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The Historic Jonesborough Dance Society Presents Community Contra Dance on Saturday, Aug. 17 at 7 p.m.

Aug. 12, 2013. The Historic Jonesborough Dance Society will present a community contra dance on Saturday, Aug. 17, at the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center at 117 Boone Street. Class for beginning contra dancers will begin at 7 p.m. The dance will run from 7:30-10:30 p.m. with a waltz and Klondike Bar break at 9 p.m. Coming to Jonesborough to perform for the dance will be the Dancing Bears from Asheville. Calling for the dance will be the ever-popular Barbara Groh from Asheville. 

Contra ChloeThe evening will begin with a family dance from 5:30-6:45 p.m. The family dance is truly a family event where parents or grandparents and children ages four and up learn traditional dances. The dance will consist of easy steps for participants of all ages. The goal is to teach the fundamentals of dancing with a focus on having fun and placing less of an emphasis on dance techniques. Types of dances include circles, long-ways sets, squares and odd number sets. All dances will be taught and called with high-energy live music from students in the ETSU Bluegrass, Old Time and Country Music program.

Now that contra dance has become so popular all over the country, there are many step-by-step guides on how to do contra dance on the internet. 

“Even though we teach a brief workshop prior to the dance, there are other resources including contra dance videos, essays and other instruction available all over the web,” states event organizer David Wiley. 

“We also encourage newcomers to partner with experienced dancers for the first few dances to build their confidence and show them how easy and fun contra dancing is.”

You can bring the whole family to the dance.

The Dancing Bears consists of Lew Gelfond on fiddle, Mark Langner on guitar, John Culp on mandolin and banjo. Lew Gelfond has been playing the fiddle since long before the cows came home. He is a solo performer of old time fiddle and banjo music and also plays swing, ragtime, Celtic, gypsy, country, Klezmer, tangos and other traditional music. Lew performs at schools, concerts, workshops and festivals and has been a violin, viola and fiddle teacher for 20 years. Mark Langner started playing keyboards and guitar in a garage rock band in high school. In college, he played coffee houses as part of a duo which did an eclectic mix of music ranging from Merle Haggard to Grateful Dead to Frank Zappa. Mark’s current interest is in swing and jazz, which colors most things the Bears do. Mark is also a certified hypnotherapist and builds acoustic arch top guitars. John Culp got his first real guitar on his 16th birthday and has been picking strings ever since. Since meeting his bride and favorite caller, Barbara Groh, and becoming submerged in the contra dance community, he has concentrated on Mandolin and tenor banjo. 

Barbara Groh, a resident of Asheville, has been calling contra dances all over the Southeast since 1989. She has called such festivals as the Charleston Bug Stomp, Gotta Dance, the Summer Soiree, the Black Mountain Music Festival, Moon Dance and the Gypsy Meltdown. Her smooth stype, clear teaching and collection of interesting dances will help you achieve Contra Nirvana. 

Barbara has been immersed in the traditional music and dance scene for three decades. She became an avid square dancer at age thirteen. In college she fell in love with contra dancing and learned to play old-time banjo. As a caller, her patience and ability to give precise dance instructions stem in part from her 15 years as a classroom teacher and private tutor. She currently works with children of all ages who has dyslexia. 

Come as you are, wear soft flexible shoes for dancing. Come to dance, join the potluck dinner of just to listen. No partner is necessary. All dances are taught. As always, our dances are smoke and alcohol free. Admission to the dance is $7 for adults, $5 for HJDS members and $5 for full-time students. Families with their own children are all admitted for only $15. 

For further information call event organizer David Wiley at 423-534-8879.