A Jumping June

The Worcester contra dance closed its 2018–2019 dance season to the music of Concepdance and the calling of Rich Sbardella! The summer heat was slowly making its presence known, but we remained cool and comfortable with ice cream novelties at break time, alongside traditional snacks of crackers, almond bars, and fruit salad.

Speaking of refreshments, you can always count on us to keep you hydrated — the water flows freely at our dances! But starting in this fall, we're going to be environmentally friendly by asking dancers to bring their own water bottles. We appreciate your support as we seek to eliminate cups from our dances.

Thank you to everyone who made this season a success! We're looking for volunteers to assist with opening the hall and taking admission in the new year. If you're interested, please contact us!

A jovial January

Mere cold won't keep Worcester's contra dancers away from our annual potluck! With clear skies and no chance of snow, the weather cooperated to make our first dance of 2019 a jovial one. Friends and families started arriving at 6 PM bearing a bounty of stews, salads, cookies, and cakes. After an hour of sharing favorite recipes, caller Tim Van Egmond ushered the satisfied diners onto the dance floor to be taught the basics of contra. Once equipped, the dancers balanced, swung, and danced away to the music of the Berlin Country Orchestra.

Our thanks to everyone who made the night a success! Interested in helping us with future dances in exchange for free admission? Sign up now!

einstein's little homunculus with Dugan Murphy calling

At the Worcester contra dance, April showers held off long enough for us to enjoy einstein's little homunculus, a regular fixture at our June dance but coming to us early this season. The five-part band kept everyone moving with their lively music and variety of instruments.

Our calling was provided by Portland, Maine's own Dugan Murphy, completing a three-day contra-calling tour that took him to Concord and Greenfield. His final stop saw him introducing many newcomers to the pastime of contra, while veterans enjoyed the combined kinetic calling and music.

We still have two dances left in the season, so please join us on May 12 for the music of Julie Metcalf & Mark David Buckles, with Dereck Kalish calling!

Remembering Linda Leslie

Linda Leslie
Linda Leslie

It is with heavy hearts that we let the Worcester contra dance community know of the passing of caller Linda Leslie on February 11, 2018.

Linda has called the Worcester dance many times in the past decade and was scheduled to call again this June. We wish with all our might that we could see her again on our dance floor.

The family has shared a tribute on Facebook, and we are forwarding the below email from Chris Ricciotti.

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A jocular June

Thank you to everyone who joined the Worcester contra dance this season! It was such a joy to share the music and calling of our bands and callers with so many wonderful dancers, both new and veteran. And what a wonderful way to end the season with einstein's little homunculus and Don Veino!

Our next dance is September 9 — but you don't need to wait until then to get your dance fix! Nearby Rutland will be picking up our slack with two Saturday dances on June 17 and July 15, 8–11 PM. That first dance is less than a week away and features the calling of Tod Whittemore from Connecticut. Joining him will be Julie Metcalf and friends, whose music is sure to delight us all.

The dance will be held at the Finnish Heritage Society on Finn Park Road in Rutland. Admission is $10 per adult and $5 per student.

For more details, visit the website or RSVP on Facebook.

See you in Rutland this weekend and in Worcester this fall. Have a happy and safe summer in between!

A mirthful May

The penultimate dance of Worcester's contra dance season was a happy and lively one, thanks to the calling of Dereck Kalish and the music of Chimney Swift. Dereck is a regular caller in Worcester, pairing his powerful sound system with talented and enthusiastic calling that accommodates all skill levels. Chimney Swift, a relatively new band from Boston, made their Worcester debut, bringing a rarely seen accordion and some fine vocal accompaniment to our musical scene. Despite some hiccups with the facilities, everyone had a wonderful time.

Expect to see and hear these performers at future Worcester dances. In the meantime, get ready for our June dance, featuring einstein's little homunculus and Don Veino!

An out-of-this-world October

Dugan Murphy shirts

Thank you to everyone who came to our second dance of the season! We barely got in some wonderful dancing in before Hurricane Matthew opened the skies.

Making the trek from Portland, Maine, was Dugan Murphy, a renowned caller who made his Worcester debut. His thoughtful, encouraging beginners' lesson and energetic, diverse calling accommodated a variety of skill levels, making everyone feel welcome.

Musician Jim Fownes last played the Worcester dance in May 2015, but he returned this month in a different configuration alongside his daughter, Kathleen. Together, they form Light Reaction, whose music totally rocked our hall.

Our thanks to everyone who has been generous with our new sliding scale admission fees! Instead of raising the prices, we've counted on your goodwill to allow us to afford such wonderful talent to perform at our dances. Thank you for being such charitable dancers.

On that note: We're always looking for volunteers to help us open and close the hall for each dance! Please email us if you can donate an hour of your time in exchange for free admission.

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