracing for something perhaps a little more on the stuffy side when I first registered, but that notion was well wide of the mark —teenagers, college students, young couples, middle-agers, and more “seasoned” dancers all converged at the camp for a week of creativity and true rejuvenation.

Some snapshots of the next six days:

  • Gathering at 10 am every morning for Phil Jamison’s Southern Squares class. What a great tradition, and a great teacher. Having no sense of what distinguished a Southern Square from a New England or Western square, I quickly came to understand that Southern Squares are about improvisation, about calling to the beat of the music, not to the phrasing. What a liberation! For the rest of the week, we took turns inventing—and calling—squares to the great old time music of Julie Metcalf and company, always under the skillful guidance of Phil, who really seems to me to be David Kaynor’s long-lost Southern brother! Well, brothers in spirit at least….
  • David Cantieni’s “tunes by ear” class which became a virtual playground of ideas and genres. Being one of the few instrumental “ensemble” classes, we were charged with preparing each evening’s “processional”—a joyous musical march through the darkening woods just before the evening dance. (“When the Saints Go Marching In” never sounded so good!)
  • The daily camp gathering that followed morning classes, but preceded swimming and lunch. A time for jokes, songs, stories, contests, and other spontaneous acts of generosity by staff and campers alike. It was the one time of the day when we really came together as a single camp, and it was an honor to see otherwise taciturn campers get up and perform in front of 150 audience members.
  • The Roadhouse after-dance party, midweek. Okay, I’m biased here—being one-third of the nominal “house band” charged with backing up a small parade of crooners, blues singers, and jazz soloists—with a room full of enthusiastic swing, blues, and bossa nova dancers—is right where it’s at for me. They pretty much had to drag us off the stage at 1:30 am.
  • Emily Troll’s music ensemble class—that is, band class for musicians. Okay, I confess, some of the “touchy/feely” interpersonal games at the start of each class reminded me a little too much of the upcoming school year (not an image I wanted to entertain), but once we got past those, the class was really useful and helped spawn several small instrumental ensembles that took the stage at Camper’s Night (see below).
  • Gaye Fifer’s “Dutch Crossing”—hard to really put this into words, but definitely a highlight of the week. Look it up on YouTube if you want. Basically, a dance that requires 16 couples, takes 55 (intense) minutes to teach, and five minutes to actually dance. A great teamwork activity.
  • Swimming Squares. Yes, real Southern square dances, performed while swimming in the lake. Not only hilarious but a great form of exercise. Just be careful when “ducking for the oyster.”
  • Camper’s Night—a true highlight. A chance for (very talented) campers to run the evening dance. Somehow, I ended up in five to six music ensembles, so I never got to dance until the second half, but it was well worth it. A memorable, and somewhat revolutionary, segment: David Cantieni’s entire ear training class joined by Ann Percival’s entire chorus class performing “Wimoweh” as a contra dance set. It actually works!

And the list of highlights goes on: the food, the lodges, the pre-dinner parties, the after-dance parties, the midnight swimming, the networking, the afternoon old time jam sessions led by Larry Unger, the not-so impromptu marshmallow fight at dinner one night, the full moon over the lake as I drifted to sleep in my bunkhouse…

Looking back, both my calling and my playing have improved as a result of being at American Week—not only do I have an expanded repertoire of dances and tunes, but my skills have sharpened considerably. Had it not been for the CDR grant, and matching CDSS scholarship, I most certainly would have missed out on an invaluable experience.

Chuck Abell is a contra dance caller and musician from Rochester, NY. His band, Tempest, featuring fiddler Tim Ball and several other great western NY musicians, just released its first full-length CD, Equilibrium, and will be touring extensively over the next year to promote the release. Keep an eye out for them, or visit for more info on the band.

Come to American Dance and Music Week at Pinewoods, August 8-15, Or the equally fine Harmony of Song and Dance, July 25-August 1, Space is available, and so are scholarship funds until we run out. To read about all our programs at Pinewoods (MA), Ogontz (NH) and Timber Ridge (WV), see Questions? Call Country Dance and Song Society, 413-203-5467 x 2.


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Folk Music Archives Conference

by Pat MacPherson, CDSS Director of Education

pat macpherson head shotOn May 7th and 8th, 2015, I attended a Folk Music Archives Conference, organized by Jay Hartman-Berrier, Director of the Indian Neck Folk Festival from 1967-the present. The conference addressed a pressing need: at Indian Neck, and many other folk festivals, someone would tape a concert, sometimes identifying notes were taken, and those tapes ended up in someone’s attic or basement. After many years, tapes became cassettes, became CDs, and there were too many of them. Where should they be kept? How should they be preserved? Is anyone interested in listening to them anymore?

After introductions of the approximately 35 participants, including CDSS Board member Lorraine Hammond, we learned from keynote speaker, Nicole Saylor (Head of the Archive, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress), what services and resources the LofC offers, and how they administer and control their archives. Bob Walser, who works on the National Folklore Archives Initiative, used his work on the James Madison Carpenter Collection of sea shanties as a case study of cataloging and archiving a massive song collection for public and academic use. After dinner, there were two panels: the first on archiving issue for organizations, with me representing CDSS’s library and archives at UNH Durham, Geoff Kaufman (Mystic Seaport) and George Ward (Caffè Lena); and the second, case studies of sound preservation projects, including Gene Bowlen who is working with the Field Recorders Collective, who are archiving old-time music, and Ben Riesman, who is working with Howard Glasser archives.

The second day of the conference, our keynote speaker was Peter Irvine, lawyer and musician, who opened our eyes to the realities of copyright in theory and practice. Nicole Saylor talked about good archival practices for small organizations, and our last panel was a discussion of technical issues with archiving.

This amazing conference will be repeated next year. Our take-aways: go home and make an inventory of everything in those boxes! Reach out to someone else who you think might also be harboring a hidden collection, and pass on the information we learned. Finally, Bob Walser volunteered to create a prototype database which even the computer averse can use, to start creating digital databases of what exists now, and we hope will safely exist into the future.

If you are interested in contacting any of the people at the conference, write to

Additional resource:

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Dance, Music, Song & Talk at Red Barn Folk Festival

by Pat MacPherson, CDSS Director of Education

A1H_1179-optTwo weeks ago, I made my way to the Red Barn at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA, the site of some mighty fun contra dances. On this occasion, however, I was going to take part on a panel at the first Red Barn Folk Festival, organized by Hampshire College senior, Abigail Hobart.

Abigail, part of a family of lifetime music and dance enthusiasts in Bellingham, WA, produced the festival as her senior project. Her hope was to educate and entertain a general audience about community-based New England folk traditions. Through participatory song and dance, the audience could critically engage with pertinent themes and topics: the evolution of tradition, fostering inclusive community, sustaining music and dance traditions, and the efficacy of local food systems. As Abigail wrote, “I tried to convey my belief that thoughtful maintenance and participation in community folk-traditions causes personal enjoyment, aids cultural preservation, and builds community, with the hope that this message was carried home by each festival attendee!”

A1H_1175-optWhen I opened the barn door, there was Tim Ericksen, one of our local superstars, in the middle of a condensed history of New England shape-note singing. Following hearty singing and a short break, the panel discussions started. CDSS Education Associate, Mary Wesley, singer and song organizer, Julia Friend, and I talked about the importance of nurturing youth participation in the participatory folk traditions, followed by two more discussion panels.

A1H_1403-optWith an attentive audience, great food supplied by local producers, and fabulous music by Sassafras Stomp, old-time singers Emma and Tati, and contra dancing for all, the first Red Barn Folk Festival was a successful expression of the values, strengths, and vitality of the local traditional arts and food communities in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts. Great job, Abigail.

More photos are on Abigail’s Facebook page,


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Spread The Joy—It’s a slogan, it’s a song!

by Jonathan Jensen

Musician, songwriter and longtime CDSS member Jonathan Jensen, of Baltimore, sent us this lovely gift of his song in honor of our Centennial in 2015. It debuted on March 24, during Celebration Week. Download a PDF of the sheet music or listen to Jonathan and friends sing the song here. Or hear the song and watch the video here.

MuseScore_ Spread The JoyIn the CDSS world, I’m most active playing piano for English country dance, contra dance and couple dancing, as well as writing tunes in all these genres. Lately, though, I’ve become increasingly busy writing songs ranging from goofy parodies like The Tea Chantey to rounds and serious ballads. So as the 100th anniversary of CDSS approached I had a mind to write some kind of tribute in words and music. It was hard to get a handle on this project until I noticed the slogan “Spread The Joy” on one of the organization’s mailings. Once I decided on those three words as the title and the theme, the song all but wrote itself. There are so many ways we all spread the joy of music, dance, story and song in our various communities that I probably could have come up with dozens of verses (although the requirements of rhyme and meter do impose certain limitations).

Once the song was written, I e-mailed a quick demo to CDSS headquarters, where it was well received. There was a thought of posting it on the website and Facebook page right away, but on reflection it was decided to make a professional recording with multiple voices that could be used as the basis of a video. There followed an e-mail and phone barrage to many likely participants and the inevitable poring over schedules to decide who the final cast would be and when we could all get together. I was very fortunate to have Charlie Pilzer offer his services and studio (Airshow Mastering) for free. Terry Leonino and Greg Artzner, who make up the celebrated duo Magpie are friends of the Pilzers, and kindly volunteered to take part. Veteran dance musicians Steve Hickman and John Devine signed on to sing and play. Multi-instrumentalist Paul Oorts offered to round out the texture on mandolin. And when I decided we should have a teenage singer to represent the next generation, Steve got his daughter Maren to come along—and his wife DeLaura Padovan joined in for good measure.

On the evening of February 15 we all met at Charlie’s studio in Takoma Park. After a few run-throughs we worked out an arrangement that suited all the voices and made a number of takes, with me handling string bass duties. None of our readings were perfect all the way through, but we got to see Charlie work his wizardry as he swiftly replaced a faulty note or phrase from one take with a better version from another. We look forward to sharing the song with our friends across the nation as we join in celebrating the first 100 years of the Country Dance and Song Society.

CDSS is delighted to have its own song for the Centennial—we look forward to singing it with friends and humming it as we work. Thank you, Jonathan, for writing it; thanks to Charlie, Terry, Greg, Steve, John, Paul, Maren and DeLaura for the audio recording; and thanks to Mary Wesley for the video.

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Storytelling at Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend

The 2015 Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend was a special one for CDSS.  Each year the weekend hosts a “retrospective session;” several hours of the dance weekend dedicated to honoring and exploring some component of dance/music traditions and history.  This year the session was focused on our Centennial: “100 Years of CDSS: The Country Dance and Song Society.”

Thanks to the herculean efforts of Adina Gordon, the organizer and emcee of the session, speakers and performers from far and wide gathered to speak about the multi-faceted history of CDSS and how the organization has touched their lives.  We heard from our current Executive Director, Rima Dael, as well as current Board President David Millstone (of course David called a few dances as well.)  Fred Breunig called an English Country Dance and shared memories of dancing with May Gadd at Pinewoods.  We heard from Tom Kruskal about leading the first morris tour of the Pinewoods Morris Men in Harvard Yard and then he grabbed his concertina and jumped down to accompany Jacqueline and Dudley Laufman as they played Highland Mary for the Canterbury morris side (Dudley will tell you this is the largest morris team in the world whose entire membership lives in the same town!) Dudley Laufman also spoke about dancing Money Musk and bringing his ever rebellious spirit to CDSS camps.  Carol Ormand, one of the weekend’s staff callers, shared memories of learning to call squares from Ted Sannella at camp and then of course she called one.  The session closed with a big circle mixer with great tunes from Rodney Miller, David Surette and Gordon Peery.

The Weekend was a Passport to Joy event and Passport stickers were flying off their sheets; for many this was the first stamp they’d received.  CDSS had a small selection from our store set up as well as some historical materials shared from the timeline on the new Centennial website.  During the weekend Pat MacPherson and I were also collecting stories for the CDSS Story Project.  Dancers answered three questions:

      1. I started dancing in: ____(year)____.
      2. I was ____ years old.
      3. I went dancing because: _________.

You can view all the wonderful responses here on our Flickr photostream.  I also loved seeing people reading the stories, which we posted on the wall and talking with each other about their memories and experiences.  It was nice to see first hand the kind of sharing and bonding we hope will emerge by giving people the opportunity to share stories about the traditions we all love.  Visit the story project home page to learn about collecting stories in your own community.

CDSS thanks the Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend and all who attended for being part of our Centennial celebration!


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Trad Dance & Music Exhibit Opens in New Hampshire

by Lisa Sieverts

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Image: mid-1850s Dance Prompter’s Notebook

Interested in the history of contra and square dance? Come to Peterborough, New Hampshire, to view an exhibit opening on January 24, 2015:  “Gents Bow, Ladies Know How: Traditional Dance and Music in the Monadnock Region 1750-2015.”

“Gents Bow, Ladies Know How” traces the long history of traditional dance and music in southwestern New Hampshire from Colonial times to the present, with an emphasis on the 18th and 19th centuries. The Monadnock region of New Hampshire is one of the few places in the country where these dances have been done continuously since the mid-1700s.

The exhibit features artifacts, documents, instruments, photographs and audio recordings.  In addition to the on-going exhibit, there will be a series of presentations scheduled monthly beginning in February.

“Gents Bow, Ladies Know How” will be open to the public through May 23, 2015. The Monadnock Center’s regular hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 10 AM to 4 PM, and admission is $3.00 (free for Monadnock Center and Country Dance and Song Society members). The exhibit takes place in the historic Monadnock Center building in Peterborough, New Hampshire at 19 Grove Street.

Two local organizations, the Monadnock Center for History and Culture and the Monadnock Folklore Society, have partnered to develop this exhibit. Generous grant funding was received from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts. In addition, the Animal Care Clinic-Monadnock has sponsored the exhibit—the owner is the grandson of the caller Duke Miller.

The Country Dance and Song Society was the inspiration for this exhibit—the idea arose as the Monadnock Folklore Society brainstormed how to participate in the celebration of the CDSS Centennial.

For more information call 603-924-3235 or visit

The Monadnock Center for History and Culture is a community museum that has been dedicated to preserving and celebrating local history and culture since its founding in 1902. The Monadnock Folklore Society was founded in 1980 to increase the visibility of folk dance and music events in southern New Hampshire and provide educational services in the folk arts to the community.

Lisa Sieverts is an experienced project manager and facilitator, and owner of Facilitated Change. She is a longtime contra dancer and caller, and a regular caller at Nelson, NH’s Monday night dances. Lisa is a CDSS member and a member of the Monadnock Folklore Society’s board.


Monadnock region of New Hampshire, named after Mount Monadnock



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Pat Napier

by Katy Tarter German

In 2007, CDSS awarded its CDSS Lifetime Contribution Award to Patrick Napier of Bowling Green, Kentucky,  for his long service and inspirational teaching to his local community. The article below appeared in the CDSS News, issue #198, September/October 2007. Pat died on September 6, 2014, at the age of 88.

pat napierPat Napier is a living legend in Berea, Kentucky. He has been teaching Appalachian dancing and stories since the 1930s. A paper he wrote for a Berea College recreation class early in his career has been the gold standard for folk dance teachers and instructors, and is still being used today. For over fifty years, he has been a much-loved staff member at Berea College’s Christmas Country Dance School as the teller of Jack Tales and teacher of the Big Set and Kentucky Running Set dances.

As a boy, Pat was a student of the legendary Frank H. Smith who worked for Berea College and the Council of Southern Mountain Workers in the 1930s and ’40s. From him Pat learned singing games such as “Paw Paw Patch,” “Old Bald Eagle,” and “Jump Josie.” Learning folk games and dances from Smith and others, Pat attended his first Mountain Folk Festival in 1942.

“We practiced square dancing,” he said, “but used a two-hand swing mostly. The closed swing was used in our folk games but usually not permitted in the square dancing. The teachers finally got over this problem.”

Pat’s introduction to the Big Set was in the spring of 1943 when he entered Berea College. “Uncle Frank,” as Smith’s students called him, invited Pat to join the Country Dancers, and, at an early session, Smith announced Pat would call a square dance.

“As many of you know, says Pat, “there’s a difference between a good caller and a beginning caller so I did a very poor job.”

However, he made up for it. He joined the Merchant Marines in 1943 and wrote down all the dance figures he could remember, practicing his calling on the fantail of a Liberty ship in the South Atlantic and South Pacific oceans using imaginary dancers. Returning to Berea in 1946, he rejoined the Country Dancers as a caller and subsequently wrote the booklet Kentucky Mountain Square Dance as a paper for a Recreational Leadership class in 1949.

Pat Napier has worked quietly his entire life to bring history, tradition, music and dance into the lives of those who are most often overlooked. He has spent his whole life preaching and teaching Eastern Kentucky dance traditions in rural areas of the state. A firm believer of the community-building power of traditional dancing, he has been a mentor and inspiration to hundreds of people in Kentucky over the years.



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Math, Music and Contra Dance

by Lena Erickson

lena ericksonI first heard about contra dance at a small math conference in Northfield, Minnesota during the summer of 2013 when a graduate student described the connection between contra dance and permutation groups. Contra dance, a type of partnered folk dance, involves people dancing in two lines facing each other or in groups of four. If the participants of a contra dance are each labeled with a number, with n being the total number of dancers, then their most basic interactions during the contra dance can be represented as permutations on the set of numbers one through n.

norman, OK contra dance_miranda arana_cropped

Norman, OK, contra dance, December 2014 (Miranda Arana)


A permutation, put simply, means a reordering of members of a set, so a permutation of the dancers is a function that moves the dancers to other dancers’ positions, like two people swapping places (e.g. gents’ allemande), a group of four people circularly moving in a full rotation (e.g. circle left), or no one changing position (i.e. the identity permutation). If you combine these functions, adding one small dance step to another, you’re composing permutations, which is the operation that defines the algebraic structure known as a permutation group.

norman, OK contra dance 2_miranda arana

Norman, OK, contra dance, December 2014 (Miranda Arana)

This link to mathematics brings something special to contra dance: it evokes a feeling of connection to the universe at large. Permutation groups themselves are only yet a subset of the set of reflection symmetries, which has applications anywhere symmetry is present: in the structure of a snowflake, in the arrangement of atoms in a molecule, and even in the transpositions and inversions in Bach’s Art of Fugue, which are precisely the symmetries of a dodecagon. Math is deeply and richly tied to music and dance, and my knowing that the movement of our bodies in dance symbolized a greater relationship between elements brought an almost spiritual aspect to my experience of contra dance.While the mechanics of the dance were explainable by the mathematical structures I’d previously come to understand, the experience itself involved so much more: a sense of community, an interaction with people normally distanced, and the exhilarating act of applying these abstract concepts I’d learned to movement in the physical world, with music playing and bodies moving all around me.

Lena Erickson is a senior at Oklahoma University in Norman, OK, majoring in math.

Our thanks to CDSS member Miranda Arana who sent us Lena’s essay. She teaches Introduction to World Music for non-music majors at OU.

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Southwest Regional Organizers Conference (SWROC): From Conference to COALITION

by Linda Henry, CDSS Outreach Manager

Here’s a glimpse of history-in-the-making for dance communities throughout the Southwestern U.S…

SWROC group photoOn September 19, 2014, an enthusiastic crowd of 78 dance organizers from the Southwest (AZ, CA, CO, NM, NV, OK, TX, UT) and beyond (MA, TN) converged at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. They represented contra, English country, square, and gender-neutral dance communities. Whether they had met at regional dance weekends or were total strangers, their shared passion for dance organizing sparked conversations from the minute they arrived.

SWROCthreewomen_leithThe weekend was packed with pertinent workshop sessions covering three over-arching areas: Strengthening Your Organization, Improving Your Dance, and Growing the Market. For further glimpses of the program, follow these links to the schedule, session descriptions, workshop leaders, and archived materials from all sessions.

Beyond the structured sessions, participants enjoyed sharing meals, making new connections, and dancing together both evenings. Friday night we created an all-conference dance with calling and music by the participants, and on Saturday we swelled the ranks at the NM FolkMADS dance in Albuquerque.

SWROCdance1_leithAn especially pivotal discussion happened during a session called “Crossing the Border: Connecting groups within each state and throughout the region.” With the help of Wendy Graham’s skillful facilitation, twenty participants brainstormed ways to start collaborating about booking bands and callers, etc.

The session culminated with a BIG lightbulb moment that led to plans for a ground-breaking pilot project. This group will collaborate to create a tour for a well-known band to play for two consecutive dance weekends and travel from one event to the other, offering house concerts and workshops as they go. This type of tour has never happened in the Southwest and will open doors for bringing a new stream of talent to the entire region!

The group decided to keep the SWROC acronym and simply change the word “conference” to “coalition”. This outcome is exactly what CDSS hopes to make possible through supporting regional conferences like this.

SWROCcirclemixer_leithAs the conference came to a close, we did a circle mixer that ended with finding our own “trail buddy.” We talked in pairs about specific ways we’ll be supporting each other to strengthen our home dances by using resources from the weekend. A parting circle left us feeling energized by the exponential ripple effect it will have. These 78 participants are now bringing new resources, connections and energy to all their dance communities that each have 50-100+ members, reaching over 5,000 people!

I’ll end by thanking the MANY people who made SWROC possible. Members of the Steering Committee and Program Committee spent countless hours putting all the pieces into place. So here is a BIG THANK YOU to Ron and Linda Nieman, Nate Puffer, Annie Laskey, Erik Erhardt, Lisa Bertelli, Jeff Spero, and Michael Barraclough. We also greatly appreciate coordinator Deb Brunt and all Albuquerque volunteers who handled the local logistics.

We also thank the other co-sponsoring organizations (New Mexico Folk Music & Dance Society and Phoenix Traditional Music & Dance) and seven additional dance groups that helped organizers from their communities attend this conference.

For more information, see the SWROC website and visit this link for glimpses of previous conferences co-sponsored by CDSS. Questions? Contact Linda Henry, CDSS Outreach Manager.

P.S. Registrations are now open for the next conference. Puttin’ On the Dance 2: Hands Across the Border will be held on March 20-22, 2015 in Ottawa, ON. Information about registration and much more is available on the POTD2 website.

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