Are you new to contra dancing? This brief introduction will be held right before the evening contra dance with Jim Hemphill and Baba Yaga’s Stew. Learn to swing, “give weight,” and do-si-do under the tutelage of encouraging, experienced dancers. See you there!
Morris dance is a traditional dance from England that has been done for hundreds of years. There are several references to Morris dance in Shakespeare. Each village or region has its own set of dances. Come check out this unique form of dance demonstrated by our local Morris dancers! Audience members will be encouraged to try it out too.
Here’s your chance to kick up your heels to one of the greatest swing bands around!
Tommy Halloran’s Guerrilla Swing was voted “Best Jazz Band” in the River Front Times Music Awards in 2014 and 2015, and was named St. Louis’ “Best Band” by that paper’s editorial staff in 2014. As a solo artist and as frontman of Guerrilla Swing, Tommy Halloran performs over 300 shows per year, playing everywhere from airports and smoky clubs to historic theaters and grand outdoor festivals. His music is a gumbo of jazz, blues, bossa nova, folk, and rock n’ roll.
Dan Gellert and Friends will keep your toes tapping for this year’s square dance! Dan Gellert is one of the finest old-time musicians working today. His performances bring to life the spirit and atmosphere of old-time music as heard on old 78 rpm records. Dan is a master the banjo, guitar, and fiddle, and song. While he is playing, one gets the sense he has entered another world which combines all his influences, yet it is his playfulness and improvisational sensibilities which make his style powerful and instantly recognizable.
A children’s librarian and transplant from Colorado, Neal Schlein loves sharing his dances with everyone–children, beginners, and experienced dancers alike. His calling features traditional rhyming patter drawn from the old west, a sense of humor, and a great deal of enthusiasm. Born to parents who met at a college folk dance (think Roseville Faire, by Bill Staines!), he grew up enjoying a wide assortment of dance traditions and began calling in 1998 as a high school project. Today Neal calls squares, contras, and a smattering of other things, but his absolute favorite dance is always the one he’s sharing with you right now.
Yes, you CAN have it all! Spend a delightful hour-and-a-half learning three different dance traditions.
Irish dance with Daniel Flora
Born to parents in the Foreign Service (Diplomatic Corps), Daniel Flora learned to love Irish dancing while living in Europe and Canada. He also learned to play the bodhran and honed his skills playing at Irish sessions, including the local session at Dublin O’Neil’s. He is currently an instructor in Balkan and Irish Dances for the Illini Folk Dance Society, and has begun teaching Irish set dancing in the Champaign-Urbana area.
Simple English and Scandinavian dances with Jon and Sue Hanson
Jon and Sue Hanson have been involved in traditional dance since their college days. Originally from Illinois, they moved to California just after college where they were active in both International Folk Dance and Scandinavian Dance. They returned to Illinois in the 1990s and have been members of the Central Illinois English Country Dancers ever since. Jon and Sue enjoy sharing the dances they have learned. In their classes, they emphasize fun and easy dances that everyone can do.
The Dance Try-Its session is sponsored by the Illini Folk Dance Society.
Bring the family along for this all-ages family dance! Neal Schlein will be our caller and the Thursday Night Lincoln Square Jam group will provide the music.
A children’s librarian and transplant from Colorado, Neal loves sharing his dances with everyone–children, beginners, and experienced dancers alike. His calling features traditional rhyming patter drawn from the old west, a sense of humor, and a great deal of enthusiasm. Born to parents who met at a college folk dance (think Roseville Faire, by Bill Staines!), he grew up enjoying a wide assortment of dance traditions and began calling in 1998 as a high school project. Today Neal calls squares, contras, and a smattering of other things, but his absolute favorite dance is always the one he’s sharing with you right now.
This year’s contra dance features caller Jim Hemphill from Arcadia, Missouri and innovative trio, Baba Yaga’s Stew.
Baba Yaga’s Stew has tunes boiling and bubbling from all over the world! Their music arrangements are custom crafted to spin you down the contra dance floor. These ladies are veterans of the contra dance world, and the Chicago and Indianapolis’ music scene; they will leave you cackling for more! Here they are at the Sugar Hill dance weekend.
A bit more about two members of the group:
Lucia Thomas, violinist/multi-instrumentalist, grew up skipping between Irish pub sessions and orchestra halls, sinking ever further into the joy and passion within her wooden friend. After classical music school, she narrowly escaped a life of symphonic martyrdom by hopping atop a bicycle bound for the land of blood and honey- the Balkans! Her insatiable curiosity led her into many a jam, dance, and stage, playing with musicians from Germany, Serbia, Greece, Turkey, and more. She has returned to Chicago and continues to play and collaborate with musicians from all over the world. Lucia seeks to build bridges across communities through music, dance and song, bringing people together in celebration and appreciation of music, culture and diversity.
Dianna Davis began her career as a classical pianist and clarinetist but has since expanded into styles such as folk, Eastern European, jazz, and improvisation. After experiencing a gypsy band thrill an audience and move them to dance wildly to music, she knew that that’s the kind of music she wanted to play. An Indiana Arts Commission Grant winner, Dianna received her Masters of Music in music performance from Indiana University. She has since then studied music all over the United States and abroad to expand her world music repertoire including Macedonia, Ireland, and multiple gypsy jazz and accordion camps in the states.