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Don your dancing shoes for the Historic Jonesborough Dance Society's contra dance

Contributed To The Press • Jun 14, 2018 at 4:45 AM

The Historic Jonesborough Dance Society will hold a contra dance on Saturday, June 16, 2018 at 7:30pm at Serenity Knoll Farm, 542 Bacon Branch Road, Jonesborough, TN. Performing for the dance will be the duo of George Paul and Kelsey Wells with caller Dean Snipes from Charlotte, NC. A class for beginners will be held at 7:00pm. Every dancer is encouraged to attend the class to become familiar with dance steps, formations and flow.

HJDS welcomes back a group of talented high school juniors and seniors from the Governor’s School at ETSU. “This is the sixth year that this group has come to our contra dance knowing they are in for a very fun and lively dance experience. In previous years, these students have brought lots of energy and enthusiasm to our dance. We ask our dance community to embrace them and show them the way of traditional folk dance” adds David Wiley, President and founder of the Historic Jonesborough Dance Society.

At the 9:00pm break, dancers will be treated to recorded waltz music and Klondike Bars.

“Our dancers are really getting the hang of it and the skill level is really getting better”, states event organizer David Wiley. Our dance is for all ages. “For some reason, I hear folks saying that they think our contra dance is geared to the older crowd. We have dancers of all ages from 8 to eighty. Plus, you don’t have to have a partner.” The best way to learn contra dance is by asking a more experienced partner to dance. It is perfectly acceptable for ladies to ask gentlemen to dance.

Admission to the dance is $7, $5 for students and children. A Family Package offer allows parents and as many children in their core family to get in for only $15.

Serenity Knoll Farm has an event center with a hilltop dance pavilion and commercial kitchen where the Serenity Knoll Cooking School opened for classes on May 1, 2018.

HJDS has moved their summer dances for June, July and August out to Serenity Knoll Farm.

Journeyman pianist and composer, George Paul performed with the Avant Gardeners, one of the premier contra and swing dance bands in the country for nine years. Their music consisted of American hybrid variety tunes, facile improvisations, and a range of performing styles from traditional swing, Celtic and old time. Recently, Paul toured with Playing with Fyre and a number of very talented fiddlers such as Cailen Campbell, Rob Zisette, Noah VanNorstrand and Ryan McCaslin leaving all the dancers who attended full of dance bliss and joy.

Kelsey Wells has been teaming with Jeremy Lekich in the band Turnip the Beet for the last several years. Kelsey plays fiddle, banjo, mbira, foot percussion and sings a tune or two.

Dean Snipes lives in the Charlotte, NC community where he is a part time farmer and maintenance technician. A dancer for many years, Dean Snipes also has been writing many dances. He could be seen dancing one minute and then over on the sidelines writing a new dance. He is very enthusiastic in his calling style and constantly uses the phrase “mighty fine” to describe the scene.

Contra dancing is a traditional form of American folk dance that evolved from the long ways country dances popular in English society centuries ago. Contra dance communities now thrive all over the country. There are websites that can direct you to contra dances in most states. The modern contra dances provide dancers of all ages and experience levels with the opportunity to smile, move, connect, flirt and create an evening of dance nirvana with each other. No previous dance experience is necessary. No fancy footwork is required. If you can walk and count to eight, you can contra dance!

Contra dances are community events. At almost any contra you will find people of all ages and all dance skill levels, from young to old, beginner to expert. Contra dancers form a very open and welcoming group of people. You can come alone or with others since it is a tradition to dance with a variety of partners throughout the night. It is perfectly acceptable for either a man or a woman to ask someone to dance. It’s a great way to make friends with someone they haven’t met before. You will find contra dancing a great way to make new friends.

For more information, contact event organizer David Wiley at 423-534-8879 or visit www.historicjonesboroughdancesociety.org on the web and on FACEBOOK.

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