Historic Jonesborough Dance Society to hold contra dance Saturday

Contributed To The Press • Dec 18, 2015 at 9:27 AM

The Historic Jonesborough Dance Society and the Jolly Ole Elf will hold a dance extravaganza Saturday, Dec. 19 at the Jonesborough Visitors Center, 117 Boone Street at 7 p.m. featuring “Sassafras Stomp” from Maine with Warren Doyle calling the dance.

Admission is $7, $5 for HJDS members and $5 for full time students. A class for newcomers to contra dances will run from 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m, and the dance will go from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Dancers are invited to bring their favorite holiday desserts for the 9 p.m. intermission.

Johanna Davis, part of the Sassafras Stomp duo, sings and plays fiddle and sometimes banjo. She grew up in Round Pond, Maine and started playing the fiddle in the 4th grade at Waldorf School. She grew up in a thriving community of dancers and contra dance musicians.

Adam Nordell plays guitar, sings, stamps his feet in syncopated patterns and sometimes plays the banjo. He grew up in the hills south of Helena, Montana, and at age 13 he received a bass guitar instead of a Bar Miztvah. He discovered high octane, traditional fiddle music at the little contra dance in Trenton, Maine. Soon thereafter, he bought a guitar and a pair of leather soled cowboy boots. He also performs as a songwriter.

Nordell and Davis also operate Songbird Farm, a certified organic, mixed vegetable farm on the bank of the Sandy River in western-central Maine. Along with a variety of other crops, they grow sweet potatoes, watermelons, dry beans and an heirloom New England flint corn. 

Warren Doyle is the co-founder of the Appalachian Folk School located near Mountain City. For forty years, Doyle was an educator for area colleges, hiked the Appalachian Trail, danced and called dances all over the country. His folk school houses the Appalachian Trail Institute where prospective trail hikers come for extensive training and orientation before their journey begins. Now retired, Doyle travels far and wide to continue his journey as caller, dancer and hiker.

He served on the HJDS board for several years helping to building the dance tradition here and produces a very popular dance weekend in Morgantown, WV called Contradancers Delight Holiday the last week of each year.

Before the class for newcomers, dancers are also invited to waltz from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. to recorded tunes.

“We do country dance waltz compared to ballroom style waltz,” said David Wiley, the event organizer. The folk waltz is quite different; it's sometimes described as a “one-step waltz.” HJDS is planning a series of waltz workshops in the new year to teach country waltz.

For more information on Saturday’s dance or any upcoming events, please call David Wiley at 423-534-8879, visit www.historicjonesboroughdancesociety.org or join the Historic Jonesborough Dance Society on Facebook.

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