Monthly Archives: March 2012

Folk music in the news

Yesterday brought a veritable flurry of exciting new developments in the world of folk song and music:

Alan Lomax (right) with musician Ward Wade (photo Shirley Collins / Alan Lomax Archive)

Alan Lomax (right) with musician Ward Wade (photo Shirley Collins / Alan Lomax Archive)

contra dance calendar, March page

contra dance calendar, March page

Also, for those of you who have been enjoying Doug Plummer‘s gorgeously photographed 2012 contra dance calendar (still available in our Store!):

The story of the March calendar page
Doug has posted this blog article about the March page of his contra dance calendar, which features the historic dance in Nelson NH.

Greetings from Rima

Hello CDSS Friends and Members,

This is my first week at the helm of CDSS and I wanted very much to reach out to say “Hello!,” and it’s wonderful to meet all of you through cyberspace. We at the office are busy with preparing for our annual Board meeting, tying up loose ends from the Putting On The Dance conference (that Linda did) and the Keith Blackmon Memorial Weekend (that Pat and Nils did). Of course, we’re busy, busy, busy with summer camp preparations too. Check out this link to  see what weeks  have space right now:

Now, aside from figuring out what shoes to invest in for dancing at camp and the many local dances, I’ve been busy working with our in-coming Board President, David Millstone, on goals for the next six months and moving forward with our Centennial planning. (I won’t bore you with the mundane details of our getting a new database!)

I will be out and about during the month of July getting to each of the camps, and am planning on traveling to different parts of North America to meet CDSS members, donors and board in their backyards too. I very much look forward to experiencing the regional differences of the dances, music and songs.

I thank you for your membership and support — YOU connect us with so many people and communities. YOU help us continue our traditions. YOU celebrate the joy of dance, song and music! Thank you for being YOU and for being a part of the CDSS community!


Rima Dael, Executive Director, Country Dance and Song Society

P.S. Please feel free to send me an email, call or drop by for a visit!


Our latest grant recipients

Congratulations to our most recent rounds of successful grant applicants!

We funded the following projects in October 2011 & January 2012:

Locations of our 11/2011 & 1/2012 grant recipients

Locations of our 11/2011 & 1/2012 grant recipients

October 2011

  • 15th annual Pourparler — gathering for teachers of traditional dance in schools and/or communities, TX
  • Contra Affair — new contra dance series for college students and local community, OK
  • Cracking Chestnuts — historic presentation and evening of dance chestnuts in conjunction with monthly gender-free dance series, San Francisco Bay Queer Contra Dance, CA
  • Catapult! The National Contra Showcase — festival to showcase callers and bands, GA

January 2012

  • Spring Dance Weekend — English country and contra dance weekend with new aspect of including workshops for callers of both genres — Sun Assembly Country Dance, NC
  • Swan’s Island Community Dance — new contra dance to revive dancing on remote island, ME
  • Contra Callers’ Workshops — series of mentorship workshops for new callers with opportunities to call at local dances, NM
  • Mountain Dance Trail — revitalizing dances in ten communities, Heritage Arts Program, WV
  • Impropriety Weekend — English country dance and music workshops in three cities in the Bay Area, CA
  • Contra Culture — contra dancing included in weekend Ecovillage event, Dance Rabbit Dance, MO
  • 2nd annual Dare to Be Square — weekend of square dancing and calling workshops, VA
  • Northampton Family Dance — supporting a monthly family dance series during change of venue, MA
  • Contra Dance Music and Calling Workshops — pre-dance workshops led by caller and musician, NH
  • Wallowa Fiddle Tunes Camp — adding contra dance to existing week-long music camp for families, Northeast Oregon Folklore Society, OR
  • Open Contra Dance Band Practice/Workshops — several workshops for musicians leading up to playing for final dance, RI
  • Bicentennial Concert and Barn Dance — dance and concert in honor of Red Hook, NY bicentennial, NY

Who will be next?

Upcoming funding deadlines are April 1, July 1, and October 1.

Read more about our grants »
Download a grant application »
Donate to support our next grantees »

Member spotlight: violin maker

Ever wonder what your friends from CDSS camps do in their regular lives? CDSS member Sam Zygmuntowicz, a regular attendee of our Campers’ Week program and member of contradance band Grand Picnic, was recently featured in this interesting video, as posted on Gizmodo: You’ll Wish You Were a Violin Maker By the Time This Video’s Done.

Filmmaker Dustin Cohen is creating a series of short films entitled Made in Brooklyn featuring talented artists and craftsmen living and working in New York. Episode one profiles Samuel Zygmuntowicz, a violin maker, and by the end of the video you might be tempted to swap your keyboard, hammer, or whatever tools you use to make a living for a set of carving instruments and a small workshop.

The Violin Maker from Dustin Cohen on Vimeo.

Do you have a video to share about your activities beyond CDSS? Let us know!

Executive Director Named

An exciting announcement from CDSS Board President Bruce Hamilton.

Rima Dael, CDSS's new Executive Director

Rima Dael, CDSS's new Executive Director

The CDSS Governing Board is pleased to announce the appointment of Rima Dael as Executive Director of the Country Dance and Song Society. She will begin working with the staff and Interim Director Marie Dalton-Meyer on March 5, becoming full-time on March 26.

Rima brings a strong arts background and more than 18 years of nonprofit professional and voluntary experience. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College (B.A., Theatre Arts and Anthropology) and the New School (M.S., Nonprofit Management), she currently teaches at Bay Path College in Longmeadow, MA, and is a founding faculty member of the Nonprofit Management and Philanthropy program at the school. She has worked as a consultant to organizations as diverse as the Shelter for the Homeless in Stamford, CT; Figure Skating in Harlem in NYC; Library for American Landscape History; MotherWoman; and the Springfield (MA) Symphony Orchestra. She has led workshops on fundraising, volunteerism, nonprofit governance and online teaching. Rima is passionate about the arts and arts-in-education and their power to inspire, connect and include people.

Originally from the Philippines, Rima spent her childhood in several Southeast Asian countries (she learned English country dancing in Hong Kong), and now lives in Amherst, MA, with her husband, Brandon, and daughter, Karana.

“I am thrilled to join the staff of the Country Dance and Song Society, and eager to connect with our members across North America and beyond, continue the legacy of CDSS, and celebrate our upcoming centennial. I brought my six-year old daughter to her first contra dance this past Saturday and when asked what her favorite dances were, she replied most enthusiastically, “All of them!” I echo her joy and enthusiasm! I look forward to getting started and the work ahead….and of course, the dancing and singing.”

The Board and staff are delighted to have Rima join us and we look forward to a long and invigorating association with her.

–Bruce Hamilton, CDSS President