CDSS Week at Timber Ridge
August 16 - 23, 2009

Program Directors
Joel Bluestein
Michal Warshow

Karen Axelrod*
Sam Bartlett
David Cantieni
Jubal Creech
Bob Dalsemer*
John Devine
Ralph Gordon
Ethan Hazzard-Watkins
Steve Hickman
Abby Ladin
Kappy Laning*
Leslie Jeanne Milbourne
Elvie Miller
David Millstone*
Naomi Morse
DeLaura Padovan
Olivia Padovan-Merhar
Anna Patton
Brad Sayler
Bill Wellington
Dave Wiesler
Elise Witt

* Advisors, plus
Steve Howe

English & American Dance & Music for Adults & Families at Timber Ridge

August 16 - 23, 2009

This week is over -- see you next year!

Tentative Schedule

Timber Ridge
Tentative Schedule
7:45 - 8:30 Breakfast
8:15 - 8:45 Vocal and Body Warm-Up with Elise
9:00 - 10:00
Morning children's classes, divided by age group
English Breakfast Brad Sayler
Great American Dances David Millstone
10:00 Refreshments
10:15 Two Gatherings
11:00 - 12:30 Swim and relax time,
Bookstore staffed
11:15 - 12:15
Experienced English David Millstone
Lichfield Morris Brad Sayler
12:30 - 1:30 Buffet Lunch
1:00 - 1:30 Canoeing on the River
1:30 - 2:15 Bookstore Staffed
1:45 - 2:45
* Rest time for all who will
* Songs and Stories Jubal Creech
* Nature Explorations Leslie Jeanne Milbourne
* Harmony Singing Elise Witt
* Bartlett's Art Sam Bartlett
Mixed Bag of Dance David Millstone
3:00 - 4:00
Afternoon children's classes, divided by age group
American Sampler Bob Dalsemer
Clogging Basics Abby Ladin
4:15 - 5:15 Swimming and Handiwork by the Pool
* Dance Band David Cantieni and Ralph Gordon
Callers Open Mic DeLaura Padovan
Afro-Celt Percussion Jubal Creech
Rapper Kappy Laning
5:15 - 5:45 Adult Swimming
4:45 - 5:45 Bookstore staffed
5:15 - 5:45 Sing For Your Supper
5:45 - 6:45 Dinner
6:45 Parade from The Grove to...

7:00 - 7:35 Community Dance

7:35 - 8:15 All Camp Gathering

8:15 Pied Piper / Bedtime for children 9 and younger
8:30 - 11:00 Evening Dance Party
9:30 Bedtime for 10-12 year olds
11:00 Optional after-dance activities/parties
* May include younger campers

Program Description

Look up our Family Programs and Adult Programs for some general information.

Bob Dalsemer will lead an American Dance Callers Course concurrent with this week (pre-registration required).

Ethan Hazzard-Watkins will lead an Advanced Dance and Music Course for Young Adults concurrent with this week (pre-registration required).

The week at Timber Ridge camp has grown to become the Southern Center of CDSS music and dance programs. Located in West Virginia, but only 90 minutes from the Washington, DC area, Timber Ridge is a whole world of dance, music, singing, stories and art for adults, kids, families and young adults. This year we have a full program of adult dancing, a full family program, a young adult program and an American dance callers program. All woven together, these programs reflect the depth and diversity of the Timber Ridge community.

This is a week in a beautiful rural setting with woods, a river and individual lodging for families. Kids have two scheduled classes per day and many other options at other times. The adult program includes a mix of English country and American dancing, American clogging, morris dancing and rapper. Mixed age classes include singing, music, art, nature, crafts and more. These interlinking programs keep everyone entertained, stimulated or relaxed, depending on each camper's interest. It's a great getaway for families, couples and singles.

Dance opportunities will abound during this week. Popular caller and dance historian David Millstone will treat us to both English country and American dances. David's calling lights up the hall and makes everyone's step a little lighter. Bob Dalsemer, one of the founders of the Baltimore/DC dance scene, will lead American dances in addition to his concurrent American Dance Callers Course (separate registration). Bob's encyclopedic knowledge of dance styles and precise calling will make this a challenging and exciting class. Brad Sayler will add to the English program and teach morris dances for adults and kids. Brad's style and humor complement his knowledge and clear teaching. Abby Ladin, whose feet move almost as fast as her twins, will clarify the mysteries of clogging for beginners and challenge everyone else. The ever-popular rapper class will be taught by the ever-popular Kappy Laning. DeLaura Padovan will treat us to wonderful dances at the evening gathering and host an open mic for all aspiring callers in the afternoon.

No one can ask for a better group of musicians -- Karen Axelrod and Dave Wiesler on piano, John Devine and Sam Bartlett on fretted instruments, David Cantieni and Anna Patton on wind instruments, Ralph Gordon on cello and bass, and four exceptional fiddlers: Steve Hickman, Ethan Hazzard-Watkins, Naomi Morse and Bill Wellington. Elvie Miller returns with her accordion in hand and Jubal Creech mixes it all up with his drums and percussion. The possible dazzling combinations are incredible to imagine. Evening dances will never be the same!

What's music without singing? Singer, composer and arranger Elise Witt has spanned the vocal range from soloist to large choirs, classical to folk to international, and spanned the globe from Atlanta to South Africa to China. Elise will lead adults and kids in songs and harmonies from many cultures. She'll also help us start the day with a vocal and body warm-up.

We have two gatherings in the morning -- one for adults and one for the family crowd. Both feature stories, songs, stunts, follies, foolishness and frivolity.

Children's twice daily classes will include clogging, morris dancing, contra dancing, nature, crafts, percussion, stories, songs, games and more with some of the younger crowd's most beloved teachers. (See schedule below).

After dinner, we start with the evening community dance and then share more music and song at the all camp gathering which finishes with a bedtime story from Jubal. Then the Pied Piper (John Devine) leads the younger kids to bed with a song. (It's such a great tradition that some of the older kids go along for the ride.)

We have some of everything in the evening dances and give the musicians and callers a chance to try out different combinations. But that's not all! Timber Ridge rocks at night! The honky-tonk, song swap, cabaret and other late night events are legendary. This year we'll have more impromptu late night dances for those who still have the energy -- and it's amazing how many do.

When you need a break from music and dance (huh?!), art, nature walks, swimming, tennis, basketball and plain old out hanging out with old and new friends are all available.

The week ends with a day of show and tell, the costumed parade, a pool party and dancing into the wee hours. In short, there's something for everyone. Come join us for a great week at Timber Ridge!

-- Joel Bluestein and Michal Warshow, Program Directors


Karen Axelrod plays piano for English, American and Scottish dance and has been on staff at numerous dance events around the country for many years. She is highly regarded for her creative and rich piano accompaniment. She also plays accordion for the renowned Orion Longsword and piano with the bands Foxfire and Woodlark. A professional dog walker, Karen occasionally appears with the comedy improvisation troupe, the Villa Jidiots. She will host the adult gathering in addition to playing for dancing.

Sam Bartlett is an irrepressible mandolin, banjo and guitar player, known to dancers across the country for his fine musicianship and philosophy of Stuntology. His original music has been profiled by NPR's All Things Considered and Sing Out! magazine declared him a member of "the rhythm players hall of fame." The inventor and most distinguished practitioner of stuntology -- Sam will amaze and delight us with his latest discoveries. Sam's community art projects bring the whole camp into the creative process. Personal Webpage

Joel Bluestein is a fiddler and dancer and has been helping to organize the Chesapeake Spring Dance weekend for over 25 years.

David Cantieni has brought new spice to contra dancers for more than 20 years with his prowess and musicality on flute, saxophone and bombarde in bands including Swallowtail and Wild Asparagus. He's been a highlight of Family Week for many years. He'll bring his excitement and insights into dance music to the community band. David will also teach the Advance Dance Styles course for the Advanced Dance and Music Course for Young Adults. Personal Webpage

Jubal Creech, percussionist and storyteller, is a sought-after studio musician and favorite at music camps. Jubal has studied the traditional rhythms, dances and the rich oral traditions of cultures from West Africa to Haiti. In addition to performing and recording, Jubal dedicates time to educational programs in public schools, summer camps and programs for underprivileged and at-risk youth, in both rural and urban settings. Jubal will be our storyteller and will lead percussion workshops for kids and adults.

Bob Dalsemer has called dances across the country and around the world for more than 35 years. He was a cofounder of the Baltimore Folk Music Society, past president of CDSS and is currently Coordinator of Music and Dance Programs at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC, where he has conducted an annual week long callers' course for the past 18 years. Bob will also lead the concurrent American Dance Callers Course Personal Webpage

John Devine is much loved by the Family Week community as the Pied Piper and as a solid mountain of rhythm guitar for all styles of country dancing from English to New England to Southern, with a not-so-secret leaning toward swing songs and joy. He has one of the most beautiful voices you'll ever hear. He brings a gentle power to all that he does, whether playing guitar, singing songs or tending his farm just over the ridge in northeast West Virginia.

Ralph Gordon on cello and bass, has knowledge of and experience with many styles of music. He has worked with many bands over the years and is one of the best all-around bass players in the dance world. With numerous recordings to his credit, Ralph has graced many a concert stage, dance camp and festival here and abroad. He moonlights at camp as an ace Master of Ceremonies during late night parties.

Ethan Hazzard-Watkins began dancing and playing his fiddle for contra and English dances in Amherst, MA at an early age. He studied just about everything other than music in college and graduated with a degree in Political Science. Since then Ethan has traveled extensively, playing music for dancing and listening audiences far and wide and developing an exciting, expressive and versatile approach to traditional music. He currently resides in the musicians' ghetto of Brattleboro, VT, where he enjoys tending a weedy overgrown garden, hiking up and down mountains and playing backgammon. In addition to playing for dances, Ethan will lead the concurrent Advanced Dance and Music Course for Young Adults. Personal Webpage

Steve Hickman is a world class fiddler, a passionate historian, a family homesteader, a master hambonist, organic farmer and a midnight weeder. He has been the backbone of untold numbers of mid-Atlantic dance bands and has taught hambone to several generations of Family Week campers. He has toured internationally with groups including Childsplay. Watch out for his transformational, paradigm shifting English fiddling.

Abby Ladin grew up immersed in the traditional folk music revival of the ‘70s on the east coast. She was clogging by the age of 6, performing with her sister Evie by age 10 and touring nationally at 18 with the renowned dance and music company Rhythm In Shoes. 20 years later she continues to teach the fundamentals and possibilities of clogging to all who crave rhythm in their feet.

Kappy Laning was first struck by the dynamism and fun of rapper in the late '80s. She danced with Frayed Knot in Charlottesville, VA for eight years and has been with Charm City Rapper in Baltimore, MD for the last seven years. She has taught rapper to children and adults at several dance camps in Florida, Kentucky and West Virginia. She enjoys working with all levels of experience and especially making this dynamic dance accessible for children. She has also been CDSS's peerless Camp Director for many years at Buffalo Gap and Timber Ridge camps.

Leslie Jeanne Milbourne our Earth Educator and Nature Goddess, is an environmental educator who relishes exploring, discovering and learning how the earth works, and helping discover the natural beauty around us. She has worked extensively in her field for over 15 years with preschoolers through college students. We are never separate from nature; Leslie helps us to open our senses to the world in which we live. With daughter, Chenaya and husband, John Devine, she lives just down the road where she and John operate their own nature and music camp.

Elvie Miller spent her childhood in New Hampshire surrounded by folk music and dance. With a strong background in classical piano, she began playing for contra dances in her early teens and since then has performed and taught contra dance music across the country. Currently touring with Night Watch and Airdance, she contributes driving and spunky rhythm and energy on both piano and accordion. She recently spent a year as a Watson Fellow tracing the origins of contra dance music across five northern European countries. Elvie is also a professional weaver. Personal Webpage

David Millstone from Lebanon, NH, started contra dancing with Dudley Laufman in the early '70s, and it's been downhill ever since. A caller for some 30 years, he has taught at dance camps and festivals from New Hampshire to New Mexico, Atlanta to Winnipeg. In addition to English country dance, his repertoire includes high energy, recent contra compositions as well as traditional New England dances. One of the founders of the Strafford (VT) Ball, in recent years he has also taught English dance in Prague and Copenhagen. A dance historian and a videographer, he has made documentaries about Bob McQuillen, Dudley Laufman and Ralph Sweet.

Naomi Morse grew up surrounded by music and dance in the folk communities of New England. She is known for her energetic and driving fiddle playing for both contra and English dancing in many bands, including Night Watch, Housetop and the mega-fiddle-band Childsplay. She has toured extensively with the world music ensemble Northern Harmony and currently lives in Brooklyn, NY, where she sings professionally.  Personal Webpage

DeLaura Padovan is a Family Week mainstay and an irrepressibly joyful presence around camp. She is a family dance leader, singer and organic farmer as well as one of the pioneers of living life the best way possible, which includes singing, calling, signing and creating one thing out of another. She will light up the days for the lucky 2-3s in the morning and lead contra dancing for the 8-9 year olds in the afternoon. She'll also host the callers open mic and the all camp evening dance.

Olivia Padovan-Merhar is a veteran of Family Week at Buffalo Gap. She's grown up in the dance community and loves playing with the children. We're so happy to have Olivia taking on the 2-3 year olds.

Anna Patton plays dance tunes on the clarinet with great verve, clarity and harmonic whim. Besides English and contra dance tunes, her repertoire includes Balkan dance tunes, Brazilian choros and early jazz. Based in Brattleboro, VT she has spent much of her young life on tour around the U.S. and abroad, singing and playing for dancers, concert goers and pedestrians. She also enjoys teaching music to kids and adults and writing arrangements. Personal Webpage

Brad Sayler has been leading English and American folk dances around the country for the past 20 years or so. When teaching, he likes to emphasize the elements of good dancing -- phrasing, movement and interaction with other dancers -- always with a generous dose of warmth and humor.

Michal Warshow was introduced to dancing over 20 years ago and was immediately hooked. She spends a lot of time with children, both her own and at the preschool where she teaches. She has helped to organize the Chesapeake Spring Dance Weekend for more than 15 years.

Bill Wellington is a storyteller, fiddler, banjo player, songwriter, and dance caller who has entertained audiences throughout America for over twenty five years. Widely known for his Radio Woof recordings and performances, he is a hit with kids and parents alike. Bill will enchant the 4-5 year olds and join DeLaura to lead dancing for the 8-9 year olds as well as play for other dances. Personal Webpage

Dave Wiesler began his musical journey as the "guy who could figure out the chords" in his high school garage band. At home in a wide range of styles, Dave is in demand for contra, English and Scottish country dancing, swing, waltz and vintage dance, and he has played at festivals and camps across the country as well as in Canada, Scotland, England and France. He is a prolific composer of tunes and songs and is also a capable guitarist and singer. He presently lives in Newark, DE, with his wife, two young children and two beloved cats. Personal Webpage

Elise Witt was born in Switzerland, raised in North Carolina, and since 1977 has made her home in Atlanta. She speaks five languages fluently and sings in at least a dozen. A vocal soloist, composer, arranger and educator, her work ranges from classical to the traditions of many countries. She is a regular at music camps including Elkins and the Swannanoa Gathering. She will lead adults and kids in singing. Personal Webpage

Class Descriptions

(for campers age 13 and up unless otherwise marked)

Early Morning Class (8:15-8:45)

Vocal and Body Warm-Up -- Elise Witt
Combining elements of Qigong, T'ai Chi, and Vocalizing, Elise will help us limber up the body and the voice to embark on a day full of song and dance. These warm ups will help you make it through the week!

Morning classes (9:00-10:00)

Morning children's classes, described below

English Breakfast -- Brad Sayler / Elvie Miller, Karen Axelrod, Anna Patton
After covering the basic movements used in English country dancing, campers will explore the dances that make this such an exciting dance form, from Sharp to Shaw, waltzes to hornpipes and Well Hall to Dublin Bay.

Great American Dances -- David Millstone / Steve Hickman, Dave Wiesler, John Devine
Contemporary fast-moving contras! Stately chestnuts! Rip-snortin' squares! Double quadrilles, triplets and an occasional couple dance! Sounds like fun? You betcha!

2nd Morning classes (11:15 - 12:15)

Experienced English -- David Millstone / Elvie Miller, Dave Wiesler, Naomi Morse
A class for dancers who are very familiar with English country dance. We'll work on fitting our dancing to the music as we explore more complex choreography, from early Playford to contemporary compositions.

Lichfield Morris -- Brad Sayler / Bill Wellington
The city of Lichfield lies between the quiet villages of the Cotswold hills and the industrial cities of Manchester and Lancaster in the northwest. The Lichfield dances draw from the movement, figures and formations of both regions. The dances are quite accessible to those with less experience in morris, while presenting some interesting challenges to those familiar with the Cotswold and Northwest repertoire. Sneakers or running shoes work well for this class.

Early Afternoon Classes (1:45 - 2:45)

Many of these classes offer a chance for families to do something together. Some are for adults only. Most have a minimum age limit and may require parental participation as well.

Napping/Resting (99 and under)
Highly respected!

Songs and Stories in the Dollhouse (8 and up or with parent) -- Jubal Creech
Jubal will host a session of stories, songs, games and whatever's fun with guest appearances from other staff. A great way to ease into the afternoon. Kids under 8 require adult.

Nature Explorations (10 and up or with parent) -- Leslie Jeanne Milbourne
Explore a variety of ecosystems -- from the river to the woods to the fossil pit and down under. A new adventure every day!

Harmony Singing (10 and up or with parent) -- Elise Witt
In music, harmony is the celebration of different sounds that, blended together, are pleasing to the ear and the spirit. However, pleasing to one ear may be strange to another. Harmony is subjective and cultural. In this class, we will explore songs from many different cultures and traditions -- from the familiar triad harmonies of folk, blues, bluegrass, spirituals, country and gospel, to vibration unifying chants from Africa and the Middle East, to the exciting tight harmonies of the Balkans and the Appalachians. Music reading is not a prerequisite. Singers under the age of 10 must be accompanied by a parent.

Bartlett's Art Extravaganza (13 and up, 8-12 with parent) -- Sam Bartlett
We could tell you what Sam is planning to do, but he'll probably change his mind. It could be huge puppets, a cranky show, your life story on a paper bag. We don't really know, but it will be awesome!

Mixed Bag of Dance (13 and up) -- David Millstone / Naomi Morse, Karen Axelrod, Anna Patton
Start with high-energy contras, mix with elegant English country dances, and add squares, triplets and an odd formation for spice, all served up by three musicians and a caller who share a love of country dance in all its varied flavors.

Afternoon classes (3:00 - 4:00)

Afternoon children's classes, described below

American Dance Sampler -- Bob Dalsemer / Ethan Hazzard-Watkins, Sam Bartlett, John Devine, Ralph Gordon
This class will feature a wide variety of contras and squares from New England, the Southeast, the Midwest and the West. The dances will range from old classics to some of today's most creative choreography, from elegant contras and quadrilles to fast moving squares and aerobic contras.

Clogging Basics -- Abby Ladin / Steve Hickman
We'll focus on fundamental steps, string them together with social dance patterns and create a classic routine. Last year was a blast, let's do it again!

Late Afternoon Classes (4:15 - 5:15)

Swimming (all ages)
Children must be accompanied by a parent/guardian.

Handwork at the Pool
Once again we'll devote the shady spot at the end of the pool to those who'd like to gather and chat or sing or listen while they work on knitting, sewing, weaving or any other type of handwork. Sometimes we have a theme for our discussions, sometimes there's music, sometimes we just "jaw."

Dance Band (10 and up or with parent) -- David Cantieni, Ralph Gordon
David and Ralph will lead this band class for musicians who have basic familiarity with their instruments. They'll focus on honing skills for playing in an ensemble, including learning tunes together, listening to and interacting with other musicians and finding your niche in a band. The class will build up to performing together for the community dance in the evening. Note: this is not an instrumental instruction class.

Caller's Open Mic (13 and up) -- DeLaura Padovan / Ethan Hazzard-Watkins, Anna Patton, Dave Wiesler
An opportunity for camper callers of all levels to take the mic and for dancers of all levels to enjoy an eclectic mix of dances. DeLaura will host.

The Afro-Celt Percussion Connection (13 and up) -- Jubal Creech
African percussion is dance music, celebration music and community music…the same reasons we gather to contra-dance! This class will concentrate on basic West-African hand percussion and learn traditional poly-rhythms. These rhythms are carefully chosen to correspond with reel, jig and march rhythms that we are accustomed to on the dance floor. This is an excellent class for beginners or seasoned players looking for inspiration in approaches to contra dance music. Time will also be dedicated to specific approaches in contra dance percussion.

Rapper (13 and up) -- Kappy Lanning / Naomi Morse
Rapper sword is an English tradition dating back to the late 1800s. The dance is done by teams of 5-7 dancers connected to each other by flexible steel swords. The dancers work closely together to create a dynamic performance with intricate patterns and percussive footwork. Newcomers and experienced rapper dancers alike are welcome to join Kappy in this late afternoon class.


Morning Gatherings
In the morning there are two concurrent gatherings. One is for all those who are attending with family members of all generations. The other is oriented to the adults who are at camp without children.

Family Gathering (10:15-11:00) -- Joel Bluestein and Michal Warshow
We come together to sing, laugh, entertain each other and enjoy the amazing community that we are. Watch out for the stunts, hamboning and the unpredictable.

Adult Gathering (10:15-10:45) -- Karen Axelrod
This alternative gathering for adults only, is a daily salon of stories, jokes, improv games and staff and camper presentations. Karen's theatrical and silly sides join to make this a special treat.

Special All-Camp Times

Sing For Your Supper (5:15-5:45)
A community sing in front of the dining hall every night before supper. There will be a different theme (food, shape note, old favorites, etc) and a different staff host every night. Fun, entertaining and beautiful sounds.

Community Dance (7:00-7:35)
A dance for all ages. DeLaura will lead us in easy dances that we can all enjoy. We build community, pass on traditions and have fun. Guest callers and the community band add to the excitement.

All Camp Gathering (7:35-8:15)
This is for the entire community, with mini-concerts, skits and singing together. Jubal will end the gathering with a story and then the Pied Piper will lead the under 10 crowd to their cabins for bed while the rest of camp proceeds to the...

Evening Dance (8:30-11:00)
Different callers and different musical mixes every night. Just get down and dance! We end with a song and then…

After Dance Activities (11:00-???)
Something different every night. The Rec Hall is like an intimate club. Song swap, honky tonk, cabaret, late night dancing. Does the fun never stop?

Children's Class Descriptions

Children attend classes by age group at 9:00am and 3:00pm, while those 13-adult attend the class of their choice. All children are expected to attend their assigned age-group class.

Children's classes by age group -- 9:00 and 3:00

Ages 2 and 3
Music and Movin'! DeLaura Padovan will enchant the little ones with songs, stories and games in the morning. Olivia Padovan-Merhar carries on the tradition in the afternoon.

Ages 4 and 5
In the morning, Bill Wellington will engage this group with a mix of stories, songs, music and games. In the afternoon, Leslie Jeanne Milbourne will focus on nature stories and a related craft activity.

Ages 6 and 7
Leslie Jeanne Milbourne, in the morning, will focus on nature songs, games and a related craft activity. In the afternoon Elise Witt will lead the group in multicultural songs, stories and games.

Ages 8 and 9
In the morning, Abby Ladin and Sam Bartlett will teach patterns, movement, clogging basics and vocalization all with your partner as a mirror. Bring your playful energetic selves and we'll have some fun. These kids are great dancers, but they don't get enough time for social dances, so DeLaura Padovan and Bill Wellington will lead the group in contras as well as songs and games in the afternoon.

Ages 10 to 12
In the morning -- Jammin' with Jubal Creech -- using approachable rhythm techniques, call and response and silly games we will tip-tap into confidence, shake up our team building skills and let our creativity go BOOM! Come prepared for a fun challenge… and a BIG BIG sound! In the afternoon, Brad Sayler will explore the world of border morris, with a concentration on the dances from villages near the Welsh border, and the dance and musical connections to traditional English country dances. Morris dancing with an attitude!

Children can also attend classes at 1:45pm and 4:15pm. These classes often have a minimum age and may require parental participation as well.