Beverly Francis (Metuchen, NJ) started dancing in Philadelphia in 1974 while on a brief stint studying at Philadelphia College of Textiles. She soon was back home in the NY/NJ area dancing up a storm. English country, contras, morris (Ring o’ Bells) and longsword (New World Sword) were all on the menu. She started calling both contras and English in the late 70’s and these days has settled in as a caller of English country dance in New York where she has emceed many Country Dance New York Playford Balls and mentors apprentice callers. Her forays out into the world beyond metropolitan New York have included staff positions at Pinewoods (Campers’ Week, Early Music Week, and English Dance Week) as well as weekend workshops on the East Coast and beyond.
Beverly worked at the CDSS office when it was in NYC and served a term of the Executive Committee in the early 80’s. She met her husband, David Chandler, dancing in New York City. They have been dance partners for more than 40 years and attended many CDSS family programs with their son. She is retired from a career in public and school libraries, where she taught colonial era dance to fourth graders, even getting them to take hands sometimes. She now puts her read-aloud skills to use with her grandsons.
Peter Baker (Ann Arbor, MI) began square dancing in 7th grade in Bay County, MI. He was introduced to contra and ECD in the early 1980’s, and within six weeks was attending Kentucky Summer Dance School and Berea Christmas Country Dance School. He began leading dances because there was no dancing within 100 miles of where he lived. He later became staff for Kentucky Heritage Institute dance camps. Peter leads contra and community dancing. He believes dancing is for everyone and has lead numerous events for “non dancers”, including organizing the 1998 Guinness Book of World Records “Longest Contra Line” in Ann Arbor. He leads dances in schools, churches, street festivals, and wherever he is invited to share this passion. He has been an active organizer and leader in the Ann Arbor Community for Traditional Music and Dance.
Peter has also been organizing folk events since the mid-1980’s, starting with the Dow Gardens Folk Festival in Midland, and has been a co-founder of several organizations and events including the Midland Country Dance Society (1984), the Michigan Dance Heritage organization (1987), Dancing in the Streets in Ann Arbor (1998), and most recently, the new CDSS Dance, Music and Spice Camp at Camp Cavell (2016) in Michigan.
Susie Lorand (Ann Arbor, MI) has been a CDSS member for most of her adult life. She had few opportunities for dancing before college, but pursued classical violin training in central Michigan and at Interlochen Arts Academy. Then the student folk musicians at Earlham College decided to “corrupt” her into a fiddler.
Later she spent many years in the central New Jersey and Philadelphia dance communities, playing for English, contra, colonial, morris, and sword dancing (when not dancing herself). Leadership roles there included coordinating the Princeton Country Dancers pick-up band, co-directing Rum & Onions, serving on the PCD executive committee and the Lambertville Country Dancers board, and writing the PCD Newsletter.
Susie has appeared on the music staff of dance weeks at Pinewoods, Buffalo Gap, and Berea, and numerous weekends and festivals. Now in Ann Arbor, she performs with the “Celtic roots” band Nutshell, directs music for Scottish dancing, plays for English, contra, and morris, co-directs the local Threshold Choir, serves on the AACTMAD board, and dreams of getting back into Renaissance music for voices and recorders. She enjoys welcoming and helping new dancers of all ages as well as mentoring musicians. In her spare time she works as an editor and librarian.
Natty is now pursuing a career in education in the Boston area. The current Squire of the Pinewoods Morris Men, he also fiddles for and facilitates the teenage team Great Meadows Morris and Sword. Dancing and fiddling for the youth Morris conglomerate Maple Morris, he travelled with them to London, England and the Sidmouth Folk Festival in 2011 as part of a collaboration with the English Morris troupe Morris Offspring. He is on the planning committee for the second half of this collaboration between Maple and Offspring, here in North America in the summer of 2013. Natty is part of the founding committee for the new Youth Traditional Song Weekend event, and is beginning his first term on the Pinewoods Camp, Inc. Board of Directors.
David Shewmaker (Washington, DC) grew up dancing in St. Louis and various festivals with his family. He started Contra dancing as a child, first at the Foxhollow Festival, then with the Childgrove Country Dancers in St. Louis, where he learned to flat foot to the Old Time music that was prevalent at the local dances. He is a founding member of Capering Roisters Morris in St. Louis, a former member of the Marlboro Morris Men in Massachusetts, the founder of Cutting Edge Sword in Washington, DC, served on the Board of Directors of the Folklore Society of Greater Washington as both Dance Chair and Vice-President, and was a sound tech for the St. Louis and DC dances.
Over the last 40 + years, he has volunteered for numerous festivals, ales, community radio and countless events. He first attended Family Week at Pinewoods as a child, returned as a teenager to volunteer, and spent many summers cooking and dancing at Pinewoods, with stints in the 80’s, 90’s and 00’s. He is a fierce advocate for traditional dance and music: Contra and Square dancing is home base, English is his favorite, Balkan is mesmerizing, Irish Sets, Scottish, Scandinavian, Swing, Cajun, Zydeco, Slow Blues, Latin have all had a place in his life. He is a drummer, and enjoys singing and playing English Concertina. He has enormous gratitude for the extended dance and music community that sustains his life. He is a professional chef, and brings the same sense of community and interconnection to his work life that he finds in his dance life.
Doug Plummer (Seattle, WA) was born in Chambersburg, PA in 1955, attended Antioch College in Ohio, and graduated from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA in 1980. He started taking photos and making prints in the darkroom at 6, learning the craft from his father. After college, and after a detour as a bird research field grunt, he turned to making a living with his cameras. He is now an established commercial photographer and filmmaker in Seattle.
He started contra dancing in Seattle in the mid 1980s, and he started photographing the dances then too. His photography assignments take him frequently to the East Coast, where he always finds a dance to attend and photograph. Since 2012 he has self-published the Contradance Calendar, a photo showcase exhibiting the vibrant life of the tradition. He made a series of short films for Northwest Folklife, and he is beginning work on a documentary film project on one of the CDSS tour communities, Coos Bay, OR. He is also a new piano player and is already in a contra dance band. He lives in Seattle with his wife, Robin Shapiro, and their cat, Shadow.
Pam Paulson (Waukeasha, WI) has lived in WI all of her life and started contra dancing in Kansas City, KS. It’s quite fitting that she started contra dancing as a dance gypsy. After that start in Kansas City she found the local communities in Delafield and Madison. After dancing locally for 2 years she started going to dance weekends, Squirrel Moon, Breaking Up Thanksgiving, and then Pigtown! She was hooked on gypsying and for the next several years she was able to go to around 25 weekends a year! Things have slowed down a bit as far as weekends go, only 12-15 a year now. Pam has danced in 25 states with the goal of dancing in all 50! This year was the first time she was able to go to Pinewoods and it was amazing! She’s fortunate to be able to help with Squirrel Moon held at Folk Lore Village near Madison, WI in September. She makes sure everyone is fed all weekend. In 2008 Pam was the driving force behind starting IndepenDance held in July in Delafield, WI.
Because of her experience gypsying Pam was able to incorporate many of the best ideas and the weekend was a success from the first year! Pam is passionate about contra dancing and loves waltzing. No matter where she is, local dance or weekend, the contra dance feels like home. She’s looking forward to serving on the board to help continue the traditions and link those who love them. To support her dance habit Pam is the Business Manager for a Waukesha Funeral Home.
Sharon McKinley (Columbia, MD), Certified klutz at 21, folk dance addict at 22, Sharon has had a 40-year love affair with folk music and dance. Sharon has enthusiastically embraced English country dance, morris, contra dance, and rapper. A chance encounter with Sacred Harp on the radio led to many years of singing with a local group. A member of the Baltimore Folk Music Society since 1987, Sharon has served as its English Dance Chair, and has co-chaired the BFMS English ball more times than she can count. She likes to give back to her local organizations, and is involved in three different communities. Sharon also calls ECD. It is so rewarding to help motivate an entire roomful of people to have fun! Sharon loves watching beginners enjoy their first dance, grooving to wonderful live music, singing with friends, the feeling of family in her local community and across the country, and especially the infectious joy of sharing music and dance with others. Serving CDSS seems like the logical next step in the love affair.
Sharon recently retired after 32 years as a librarian, the last 24 of them as a music cataloger, playing with the fabulous collections at the Library of Congress. In theory, this gives her more time to devote to her dance and music passions.
John Mayberry (Toronto, ON) grew up in a family full of music and dance. The story is that he was first taken to a dance in a basket at two weeks old, and early home movies show him at 6 in full Swedish costume at a Swedish dance festival in Tokyo. Early exposure to the Weavers, etc. led to a life-long love of traditional song, which combined with a teen-aged infatuation with mime and juggling resulting in several years working with the Poculi Ludique Societas, a scholarly medieval theatre group. This experience also developed three other life-long vocations: carpentry, leading to building scenery and props for theatres and then to teaching undergraduates in university theatre programs; Morris dancing, leading to his dancing with The Toronto Morris Men as the Fool, and mummers’ plays, leading to writing, performing and studying them.
He is now an Associate Professor in the Department of Theatre and also Academic Advisor of Winters College, at York University in Toronto. He and his wife Laurie Cumming have been on staff at CDSS Family Week, Campers’ Week, English Week, and Ogontz Family Week where they have also been Program Directors. They have been on staff at Boston Centre July Fourth Weekend and English and Scottish Session at Pinewoods, as well as Berea Christmas Dance School and Algoma Traditional Music and Dance Family Camp. John has served on the Board of Directors of The Canadian Institute for Theatre Technology and also that of Theatre Ontario, a not-for-profit association supporting all aspects of theatrical activity in the province. He is Vice-Chair (and former Chair) of the Technology Commission of OISTAT (Organisation Internationale des Scénographes, Techniciens et Architectes de Théâtre). He currently dances Irish sets, contra and English as often as possible. A 2005 trip with the Toronto Morris Men, invited to dance in the carnival parade in Santiago de Cuba, sparked his current passion, Afro-Cuban dance, especially the dances of Ellegua the trickster.
Donald Hughes (Rougemont, NC) (2-year, completing a 3-year term) a long term resident of the Triangle Region of North Carolina, started contra dancing in the mid 80’s. He was introduced to CDSS through English and American Week at Buffalo Gap. Going to camp was a delightful and new experience. Soon he wanted to help out. Being a builder and carpenter, he could make a direct contribution to the camp with construction work. At that point Donald was beginning to realize the power of the work CDSS was doing, bringing people into the fold over the course of their lifetimes, providing a continuity and growth and learning. This was especially notable with the young, seeing children grow up, form attachments, acquire consciousness and grace. Donald has been highly involved in his local contra and English dance organizations, serving in many capacities and on the boards. His work has included being treasurer, facilities management and development, web design, financial systems planning, reworking of articles of incorporation and bylaws, event planning and implementation, nominations, and being a local CDSS scholarship liaison. Teaming with his wife Gail, he developed and put together the Southeast Dance Leadership Conference in 2010, co-sponsored by CDSS and the local groups. Donald’s professional career has included construction, design, teaching, community organizing, non-profit development, photography, and film production. Donald and Gail live in an energy-efficient house he built, designed for dancing at home.