Category Archives: Grants & Scholarships

Kicking Off Plans for SW Conference

by Linda Henry, CDSS Outreach Manager

Plans are afoot for creating a leadership conference for the Southwest United States! An email recently went out to all CDSS group affiliates in the SW and others we know are interested. The message invited 80 people to participate in a phone meeting about preliminary plans. If you didn’t receive this initial email and would like to be included, please read on.

The call will happen on 1/19/13 (see below for call-in information). We’ll focus on…

  • describing the exciting potential for this event — building connections and bringing resources to dance groups throughout the Southwest (including contra, square and English country dance);
  • explaining how the planning process will work — a collaborative effort involving a core group of organizers from the SW with ongoing support from CDSS;
  • making connections and gathering input to help the conference happen (event date and location TBD).

As CDSS Outreach Manager, I’ll have the very fulfilling role of supporting the SW planning team to create the conference. Possible supports include grant funding, publicity and logistics — sharing materials generated by organizers of previous conferences. (See Puttin’ On the Dance as one example.)

For starters, I’ll send the planners a template survey along with contact information for SW groups currently in the CDSS database.This poll will make it possible to assess which resources are needed throughout the region in order to help dance communities grow and thrive. Based on these needs, the planners will design the content of the conference. This can include workshops and other resources for callers, musicians, dance organizers, sound engineers and more… plus there will be time for dancing, networking and having fun together!

This first phone meeting will be facilitated by Cora McCold of Durango, CO. With assistance from CDSS and several dance groups in her area, Cora attended the Midwest Leadership Conference in Cincinnati, OH last August. She returned home with enthusiasm for launching plans for an event in the SW.

If you’d like to join this call — or know anyone who else who might — here’s how to participate: On JANUARY 19, 2013, at 2 p.m. Pacific, 3 p.m. Mountain, 4 p.m. Central, and 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, CALL 605-475-4000. You’ll be prompted to enter your participant access code: 204920#.

If you’re interested but can’t join us on 1/19, it’s not too late to be part of this effort. We’d love to hear from you, so please send a message to Feel free to let us know your thoughts and interests, and we’ll share them with the planning group. Also we’ll be arranging follow-up calls and would be happy to include you.

Many thanks!

Linda (and Cora)

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 »

Puttin’ on the Dance conference a huge success

puttin' on the danceSeveral staff members have just returned from an AMAAZZZING weekend at Puttin’ on the Dance — A Conference for Northeast Dance Organizers! (See also Max’s field report about his experiences there.) The historic Hotel Coolidge in White River Junction, VT was full to the brim with nearly 80 dance organizers from New England, Ontario and beyond — NY, PA, MD, TN, MI and TX. The three-story building was abuzz with informative sessions, lively conversations and energizing activities throughout the weekend. This event, cosponsored by CDSS, DEFFA (DownEast Friends of the Folk Arts), NEFFA (New England Folk Festival Association, and Monadnock Folklore Society, was designed to bring much-needed resources and connections to these folks who work so hard to keep their dance communities alive and well. (Genres included contras, English country, squares, gender-role free and family/community dances.)

Another key element was rejuvenation! The whole crowd had great fun dancing together both evenings — at an all-conference dance Friday night (with multi-talented participants providing the calling and music) and at the 2nd Saturday contra dance in Norwich, VT.

Now picture this… All attendees bringing all these ideas back to their home communities throughout the continent and pouring this fresh energy into helping their dances thrive! Also many resources generated from the weekend will be posted on the Puttin’ on the Dance and CDSS websites.

The effects of a conference like this are far-reaching and long-lasting! CDSS will be actively supporting future regional conferences that will be happening throughout the continent. Next up is a Midwest conference for organizers and callers in Cincinnati, OH on Aug 10-12, 2012. For more info, contact Ryan Smith.

CDSS outreach work includes awarding grants to support events and projects that spread traditional music and dance. The next deadline is January 1, 2012. A grant application is online or contact Linda Henry, 413-203-5467 x 105 to share YOUR ideas for spreading music and dance in your area!

New Year’s Deadlines: Grants and Gift Memberships

“Happy Almost 2011” from the CDSS office! A few timely notes….


Just a quick reminder that the next CDSS grant deadline is January 1st, so finish up those applications and get them in.

If you are interested in applying for a grant in the future, here’s what you need to know:

  • Deadlines are quarterly, so the next deadline is coming up April 1st. (All the dates: January 1st, April 1st, July 1st and October 1st.)
  • CDSS provides grants, loans, and financial backing.
  • Kinds of projects we have assisted: dance weekends, mentorships and training, conferences, and more.
  • Our goal is to assist projects that will benefit the dance and song community. If you are in doubt about whether you qualify for CDSS assistance, please just get in touch.

If you’d like to find more, read the full guidelines, see a selection of projects we’ve assisted, or download the application (pdf).

Gift Memberships

Just a reminder that New Year’s eve is the last day our gift memberships are available with our holiday discount. A great gift for students, young families, new dancers, the musicians or organizers in your community — the possibilities are endless! Support CDSS and the work we do.