CANCELED – July 3rd English Country Dance

We’re sorry to announce that Sacramento and surrounding counties are in the CDC’s red zone again this week, so the English country dance that was scheduled for Sunday, July 3rd, has been canceled. 

Don’t forget to check our calendar before heading out to SCDS dances in the near future. We’ll try again to hold an English dance in a couple of weeks on July 17th, depending on what Covid has in store for us.

CANCELED – June 11th Contra Dance

The last few days have really been a roller-coaster ride. When I sent out my last message, I thought the picture looked less than rosy, but little imagined that the CDC was about to put us into the red risk zone. Their schedule is very inconvenient for us, but I don’t suppose they care much. They update their ratings on Thursday evenings, we see them on Fridays, and have at most a day or two to react. 

Our COVID policy calls for us not to dance at all if we’re in a red zone, as the CDC’s criteria for that is that local hospitals are being stressed by COVID cases, so we’d be risking not only the health of our own dancers, but potentially risking delaying treatment for other community members. The board, therefore, canceled last Sunday’s English country dance, which was particularly painful to the band, which had been rehearsing the tunes and were looking forward to a delightful dance.  

The board didn’t cancel next Saturday’s contra dance, though, because there was another CDC cycle before that, and just possibly we’d be back in the yellow. Right. Then last night, word emerged that hidden away in an obscure CDC technical page on COVID death statistics, there was a notice that starting yesterday a massive upgrade was being done to the National Vital Statistics System, so no new data would be reaching COVID dashboards and databases until June 21st! Clearly, we weren’t going to move into the yellow zone on Friday.

Our first thought was to look at data coming from the California Department of Public Health to see what the likely situation would be. It was disappointing. The most recent hospitalization data for our counties was last Friday’s, and the trend then was upward. A sensible suggestion was advanced to turn the dance into a concert, which the board considered, but our past experience has been that they cost the same to put on as dances, but are sparsely attended.  

We understood when we returned to dancing that we’d be running deficits for a time, but there are limits to how long we can do that, so we tightened our belt. We hope to be back in action in July, but please remember to check the SCDS calendar before coming to a dance! The schedule might have to change quickly.

Martin Lodahl
Board President

CANCELED – June 6th English Country Dance

This week the CDC declared all our local counties (Sacramento, Placer, El Dorado, and Yolo) to be in the red zone for Covid, meaning that our hospitals are under immediate threat of being overwhelmed. 

To be good stewards of our community, the SCDS board had previously agreed that we would temporarily pause our dances if that happened, so we are canceling the English dance that was scheduled for this Sunday, June 6th. 

We apologize for the late notice. Unfortunately, the CDC’s weekly data release does not fit very well with our dance schedule.

Dancing resumes in March!

The SCDS Board and committees have been working intensively over the last couple of weeks to get us back to dancing, safely. It’s looking like we may be there! If the transmission rates continue to fall, if no new fierce variant pops up, and if public health advisories remain as they are now, English country dance will resume on March 20th, with Alisa Dodson calling to the music of Quite Carried Away at the Polish-American Hall in Roseville, and contra on March 26th!

This is part of the process of learning to live with COVID, our newest endemic disease. Since you can’t negotiate with a virus, all the concessions are on our side. We won’t be dancing like we did before. Changes include:

·   Proof of vaccination AND BOOSTER required.  There will be a sign-in checkpoint outside the hall, and once verified, you shouldn’t have to show your card again at future dances. Sorry, natural immunity claims cannot be honored.

·   Masking is required. High-quality masks only; no cloth masks, bandannas, neck-gaiters or other foolishness. The idea is to keep us safe, and we have high-risk people in the community.

·   Windows will be open to maximize changes of air in the hall, so dress accordingly.

·   Bring your own water bottle, please, and step outside to drink from it. Similarly, please don’t eat in the hall. Masks must be worn at all times.

·   If you’re not feeling well, come to the next dance, not this one.

It’s really all common sense and consideration. We can take a little inconvenience to keep dancers, callers, and bands safe. As the threat eases over time, we’ll gradually adapt.

My refrain continues to be, check the calendar at before coming to a dance! In the months ahead, we anticipate having to cancel some dances as conditions change, though I hope to be wrong about that.

Martin Lodahl, Board President
Sacramento Country Dance Society

Echo Summit will return next year

We’re disappointed to announce that the Sacramento Country Dance Society has decided not to hold Echo Summit Dance Camp this September.  Although we probably could have figured out how to hold camp safely, there were too many constraints and limitations to make the weekend a fun experience. In particular, Camp Sacramento’s Covid-19 guidelines would not allow us to dance inside or to eat together in the dining hall. We expect to return to camp next year and hope to see you there! Thank you for your understanding.

Board election & Big Day of Giving

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we are asking our dancers to vote (yes or no) on the Sacramento Country Dance Society Board nominee slate (below) by sending an email to We wish we could see you in person at our Anniversary Dance instead!

BDOG-2020-logo-magenta-violetThe Big Day of Giving is coming up on May 7th. Thinking of all those who may need help at this time, we encourage you to give where your heart is and as you are able. If you want to help SCDS put on special events and workshops, train callers and musicians, and buy big-ticket items like sound equipment, our donation page is open now through May 7th.

Please share this information with anyone you know who might be interested. If you are not receiving our email announcements, you can sign up at

Thanks to the careful stewardship of previous Board members, Sacramento Country Dance Society remains in solid financial shape. When it is safe to dance, we will be back and overjoyed to see all of you again!

2020-2021 SCDS Board of Directors nominations:
Sandra Aamodt
Susan Jones
Laura Leonelli
Karen Leyse
Martin Lodahl
Virgil Schmidt
Douglas Schwilk
Susan Stratton
Pam Wade
Bobbie Watson

SCDS dances CANCELED through June 30th & Board nominations

Covid-19, the new coronavirus, is spreading through California, and we need to work together to stop its transmission by staying home for a while. Protecting our community is a key value of SCDS, so we have reluctantly chosen to cancel our dances through June 30th. At that time, we will re-evaluate the situation and decide what to do going forward. We’re very sorry to miss dancing with all of you and hope to be able to see you again soon!

One consequence of this decision is that we will not be able to meet in person to elect a new Board of Directors in April. Instead, the slate of nominees is listed below and in our email newsletter, and we will ask you to vote by email at the end of next month. Please share this information with anyone you know who might be interested. (If you are not yet receiving our email announcements, you can sign up at

If you’d like to support freelance callers and musicians during this difficult time, CDSS (our parent organization) has put together a list of ways to help here:

Closer to home, you can support our musicians and dancers:
Topher Gayle
Celia Ramsay
Ryan McKasson
The Syncopaths
Nancy Thym

2020-2021 SCDS Board of Directors nominations:
Sandra Aamodt
Susan Jones
Laura Leonelli
Karen Leyse
Martin Lodahl
Virgil Schmidt
Douglas Schwilk
Susan Stratton
Pam Wade
Bobbie Watson

Anniversary dance, April 28th

Note special time and location. To celebrate the 32nd anniversary of the Sacramento Country Dance Society, we are hosting an English country dance in the afternoon (2-5 pm), followed by a potluck dinner with Board election, and then a contra dance in the evening (7-10 pm). Please join us at Camp Pollock for this special event!

Date: Saturday, April 28, 2018
Time: 2:00–10:00 pm, see below for complete schedule
Location: Camp Pollock, 1501 Northgate Blvd., Sacramento
Cost: For adults, $10 for the English dance, $12 for the contra dance, or $15 for both; $8 for college students with ID; $5 for dancers under 18 (cash or check)

Schedule (see below for details):
1:30 pm – English newcomer’s orientation
2:00 – 5:00 pm – English country dance
4:30 – 5:00 Maypole dance — all invited!
5:00 – 5:30 garden tour
5:30 – 6:30 potluck dinner
6:00 Board election
6:30 contra dance beginner session
7:00 – 10:00 contra dance
At the English dance, Yvonne Couvillon, Gary Sandler, and Joyce Uggla will call to the music of our house band, Quite Carried Away. Yvonne Couvillion has been dancing since age 9 and began calling over 30 years ago. Gary Sandler came to folk dancing through his son’s involvement and discovered a great love of English country dance. Joyce Uggla was one of the founders of the Bay Area Country Dance Society and has been on the Playford Ball Committee for years. This dance will replace the English country dance normally held on the first Sunday in May.
More of a chamber orchestra than a band, Quite Carried Away has been honing its consensus of pitch, rhythm, and drive since 2002. The group is David Wright on violin and mandolin, Arlene Jamar on piano, Martin Lodahl on viola de gamba and recorder, Sandra Westfall on concertina, Susan Jones on concertina and recorder, Jane Kostka on penny whistles, and Dick Holdstock on cittern, mandolin, and banjo.
For the potluck between the two dances, please bring a dish to share with serving utensils. We will provide plates, napkins, and utensils. Bring your own beverage.
At the contra dance, Susan Petrick will call to the music of StringFire (Patti Cobb & Eric Ievins with Caroline McCaskey). Susan Petrick has become a regional treasure with national prominence, who tours throughout the country calling for dance weekends and festivals. She is well-known for her clear teaching, efficient guidance, and expert pacing, making even complex dances accessible to all.
StringFire’s infectious spirit of musical fun infiltrates the hearts and feet of musicians and dancers alike. The combination of classical training, tune writing, and superb improvisational skills creates an out-of-the-ordinary groove you won’t want to miss! The band’s dynamic, wide-ranging repertoire is driven by Patti Cobb’s bluesy piano and Erik Ievins’ vibrant bass and sonorous, sparkling cello. The fiery, intricate work of Caroline McCaskey’s fiddle completes StringFire’s signature sound.

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

For more information, and lost and found, contact Laura Leonelli, 916-549-7093, or email

Upcoming events:
Note: no English country dance in May
May 12: contra dance
May 26: contra dance
June 3: English country dance

Want to help us out?

Has connecting with friends on the dance floor made your life sweeter? Organizing dances is a lot of work, and the Sacramento Country Dance Society can always use more help! Volunteering is a great way to form stronger bonds with our community. If you’ve been enjoying our dances, here are some opportunities to give back.

First, you can support SCDS financially through the links on our Donations page. We are a 503(c) organization, so all your contributions are tax deductible.

You can even improve our finances without giving any money yourself. SCDS uses Amazon Smile. If you sign up with SCDS as your charity through that link, a small part of the amount you spend comes to SCDS every time you shop, at no charge to you. Sign up today, and buy your holiday presents through the link.

Second, SCDS simply could not exist without volunteers.  Whether you’d like to work the door at dances, be trained as a sound technician, help with publicity, or guide long-term strategy as a board member, there’s an opportunity waiting for you.  Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, use your current skills, or learn new ones, and it’s lots of fun!

The Echo Summit Dance Camp requires a large number of volunteers, for tasks like greeting and cabin assignment, sweeping the dance floor, moving furniture, assisting the bands and callers, keeping water dispensers full, organizing the first night potluck, and many more. Though everyone is welcome to help, there are a limited number of work scholarships for low-income people who perform a required number of hours of volunteer work in trade for a reduced registration fee.

If you’re interested in volunteering your time, please speak to any of our Board members at dances, or send an email inquiry to  We’d love to have you!