Spring Breakdown Contra Dance Weekend,
March 16–18, 2018
Calling by Beth Molaro
Traditional American Dancers across the U.S., Denmark, and Canada say that Beth Molaro makes any dance more energetic and exciting through her contagious enthusiasm. She lives in Asheville, North Carolina, where she is an active part of the thriving dance community. Her clear calling and skilled dance selection have made her one of the country’s most popular and widely traveled callers.
Beth calls high-energy, turbocharged squares and smooth flowing contras. Her no-nonsense walk throughs and effective teaching for both the newest dancers and the most seasoned.
Beth’s vocal style is unique, with her ability to sing the calls making for an exciting blending of music with elements of the blues and jazz.
In addition to calling, Beth is a skilled foot percussonist in the Appalachian flat-foot style. Beth’s dances are guaranteed whoop and a holler of a good time!
Beth will be leading a Callers’ Workshop at First Presbyterian Church, 16 Hitt St, Columbia, MO. on Friday. Preregistration is required.
Music by Lift Ticket
Now in its 7th year, Lift Ticket has firmly established itself as a dance camp favorite at festivals from coast to coast. Lift ticket fuses an extraordinary repertoire of fiddle tunes, rendered with flair and flame, and with the other instruments, weaves, together traditional tunes and new compositions. This music inspires and infuses dancers with a rare energy. The musicians are Rex Blazer (fiddle), Jeff Spero (piano), T.J. Crow (mandoline) and Ness Smith-Savedoff (percussion).
Rex Blazer’s exuberant presence has been energizing dancers nationwide for over 25 years. Rex’s powerful and irreverent fiddling blends tradition with a big dose of improvisation based on modern musical motifs. From growling to “trad”, blues to swing, it’s always full of surprises. Rex ascribes to the theory that life should be a nonstop music and dance party, and is renowned for his knack of matching music to dance. In addition to his work with Lift Ticket, he plays recording and performance projects with singer-songwriters, cajun, zydeco, Irish, country and rock bands, and solo work for receptions, weddings and other private engagements.
T.J. Crow’s irreverent style and high energy are notorious for inspiring dancers and musicians alike. As a sought after session musician, he has performed and recorded with many well known artists including Vassar Clements, John McCutcheon, Robin and Linda Williams, and Tom Paxton as well as many of the best contra dance bands in the country. Two of these bands are Rhythm Raptors and Lift Ticket. As a teenager playing contemporary bluegrass, TJ has branched out over the years to enjoy all different styles from jazz to Middle Eastern. Of all music, he likes playing for dancers the best. TJ’s popular workshops, such as “Fiddle Tune Improvisation”, “Music Theory for Folk Musicians”, or “Dance Band Cheap Tricks”, leave participants delighted and eager to use what they’ve learned. T.J. lives in Stanton, Virginia.
Jeffrey Spero is a longtime musician and professional visual editor. As to editing, Jeffrey has worked for award winning documentaries, major network reality shows, national sports shows, concerts and direct response marketing. His credits range from commercials and promos to full-length shows and DVD editorial, and his work has been seen nationally on networks such as ABC, FOX, PBS, A&E, Fox Sports and on movie screens.
As a musician, Jeffrey has been playing piano and singing since he was 5 years old. At a young age he discovered an affinity for popular music and developed his style emulating musicians like James Taylor, Elton John and Bruce Hornsby. In his 30’s he brought his rhythmic style to American and Celtic folk and dance music and now travels around the country playing dances, concerts and festivals with bands such as Syncopaths, Rhythm Raptors and Lift Ticket. Jeffrey is also a contradance caller and dance choreographer.
Ness Smith-Savedoff played violin in Maryland where he was born and then bass in Geneva, Switzerland before moving to Portland, Maine and picking up the drums. Ness enjoyed playing percussion with his religious community and then with Village Harmony. After discovering his interest in contra dancing, he began playing drums for dances with Gallimaufry while at Oberlin College. Besides Gallimaufry, Ness also performs for dances with Cloud 10, Contra Sutra, The Long Pond Rounders, Light Reaction & The Dam Beavers. Ness has brought his drums to dance communities in 21 states. Additionally playing with rock, rap, and party bands, Ness has a variety of rhythms to blend with contra tunes. When Ness is not traveling, he DJs at a local community radio station and works at a grocery store in town.