Contra Dance January 28

Caller: Talib Huff
Music: Whiskey Brothers
Sound: Amanda Schmidt
Date: Saturday, January 28, 2023 (fourth Saturday)
Time: 7:00–10:00 pm, with newcomer’s orientation at 6:30 pm
Location: Coloma Community Center, 4623 T St, Sacramento, CA
Cost: $12 for adults; $8 for college students with ID; $5 for dancers under 18; $25 maximum for families (cash or check); If cost is the only thing preventing you being being there, please talk to the greeters at the door.

Talib Huff has been calling dances for over 20 years. He currently calls primarily in the Sacramento region and has led dances for local groups, schools wedding, festivals and dance communities.

From dance halls to a 20+ year regular gig at Berkeley’s famous Albatross Pub, the Whiskey Brothers have a long and storied history of offering up a variety of acoustic music. Up-tempo dance medleys, waltzes, Cajun two-steps, Conjunto polkas, classic country and bluegrass songs and more work their way through the Whiskey Brothers’ performances. The Whiskey Brothers Trio features John MacFarlane (fiddle), Jeff Ward (mandolin), and Dave Courchaine (guitar).


COVID Safety Information

We are no longer offering a rapid self-test option, and now require complete vaccination. We did offer a self-test option for a while, but it was never used, and on the request of a number of callers and dancers, we are returning to full vaccination policy.

The SCDS Covid safety policy requires full vaccination, including boosters. Masks must be worn at all times while inside the building. We recommend N95, KN95, or KF94 masks and do not allow masks with exhaust valves (because they don’t protect others), cloth masks, or surgical masks. Please bring your own water and snacks, and plan to step outside to eat or drink. Windows and doors will be open to ensure good ventilation, so please dress accordingly. Most importantly, if you’re not feeling well, stay home and join us next time.

If you haven’t been to a dance yet, please email a photo of your vaccination card to Laura Leonelli at lauraleo524@gmail.com before the dance. Please also print a copy of our waiver form, sign it, and bring your paper copy to the dance. You only need to do this once; we will record that you have provided this information, so that it will be valid for future dances.

NYE contra dance made us happy!

Our New Year’s Eve contra dance saw 69 happy people dancing to the music of the Syncopaths and the calling of Dane Wallinga. This is more people than have attended a dance since the beginning of the pandemic, and we saw a number of friends who were back for their first dance, and a few new people as well. With the expense of a nationally famous band, the Syncopaths, we still lost money on the evening, but it was a good investment if measured by the smiles and compliments of the dancers. However, in order to have a successful dances, and a successful organization, Sacramento Country Dance Society, we need more people to attend.

We have lost money on every contra dance since the beginning of the pandemic. We were in pretty good financial position before the pandemic, but the losses cannot continue. The traditional success of Echo Summit Contra Dance Weekend supported our organization overhead, while the regular contra dance and English Country Dance came close to breaking even. But with lower attendance has come big losses.

So, we invite you to come back, see old friends and make new friends, and dance your joy. And support your dance community.

Our requirements for vaccination and masking continue. The masking requirement makes some people unhappy, but it is the most effective way of preventing COVID-19 transmission, apparently more important than vaccination or self-tests before dances. Imagine a room full of people, exercising and breathing in close proximity. Masking is the best solution. A few dance communities that have dropped masking requirements have had a considerable number of COVID cases. On the other hand, the contra dance communities that many of the Sacramento dancers attend in other places have had no documented cases of transmission. Many people happily work with masking by sitting out some dances or even every other dance. You can always head outside for some un-masked breathing, as we only require masks in the building.

While we hope we are past peak pandemic and dance cancellation, our schedules may change, so it is always best to check the online calendar (Calendar) or subscribe to it in your personal calendar, and to subscribe to our email list on groups.io at https://groups.io/g/SactoCDS.

NYE contra dance, forward and back, by John Seto
NYE contra dance, balancing in the circle mixer, by John Seto
NYE contra dance, Syncopaths (Joe Craven, Ryan McKasson, Christa Burch, Jeff Spero), by Dan Allison

New Year’s Eve Contra Dance!

Note: The first dance of the new year will be English Country Dance on January 15 (third Sunday). There will be no English Country Dance on January 1 (first Sunday), nor contra dance on January 14 (second Saturday).

Caller: Dane Wallinga
Music: Syncopaths
Sound: Amanda Schmidt
Date: Saturday, December 31, 2022
Time: 8:00–12:00 midnight, with newcomer’s orientation at 7:40pm
Location: Coloma Community Center, 4623 T St, Sacramento, CA
Special NYE pricing: $18 for adults; $12 for college students with ID; $8 for dancers under 18; $40 maximum for families (cash or check)

Join us for four hours of contra dance on New Year’s Eve, 8:00PM to midnight, at Coloma Community Center. This is one of our biggest and most joyful events of the year, along with our Anniversary Dance in April, so you’ll want to be there. It’s a chance to see old friends and make new friends. Even if you can’t come for the entire evening, please come.

The Syncopaths, a Sacramento favorite, will play, with Dane Wallinga calling. Syncopaths are Jeff Spero, Ryan McKasson, Christa Burch, and Joe Craven stepping in for Ashley Hoyer (Broder). From dance floors to concert halls, the Syncopaths bring a fresh, contemporary spin to tunes and songs rooted in the Scottish, Irish, and American folk traditions. Evolving through their contradance origins, they are creating a “chamber folk” sound, characterized by the compelling rhythmic interplay of fiddle and mandolin, rich vocals, and unexpected colors and rhythms of the piano and bodhrån. The exuberant joy they derive from the music and each other is palpable and contagious. Joe Craven is not just an entertaining musician with a penchant for the mischievous, he is a teacher and student all at once and he will draw you into his performance by including you as though you’re part of the show itself. His gift of gab is unprecedented and his musical knowledge impressive. Joe’s openness and expression of gratitude for the gifts he’s acquired make it all the more fun for him to share them with his audience. Syncopaths homepage Joe Craven homepage

Dane Wallinga has quickly become a Bay Area go-to caller, giving dancers a thoughtful program of interesting, fun dances, called with a relaxed style.

We will have a New Year toast with sparking cider at midnight, outside (grab your coats), and a final waltz to bring in the New Year.

We do have higher pricing for the New Year’s Eve Contra Dance. If cost is the only thing preventing you being being there, please talk to the greeters at the door.

A newcomer’s orientation is offered at 7:40 pm, perfect for people who have not contra danced before, or who could use some refresher. Experienced dancers are invited to partner with newcomers during the orientation and early dances to help integrate them into the community. No partners are needed, so come by yourself or with friends or with family. Events are accessible to people with disabilities.

Contact: For more information, and lost and found, contact Laura Leonelli, 916-549-7093, or email sactocds@gmail.com. Our schedule of future dances is always available at https://sactocds.wordpress.com/calendar/. You may join our email list on groups.io at https://groups.io/g/SactoCDS/. Please enter your name when joining.


COVID Safety Information

We are no longer offering a rapid self-test option, and now require complete vaccination. We did offer a self-test option for a while, but it was never used, and on the request of a number of callers and dancers, we are returning to full vaccination policy.

The SCDS Covid safety policy requires full vaccination, including boosters. Masks must be worn at all times while inside the building. We recommend N95, KN95, or KF94 masks and do not allow masks with exhaust valves (because they don’t protect others), cloth masks, or surgical masks. Please bring your own water and snacks, and plan to step outside to eat or drink. Windows and doors will be open to ensure good ventilation, so please dress accordingly. Most importantly, if you’re not feeling well, stay home and join us next time.

If you haven’t been to a dance yet, please email a photo of your vaccination card to Laura Leonelli at lauraleo524@gmail.com before the dance. Please also print a copy of our waiver form, sign it, and bring your paper copy to the dance. You only need to do this once; we will record that you have provided this information, so that it will be valid for future dances.

Contra Dance December 10

Our New Year’s Eve Dance will be December 31, 8:00PM to midnight. Save the date!

Talent: Talib Huff calling to the music of Jeff Spero and M’Gilvry Allen
Date: Saturday, December 10, 2022 (first Saturday)
Time: 7:00–10:00 pm, with newcomer’s orientation at 6:30 pm
Location: Coloma Community Center, 4623 T St, Sacramento, CA
Cost: $12 for adults; $8 for college students with ID; $5 for dancers under 18; $25 maximum for families (cash or check)

Talib Huff has been calling dances for over 20 years. He currently calls primarily in the Sacramento region and has led dances for local groups, schools wedding, festivals and dance communities. Jeffrey Spero has become one of the premiere dance pianists on the west coast.  Known for his energetic style and creative arrangements, Jeff has brought his talents to dances and festivals throughout the nation. His accompaniments bring a fresh perspective to traditional forms. He is a member of The Syncopaths. M’Gilvry Allen grew up under a rock in Sebastopol, California, playing traditional Scottish and Irish fiddle music with his family. Now he’s a professional music maker in Oakland, using those same folk instruments plus some fancy electronic tools to make music that feels like breathing underwater.


COVID Safety Information

We are no longer offering a rapid self-test option, and now require complete vaccination. We did offer a self-test option for a while, but it was never used, and on the request of a number of callers and dancers, we are returning to full vaccination policy.

The SCDS Covid safety policy requires full vaccination, including boosters. Masks must be worn at all times while inside the building. We recommend N95, KN95, or KF94 masks and do not allow masks with exhaust valves (because they don’t protect others), cloth masks, or surgical masks. Please bring your own water and snacks, and plan to step outside to eat or drink. Windows and doors will be open to ensure good ventilation, so please dress accordingly. Most importantly, if you’re not feeling well, stay home and join us next time.

If you haven’t been to a dance yet, please email a photo of your vaccination card to Laura Leonelli at lauraleo524@gmail.com before the dance. Please also print a copy of our waiver form, sign it, and bring your paper copy to the dance. You only need to do this once; we will record that you have provided this information, so that it will be valid for future dances.

Contra Dance November 26

Our New Year’s Eve Dance will be December 31, 8:00PM to midnight. Save the date!

Talent: Mark Goodwin calling to the music of Kathrine Gardner and Will Wheeler
Date: Saturday, November 26, 2022 (fourth Saturday)
Time: 7:00–10:00 pm, with newcomer’s orientation at 6:30 pm
Location: Coloma Community Center, 4623 T St, Sacramento, CA
Cost: $12 for adults; $8 for college students with ID; $5 for dancers under 18; $25 maximum for families (cash or check)

Mark Goodman, Katherine Gardner, Will Wheeler

Mark Goodwin began calling contra dance in Chico in 2001 and has called for local regional dances, including Nevada City and Newcastle. His aim is to call programs that bring everyone along for the ride, with dances that are memorable, have intuitive transitions, and weave familiar and interesting elements into a variety of dancer interactions.

Kathrine Gardner has been a dedicated dance fiddler since the mid 80’s, and has played in many great Bay Area bands. Many have fallen in love with her ethereal yet driving fiddle playing. Will Wheeler from the Bay Area band the wiNgNuts, plays powerful, diverse guitar and driving foot percussion.

New Year’s Eve Contra Dance

Please join us for the traditional New Year’s Eve Dance! While this dance is always a special event, this one is extra special, with Sacramento favorites Syncopaths coming to play their wild and soulful music.

The success of New Year’s Eve will also have an effect on our dance schedule in the new year, 2023. Can we continue to have two contra dances a month, plus fifth Saturday Zesty Contras? Or will we have to trim back to one dance a month? We know you have many options for your New Year’s Eve, but we hope you will join us for all or part of the evening. Four hours of dancing, 8:00PM to midnight! And a chance to catch up with old friends and make new friends.

Pricing for the dance will be $18 adults, $12 college students, $9 youth, and $40 families.

So put it on your calendar now. There will be another announcement as the date gets closer.

Contra Dance November 12

Talent: Kelsey Hartman calling to the music of Tartan Suite (Caroline McCaskey and Patti Cobb)
Date: Saturday, November 12, 2022 (second Saturday)
Time: 7:00–10:00 pm, with newcomer’s orientation at 6:30 pm
Location: Coloma Community Center, 4623 T St, Sacramento, CA
Cost: $12 for adults; $8 for college students with ID; $5 for dancers under 18; $25 maximum for families (cash or check)

Caller Kelsey Hartman is a “contraholic,” who can often be found dancing or calling a contra dance. Her inspiration comes from Nils Fredland, whose workshop in 2012 spurred her down the caller’s path. When calling, she considers herself a conduit between the dancers and the band, helping to channel the joy of the music through flowing, interesting dances.

Tartan Suite is fiddler Caroline McCaskey and pianist Patti Cobb. They are also two of the three members of the contra band StringFire.

A newcomer’s orientation is offered at 6:30 pm, perfect for people who have not contra danced before, or who could use some refresher. Experienced dancers are invited to partner with newcomers during the orientation and early dances to help integrate them into the community.

No fifth Saturday contra dance

SCDS will NOT be hosting a fifth Saturday contra dance on this upcoming Saturday, October 29. It was not possible to schedule a band and caller for the date. A number of dancers wore Halloween costumes to our last October 22 dance. It appears there is a Halloween Costume Ball in Palo Alto on the 29th. Check BACDS for info.

The next contra dance is Saturday, November 12. The next English country dance is Sunday, November 6.

Contra Dance Oct 22 and English Country Dance Oct 23

We’re hosting two dances this weekend: a contra dance on Saturday, October 22nd and an English country dance on Sunday, October 23rd. Details for both dances are below.

Contra Dance
Talent: Mike Fynan calling to the music of Magic Reelism
Date: Saturday, October 22, 2022
Time: 7:00–10:00 pm, with newcomer’s orientation at 6:30 pm
Location: Coloma Community Center, 4623 T St, Sacramento, CA
Cost: $12 for adults; $8 for college students with ID; $5 for dancers under 18; $25 maximum for families (cash or check)

Hailing from Santa Rosa, Mike Fynan is a flashy and innovative caller. Magic Reelism plays old-time and Celtic dance music, with David Wright on fiddle and mandolins, Sue Jones on concertina and recorders, Chetani Cheryl McKinney on piano, and Del Eckels on percussion.

A newcomer’s orientation is offered at 6:30 pm, perfect for people who have not contra danced before, or who could use some refresher. Experienced dancers are invited to partner with newcomers during the orientation and early dances to help integrate them into the community.

English Country Dance
Talent: Gary Sandler calling to the music of Quite Carried Away
Date: Sunday, October 23, 2022
Time: 2:00-5:00 pm, with newcomer’s workshop at 1:30 pm
Location: Young Ladies Institute, 1400 27th St., Sacramento
Cost: $10 for adults; $8 for college students with ID; $5 for dancers under 18; $25 maximum for families (cash or check)

Gary Sandler believes in helping dancers get more fun out of their dances, whether through safe and comfortable hand-holds or clear direct instructions.  He likes to vary the dance structures, shifting from lines to circles and squares. The music will be provided by Quite Carried Away, our house band: Dick Holdstock on octave mandolin and banjo, Susan Jones on concertina, Arlene Jamar on piano, Jane Kostka on whistle, Martin Lodahl on viola da gamba, and David Wright on fiddle and mandolin.

As usual, beginners are welcome.  If you are bringing, or know of any, first-timers, please urge them to come at 1:30 for the introductory workshop that precedes the dance.

No partners are needed, so come by yourself or with friends or with family. Both events are accessible to people with disabilities.

For more information, and lost and found, contact Laura Leonelli, 916-549-7093, or email info@sactocds.org.

Contra Dance Oct 8 and English Country Dance Oct 9

We’re hosting two dances on the second weekend in October: a contra dance on Saturday, October 8th and an English country dance on Sunday, October 9th. Details for both dances are below.

Contra Dance
Talent: Talib Huff calling to the music of Star Thistle
Date: Saturday, October 8, 2022
Time: 7:00–10:00 pm, with newcomer’s orientation at 6:30 pm
Location: Coloma Community Center, 4623 T St, Sacramento, CA
Cost: $12 for adults; $8 for college students with ID; $5 for dancers under 18; $25 maximum for families (cash or check)

Talib Huff has been calling dances for over 20 years. He currently calls primarily in the Sacramento region and has led dances for local groups, schools, weddings, festivals and dance communities. Star Thistle plays contra dances featuring Celtic, old-time, and other music. The band is Lonna Whipple (fiddle), David Wright (fiddle and mandolin), and Cheryl McKinney (keyboard).

A newcomer’s orientation is offered at 6:30 pm, perfect for people who have not contra danced before, or who could use some refresher. Experienced dancers are invited to partner with newcomers during the orientation and early dances to help integrate them into the community.

English Country Dance
Talent: Bruce Herbold calling to the music of Quite Carried Away
Date: Sunday, October 9, 2022
Time: 2:00-5:00 pm, with newcomer’s workshop at 1:30 pm
Location: Polish American Hall, 327 Main St, Roseville
Cost: $10 for adults; $8 for college students with ID; $5 for dancers under 18; $25 maximum for families (cash or check)

Bruce Herbold started dancing Scottish country dance in 1977 in Berkeley and got seriously into English country dance in the 90s. He teaches two SCD classes each week and calls ECD all around the Bay Area.  His overarching goals as a caller and a teacher are to make the dancing sociable and fun. He believes that every good dance tells a story. The music will be provided by Quite Carried Away, our house band: Dick Holdstock on octave mandolin and banjo, Susan Jones on concertina, Arlene Jamar on piano, Jane Kostka on whistle, Martin Lodahl on viola da gamba, and David Wright on fiddle and mandolin.

As usual, beginners are welcome.  If you are bringing, or know of any, first-timers, please urge them to come at 1:30 for the introductory workshop that precedes the dance.

No partners are needed, so come by yourself or with friends or with family. Both events are accessible to people with disabilities.

For more information, and lost and found, contact Laura Leonelli, 916-549-7093, or email info@sactocds.org.