We hope you're enjoying the summer (or winter, depending on where you live). Here is our newsblast, a quarterly update of announcements, deadlines and late-breaking news. Happy reading!


Come to Camp -- Space Still Available!

by Steve Howe, Assistant Director of Programs

There are still spaces at some of our camp programs this summer. We'd love to have you join us!

Early Music Week at Pinewoods offers musical challenges and opportunities to players and singers at every level, from highly experienced to those who are just beginning. From morning technique and consort classes to afternoon special topic ensembles, we will play and sing music from the vibrant Middle Ages to the virtuosic Baroque. Each day also includes a period with English country dance classes and there is a dance each evening. The English Dance Musicians Course, lead by Jacqueline Schwab, and Viol Intensive, led by Mary Springfels, also are held during this week.

Folk Music Week at Pinewoods is always a very special experience in a very special place. To sit amid the tall pines and gaze out over Long Pond as a traditional ballad or fiddle tune drifts on the evening air is surely magical. And that is just the beginning… For a whole week we aim to bring together the very best of the best of traditional singers, musicians and dancers to teach, perform and lead daily workshops and master classes on Singing, Music and Dance traditions from both sides of the Atlantic and beyond. There is also a special Morris Intensive being held at this week.

American Dance & Music Week at Pinewoods is a great way to have fun with old and new friends in one of the most beautiful of camp settings. The week is geared towards dancers and players alike, with an accomplished and engaging staff leading the way. Our featured dance classes range from contras and squares to waltzing and clogging, set to the music of fabulous northern and old time bands. Musicians can hone their craft with skillful teachers while enjoying various opportunities to learn new repertoire, or they can enjoy playing informally in various jam sessions. Top this off with singing, laughing and socializing, and you have yourself a satisfying camp experience.

The CDSS Week at Timber Ridge, located in West Virginia, but only 90 minutes from the Washington, DC area, is a vibrant community celebrating dance, music, singing, stories and art for adults, kids, families and young adults. This year we have a full program of adult dancing and a full family program. The adult program includes a mix of English country and American dancing, body rhythm, morris dancing and couple dancing. Kids have two scheduled classes per day and many other options at other times.

New Publication -- On the Beat with Ralph Sweet

by Nils Fredland, Publication Coordinator for American Dance

We here at CDSS are thrilled to let you know that On the Beat with Ralph Sweet: Singing Squares and Patter Calls from the Collection of an American Master is now available for purchase from the CDSS Store. To celebrate the release of this exciting new traditional square dance resource, CDSS is sponsoring two New England-based events at the end of June.

The Book

Over two hundred pages of Ralph Sweet's favorite squares from his collection acquired over the course of a sixty-year calling career!The book includes instructional essays on how to call patter and singing squares; each of the ninety squares in the book includes instructions for the figure, teaching tips, sequences, and notes that add Ralph's unique historical (and occasionally hysterical!) perspective; all thirty-four singing squares include music for the accompanying tune; there is a nineteen page section called "Intros, Breaks, and Endings," that takes the mystery out of this important part of square dance calling; there is a special "Hoedowns" section, with music for suggested tunes to back up a patter-style square dance caller; and there is a section called "Sources" that gives some information on the origin of each of the squares in the book. All that, and photos too! Purchase "On the Beat," and get to know Ralph Sweet through the medium he's most passionate about: SQUARE DANCING!

The Book Release Party

On Sunday June 27th, we will celebrate the official release of On the Beat with Ralph Sweet, with an afternoon of traditional squares at the Guiding Star Grange, 401 Chapman Street, Greenfield, MA, called by three generations of singing square dance callers: Ralph Sweet, Tony Parkes, and Nils Fredland! Music provided by Elixir (Ethan and Jesse Hazzard-Watkins, Anna Patton, Owen Morrison, and Nils Fredland), with special guests Corey DiMario, Lee Blackwell, and Ann Percival. The dancing will happen from 2-5:30 PM. The program will include a mix of New England, Southern, Western and singing squares, with a strong representation of material from the book. Come join the party, celebrate the release of the book, and honor the remarkable man that made it possible.

The Square Ball

On Saturday, June 26th, come to the Square Ball at the Capitol City Grange in Montpelier, VT. This is an all day festival of traditional square dance, called by Will Mentor and Nils Fredland, with music by Pete Sutherland, Jim Burns, Ethan Hazzard-Watkins, Owen Morrison, Corey DiMario, and Lee Blackwell. Organizer Will Mentor says of the event:

"Nils Fredland and I are passionate about all kinds of squares. To me, the Square Ball is like a one-day dance camp in which we seek to create a space for the sometimes raucous, always beautiful fun that can happen when eight people collaborate and dance as a group for a few minutes! I am thrilled to have top-notch instrumentalists joining us for the Square Ball.They're all skilled dance musicians that love playing for squares.We will have coffee, tea and water available. Although we will not be serving food, the hall is close to the restaurants in downtown Montpelier.You are also welcome to bring your own food and drink. We have made every effort to keep the price affordable: $22.00 for the full event, $15.00 for the daytime sessions only, and $8.00 for the evening only."

Questions? Please contact Will Mentor at willmentor@earthlink.net

The Square Ball Schedule

  • Square Dance Figures and Transitions (9:30-10:30 AM) -- This will be the only session without live music.  We'll walk through figures as we discuss spatial awareness, and how to make smooth transitions.  Dancers will be encouraged to ask questions, give feedback, and help with instruction.
  • Square Roots: Southern, Western & New England Squares (10:30 AM-12 PM) -- Pete Sutherland and Jim Burns, Will Mentor -- We start out with three squares from these traditions respectively, and finish with contemporary squares that combine figures from these traditions.
  • Singing Squares(12-1:30 PM) -- Pete Sutherland and Jim Burns, Nils Fredland -- Some of Nils's favorite singing squares. Promenade and sing!
  • Squares from Various Callers (3-6 PM) -- Pete Sutherland and Jim Burns, invited guest callers -- This will be a session called by special guest callers, to add variety to the event.
  • Square Dance Party (8-11 PM) -- Ethan Hazzard-Watkins, Owen Morrison, Corey DiMario, and Lee Blackwell, Will Mentor, Nils Fredland, and others -- We'll close the day with a three-hour, no-holds-barred, all square dance party!

Sustain the Momentum

by Robin Hayden, Associate Director of Development

We recently sent our first e-appeal, encouraging your support for all we do and inviting your comments about what is most important to you. Your support is crucial to the growth and success of our new and ongoing initiatives. Make a tax deductible gift today and tell us what is important to you! Thanks, all! Sustain the Momentum!


by Linda Henry, Outreach Manager

We're actively seeking people to run regional leadership conferences throughout North America. These exciting events strengthen networks between music and dance communities and help them thrive! We offer a variety of support for designing and running events -- if you'd like to create a conference for your area or know others who might be interested, we'd love to hear from you! Please contact Linda Henry at linda@outreach.org or 413-268-7426 x 105.

If you're planning a dance or music-related event or project and need financial support, we encourage you to apply for CDSS outreach funding. We're especially eager to support projects and events beyond the northeastern U.S. For those who'd like to offer training for English country dance musicians, grants are available from the Chuck Ward Fund.

Our next grant deadline is July 1; the one after that is October 1. To apply, see Outreach Guidelines. Questions? Contact Linda (see above).

More Announcements

by Caroline Batson, Newsletter Editor


The CDSS Governing Board is pleased to announce that this year's Lifetime Contribution Award will be given to John Ramsay of St. Louis, MO, and to Tom Kruskal of Sudbury, MA, each for their longtime involvement with dance and music and especially their work with younger dancers and musicians. The presentation for John will be in St. Louis on October 16; the date for Tom probably will be next spring; details will be on our website as soon as they're firmed up. Congratulations, John and Tom!


The next issue of the paper newsletter will be snailmailed to CDSS members by July 1. You'll see articles and reports about "The Syracuse Contra Prom," by Sarah VanNorstrand; "Embracing Diversity," an essay by Mari Cannon; Two Stories -- "Dancing at The Porch," by Mark Judelson, and "An American in London," by Brad Hopkins; "Teaching Rights and Lefts," by Carl Dreher, about introducing beginning English country dancers to that befuddling figure; "Cheers for the Canoneers!," by Judy Chaves, about older dancers taking on the challenge of learning the dance John Tallis' Canon and its tricky canon figure; "Stew Shacklette and the Folk Dancer Record Center," an interview by Don and Sylvia Coffey about the career of this longtime caller and his vast record collection; "Timeless Dressing," by Rowena Roodman, about a special dress at one of our Family Weeks; "Yoga for Dancers," Anna Rain's column, this time focusing on strengthening your triceps to help you make beautiful turns and exhilerating swings; "My Olympic Escape," by Jane Srivastava, about her extended trip to Colorado in February for business and pleasure; and a "Thank You!" to our donors in 2009. Plus there are a couple of contra dances -- "Thanks to the Don," by Ed Vincent, and "Hoosier Girl" by Ken Gall, as well as "Notes from the Office" (by Jeff, Max and Linda), reports on the recent 2009 Lifetime Contribution Award celebrations for Chuck Ward and Bob McQuillen, and an update on three "Honorary Lifetime Members," an honorary category that became the LC Award.