The Historic Jonesborough Dance Society and the Jolly Ole Elf will hold a dance extravaganza on Saturday December 17, 2016 at the Jonesborough Visitors Center, 117 Boone Street at 7:00pm featuring the North Carolina based band “Rip the Calico” with Phoebe Williams calling the dance. Admission is $7, $5 for HJDS members and $5 for full time students.
A class for newcomer contra dances will run from 7:00-7:30pm. The dance will go from 7:30-10:30pm. Dancers are invited to bring their favorite holiday desserts for the 9:00pm intermission. This event will cap a twelve-year run of contra dances in Jonesborough!
Dancers are invited to waltz from 6:00-7:00pm to recorded music. “We do country dance waltz compared to ballroom style waltz” offers David Wiley, event organizer. When people say “I can’t waltz”, they’re probably thinking back to their ballroom dancing days. But a ballroom waltz is quite a different animal from a country dance waltz. For one thing, it’s a lot slower. For another, you spend almost the whole time in ballroom position. But the crucial difference is that a ballroom waltz is made up of three steps. The man steps forward, putting his right leg between his partner’s legs, then he takes his left leg forward and to the side, then he closes right to left. In the next bar he steps backward on his left, and it’s the lady’s turn to step forward on the right.
The folk waltz is quite different; it’s sometimes described as a “one-step waltz”. You still do three steps: right, left, right — but the second and third are pretty much on the spot; the first step is where you do most of the travelling. It really isn’t forward-side-together; it’s step-two-three, step-two-three. If you concentrate on the first step and let the other two just happen, you’ll find the whole thing much easier. Turn your shoulders and your feet will follow — it sounds silly, but it’s absolutely true. HJDS is planning a series of waltz workshops in the next few months to teach country waltz.
Rip the Calico is a high energy contra dance band from North Carolina. Drawing heavily from Celtic influences (and origins), the “Calicos” will take you on a dance journey from dulcet circlings to mad romps across the dance floor.
Alison Arnold is the force behind the band’s soaring melodies and rich harmonies. Alison is an accomplished ethnomusicologist on the music faculty at North Carolina State University and teaches diverse classes on music and culture. In addition to being fluent in Irish traditional music, Alison is an expert on Hindi film music, having traveled extensively in the remotest regions of the world in search of rare instruments and localized music.
Gordon Arnold is on the vanguard of bringing the cello back to the forefront of community dance music. He does so not only with the heart wrenching beauty that only the cello can render, but also with modern slap, funk, and groove that gets up under the dance floor and shakes the hall. Gordon is also an award winning claw hammer banjo player. The band leans on him for old time music when Irish tunes are just too intellectual.
Mairead Brady provides Rip the Calico’s driving melodies and gorgeous harmonies on the fiddle. Mairead hails from central North Carolina, where she grew up listening to Martin Hayes, Marc O’Conner, and Kenny Baker. She was classically trained but made the conversion to Irish fiddle styles and hasn’t looked back.
Tyler Johnson handles the bands’ fretted strings on tenor banjo, mandolin, octave mandolin, and guitar. He has over thirty years of experience as a musician and provides a great deal of the bands’ chordal interpretation, texture and mood.
Nationally renowned dance caller, Tom Hinds, shares this:
“I’ve worked with hundreds of dance bands and Rip the Calico is one of the best. Their music is interesting and high energy without sacrificing any of the elements that dancers need like good phrasing, great tempos and a solid beat. Some bands give dancers what they need. Other bands give dancers what they want. Rip the Calico gives them both!”
The contra dance will include several historic dances that have a Christmas theme including “Holiday Jig” by Ted Sanella, “Christmas Eve Quadrille” by Tom Hinds and “Christmas Hornpipe” by Ralph Page.
Phoebe Williams was born into a contra dance family. She started calling contra dances about 6 years ago. A dance enthusiast in her own right, Phoebe has participated in a variety of dance styles. She can teach swing, waltz, Irish set, Irish step, Scottish country style dance. As a caller, she likes to focus on the community aspect of dance and the overall pattern of the dance. Making beginners feel welcome and giving advanced dancers style points to think of is her only goal.
For more information on Saturday’s dance or any upcoming events, please call David Wiley at 423-534-8879 or visit www.historicjonesboroughdancesociety.org. Or Historic Jonesborough Dance Society on FACEBOOK.
Santa is Coming | East Coast Wings & Grill | 2637 East Stone Drive Kingsport
Santa is coming! Join us on Wednesday, December 20 from 5-7pm for complimentary holiday crafts in conjunction with kids eat free after 3:30. You won’t want to miss this!