2016 Recipient of the Judson/Foster Fund Award
Louise Siddons is an associate professor of art history at Oklahoma State University, and has been a teacher and organizer of historic social dance since 2008. A longtime dancer, she started calling English country dance in workshops run by Ray Bantle, of Ann Arbor, and shortly thereafter was encouraged to try calling contra dances by Ed Vincent, also in Michigan. When she moved to Oklahoma in 2009, she received additional mentoring, as an emerging caller of both ECD and contra, from Carol Barry and John Rapp, along with the many other callers associated with the Scissortail Traditional Dance Society. Louise has also participated in calling workshops with Nils Fredland, Seth Tepfer, Steve Zakon-Anderson, and others.
In 2011, Louise became a faculty co-advisor for a new university student group that runs monthly contra dances in Stillwater, Oklahoma. In 2012, she joined the Scissortail board, and in addition to acting as webmaster and social media coordinator has been part of the organization's transition to statewide operation. Louise continues to call contra and English in Oklahoma and throughout the country, as well as teaching workshops on couples' dances from waltz to swing. She has also collaborated with CDSS to hold organizing workshops in the midwest, and to create and distribute of a national contra caller survey. Louise considers herself lucky to have found herself among people who encouraged her development as a dancer, caller, and organizer, and she loves nothing more than seeing joy on dancers’ faces and knowing that she had a part in creating it.
Fund subsidizes Louise’s leadership at English Week 2016
The 2016 Judson/Foster Award covered Louise’s expenses to travel to CDSS English Week at Pinewoods and lead ECD:TNG, a workshop for emerging leaders in the English dance community. Louise writes: "Our goals were manifold and ambitious: to create a sense of cohort among emerging ECD leaders, to foster new talent in the community, and to launch a meaningful dialogue about the future of English dancing in the United States.
"As workshop leader, I had some of my own goals for the workshop: to connect our daily practice to broader values, to introduce the potential value of CDSS, as a member-driven organization, for anyone interested in the future of ECD, and to give participants a sense of ownership over that future. I brought my diverse experiences and my skill as a teacher to the group in order to choreograph an experience that I hoped would be truly collaborative, and I was rewarded by learning as much from them as Ibelieve they all learned from each other. Without the funding provided by the Judson/Foster award, my participation in English Week would have been financially challenging; but perhaps more importantly, the Fund sends a clear signal to all our future leaders that their presence and participation are of profound value to the community as a whole."