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Next Event: Contra Dance Saturday Sept 19th

The Historic Jonesborough Dance Society will hold a community contra dance on Saturday, September 19, 2015, at the Jonesborough Visitors Center, 117 Boone Street.

The evening starts with a beginners lesson at 7:00pm led by caller, Christi Bothwell Henn following by contra dance from 7:30-10:30pm with guest band, Spinning Wheel, from Asheville.

Admission $7, HJDS Members and Students $5.

Waltz and Klondike Bar break at 9:00pm.

Posted by: David Wiley on September 9, 2015

Next Event: Contra Dance Saturday August 15, 2015

Mother-Daughter Quartet Plays for Contra Dance in Jonesborough!

The Historic Jonesborough Dance Society will hold another contra dance on Saturday August 15, 2015 at the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center, 117 Boone Street. HJDS welcomes back mother-daughter combo, Firefly, from Asheville, North Carolina. The contra dance will run from 7:30-10:30pm with a waltz break at 9:00pm. Admission to the dance is $7, HJDS Members $5 and students $5. A contra dance class for newcomers will be held from 7-7:30pm. The caller for the event will be Bob Dalsemer from Brasstown, NC.

FIREFLY is an all-women’s acoustic combo that plays spirited old-time music,
with surprising and lovely vocal harmonies on waltzes. Pearl Mueller (Mock
Turtle Soup) is on fiddle, Barbara Davis (Far Horizons and the Whoalls) on
guitar, and Laurel Willoughby (performed with Owen Morrison and Steve
Hickman, and with Bob Willoughby) plays stand-up bass and Julia Weatherford on fiddle and cello.

Based in the mountains of western North Carolina, Firefly members have performed at
LEAF, in Great Britain, the Laurel Theater in Knoxville, TN, and
throughout the country from Birmingham to DC, Wilmington to the Rockies.

Bob Dalsemer lives in Hayesville, North Carolina in the extreme southwestern corner of the state: 2 miles from Georgia, 30 miles from Tennessee and "about two and a half hours from everywhere."

He was born and raised in Baltimore, where he co-founded the Baltimore Folk Music Society and helped start the dance program for the Folklore Society of Greater Washington. He served as president of The Country Dance and Song Society from 1990-1996. In the early 1980's Bob became a regular dance instructor at The John C. Campbell Folk School and moved to southwestern North Carolina in 1991 to become Coordinator of Music and Dance Programs at The Folk School. In his 22 years at the school he greatly expanded the music program, instituted annual training courses for callers and dance musicians and began producing a concert series featuring many fine local and regional traditional musicians. In 2011 The Country Dance and Song Society awarded Bob its Lifetime Contribution Award.

Bob specializes in calling traditional American contra, square and circle dances. He has composed a number of new dances in traditional style and published two collections of traditional square dances ( Smoke On the Water and When The Work's All Done ) which, after being out of print for some time are available again from Hanhurst's Tape and Record Service.

Bob’s 1982 book, West Virginia Square Dances, about old time square dancing in five W.Va. communities is also available again, free, online. He also enjoys teaching, calling, and dancing English country dances.

Since 2000 Bob has been the principal caller for the Mountain Folk Festival at Berea College in Kentucky, an annual dance weekend for middle and high school age dance groups.

In addition to calling, Bob plays fiddle, guitar, mandolin and piano accordion. He is a musician for Sticks In the Mud Morris, Rural Felicity Garland Dancers, Dames Rocket Northwest Morris and a member of the Dog Branch Cats string band.

Bob retired from administrative duties at the Folk School in April, 2013. He continues calling, playing music, teaching callers’ workshops and volunteering as a Guardian Ad Litem (Court Appointed Special Advocate).

At the contra dance, you will be part of a living tradition passed on by the experienced dancers helping the newcomers. The dancers, the musicians, and caller aim for an evening of low-pressure, often energetic, camaraderie. Come alone or with others. We suggest changing partners every dance, although dates who attend together and significant others might dance with each other more than once. Sometimes you choose a partner and sometimes you get chosen. It's acceptable for women to ask men to dance.

Contra dancing is an evening of fun, featuring dancing in "sets" of about a dozen couples. You interact with your partner and everyone else in the set too as you dance with easy walking steps to energetic music. A caller, working with a group of live musicians, guides new and experienced dancers through a variety of dances.

The caller teaches each dance before it is actually done to the music. This walk through gives everyone an idea of what to expect so the movements can be easily executed. The caller calls the dances as they are being performed to the music, so dancers are able to execute each movement to the music. Once the dancers appear to have mastered a dance, the caller may stop calling, leaving the dancers to enjoy the movement with music alone.

For more information, please contact event organizer, David Wiley, at 423-534-8879 or visit Also join the HJDS Facebook group for latest updates.

Posted by: David Wiley on August 7, 2015

Next Event: July 4th @ Serenity Knoll

Rockin' 4th of July Party & Dance

The Historic Jonesborough Dance Society will hold a picnic, dance and sky watch at Serenity Knoll, 542 Bacon Branch Road in Jonesborough, TN on Saturday July 4, 2015.

The event will begin with a potluck dinner starting at 5pm. Then a contra dance will ensue from 7:00-10:00pm with JOSEPH SOBOL & CHAD BEAUCHAINE bringing the tunes and MARK LANGNER calling. Admission $7 for all comers.

Bring food, swimsuit (in case we have waterslide or pool) binoculars, telescope and mosquito repellent.

Special Guest EMILY RUSH will continue the dance fun with a RUSHFEST session from 10:30-Midnight. The cost for Rushfest is a suggested $5 donation.

Of course, there will be fireworks not only on the dance floor but throughout the valley below.

When things calm down at midnight, Stargazer columnist, MARK MARQUETTE will lead us in a special "CONTRA COSMIC CONNECTION," The evening of dance will be enhanced with the naked eye stargazing of constellations and telescopic views of Venus Jupiter and the gibbous Moon.

And when the lights go out in the dance hall there will be a chance for some serious stargazing of galaxies and nebulae through telescopes provided by Bristol and Bays Mountain amateur astronomers led by local sky popularizer Marquette. Bring your own telescope and the experts will show you how to properly use it.

Posted by: David Wiley on June 21, 2015

Next Event: Concert & Contra Dance June 10th

“New England Trio plays for Special Contra Dance in Jonesborough!”

The Historic Jonesborough Dance Society will host the next contra dance of the season on Wednesday June 10, 2015 at the Pavilion at Serenity Knoll, 542 Bacon Branch Road, Jonesborough. The featured band is NOVA from Boston, MA. The caller is Will Mentor from Vermont. Admission for the dance is $8 for all comers.

The evening will begin at 5:30pm with a potluck dinner and a concert by Morgantown, VA based fiddler Rachel Eddy. Admission to the concert is $5-10 suggested donation. Rachel Eddy is a well-traveled singer, songwriter and teacher who just recently released a CD called “Nothing But Corn”. She is currently living in Morgantown, teaching Appalachian music at WVU. She lived, toured and taught in Sweden/Europe 2009-2014 while playing fiddle, banjo, guitar and singing.

The NOVA Trio consists of Kathleen Fownes on fiddle, Everest Witman on guitar and Guillaume Sparrow-Pepin on piano and accordion.

Fiddler Kathleen Fownes plays with a fire and versatility that shows her deep passion for the music. Beginning as a child, Kathleen studied both folk and classical playing. Her lyrical playing, coupled with her fearless improvisation, create a powerful and dynamic musical range which make her one of the most sought after young fiddlers on the scene. Besides playing in Nova, Kathleen also plays in a duo, with her father Jim Fownes, called Light Reaction.

Everest Witman’s guitar playing is energetic and full of life. Heavily influenced by the playing of his former teacher Keith Murphy, he provides a compelling and driving backup guitar style. After finding the folk music scene in his early teens, he quickly fell in love with music and dancing. Everest plays in the DADGAD tuning and draws from the styles of New England, Québécois and Irish guitar playing to create a versatile and satisfying sound. Everest plays in a variety of other bands besides Nova and also teaches guitar lessons.

Guillaume Sparrow-Pepin draws on jazz, traditional, and world music to play with an expressive and dynamic style melding the worlds of accompaniment and melody. A singer and pianist, he picked up the accordion in 2012 and, under the tutelage of Jeremiah McLane, found his way to the folk music scene. He studied computer science and music at the University of Vermont and currently works as a musician and freelance web designer.

“These three young musicians are taking the country by storm. They just recently headlined at the annual Great Bear Groove in Oswego, NY, and will be touring this area all week long. We are so excited to showcase their talent here as they have already been booked for our annual Jonesborough Dance Weekend, Mountain Madness, to be held October 9-11, 2015.” Added event organizer, David Wiley, HJDS President.

Will Mentor, art professor at St. Michael’s College in Colchester, VT, will teach a contra class for beginners at 7:00 PM and the dance will run from 7:30-10:30 PM with a waltz and Klondike Bar break at 9:00pm. No partner is necessary. It is customary at contra dances to change partners after each dance. As always, our dances are smoke, alcohol and fragrance free.

Posted by: David Wiley on June 7, 2015

Next Event: Contra Dance Saturday June 6, 2015

The Historic Jonesborough Dance Society will hold a dance on Saturday June 6, 2015 at the Jonesborough Visitors Center, 117 Boone Street at 7:00pm featuring the Asheville band “Boom Chuck” with Lauren Kriel calling the dance. Admission is $7, $5 for HJDS members and $5 for full time students. A class for newcomer contra dances will run from 7:00-7:30pm. The dance will go from 7:30-10:30pm.

Posted by: David Wiley on May 29, 2015

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