Contra Dance – Feb. 7, 2020 – River Ridge String Band, Caller Jim Thaxter

Contra Dance – Friday, Feb. 7th.  Our lively music will be provided by River Ridge String Band.  The band has been playing together for many years.  While they play a variety of folk music, their sound is anchored in traditional dance tunes, with hammered dulcimer serving as the lead instrument. The band has a large repertoire of dance tunes from traditional standbys as well as a good assortment of modern tunes that create a great dance groove.  In all of their music, River Ridge tries to lay down a driving rhythm, with an eclectic sound, that makes for great fun for dancers and musicians alike.  River Ridge features Cliff White on hammered dulcimer, Molly White on mandolin and banjo, Ted Koenig on guitar and John Cunning on folk percussion.

Our caller, Jim Thaxter, developed an interest in traditional dancing about the same time he was discovering the banjo. One thing led to another and he was a regular on the dance floor at the old-time contra dances about 40 years ago. Calling started about 10 years later. Numerous calling workshops at dance camps and dance weekends helped hone his skills. Calling for beginners groups made him more aware of the needs of the dancers for clear instruction. Calling is a great way to bridge the gap between listeners’ tapping toes and the lively rhythms from live musicians.

Beginners are encouraged to come to an introductory lesson at 7:00 p.m.  Everything is explained.  You do NOT need to know how to dance before you come.  You also do NOT have to bring a partner.

Dancing starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Ballroom Academy of Columbia, 3906 Peachtree Drive.  Admission is $8 for the public, $5 for students and ages 16-25, with free admittance for children 15 and under.

No dance experience is needed and folks of all ages are welcome! No partner is necessary, as dancers switch partners for most dances. Every dance is taught and called throughout the evening to live music. Dancers should wear lightweight, comfortable clothing and soft-soled or leather-soled shoes to preserve the floor—no spike heels or cowboy boots. (Please carry-in appropriate dance shoes as needed.)

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