Swing Dance, with the Champaign Central High School Jazz Ensemble

Central High School Jazz EnsembleThe Champaign Central High School Jazz Ensemble, directed by John Currey since 1997, has been the cornerstone of the Central High School music program, garnering awards and distinctions at almost every festival or competition attended. There are three separate big bands in the Central program:  Jazz Lab band, Jazz Stage Band and the Jazz Ensemble, as well as several smaller combos made up of students from these bands. Central Jazz Bands and Combos perform throughout the year, in venues large and small, from the Iron Post to prestigious festivals in New York City and California. Many jazz band students from Central have gone on to play in jazz ensembles at Indiana University, Northwestern University and the University of Illinois, among others. Let’s welcome this next generation of musicians to the festival!

Paul Kwiat

Be sure to stop in for the lesson with local swing master (and UIUC physics professor) Paul Kwiat beforehand – 6:00pm-6:45pm. Hope to see a lot of teens at both!


Friday, November 1st,  7:00pm-8:00pm
Landmark Hotel Ballroom
Wristband or cover

Dance Try-Its

Yes, you CAN have it all! Spend a delightful hour-and-a-half learning three different dance traditions.

Irish dancing


Irish (with Daniel Flora)

English and Scandinavian (with Jon and Sue Hanson)

International Folk Dance (with the Illini Folk Dance Society)




Saturday, November 2nd, 2:15pm-3:45pm
Landmark Hotel Ballroom

Contra Dance with Yellow Jacket Stringband and Jonathan Sivier

Yellow Jacket Stringband

The Yellow Jacket String Band is Claire Johnson, Kate Fritz and Tom Turino and their infectious string band music can be found at lively contra dances throughout the Midwest.




Jonathan SivierJonathan Sivier has been leading traditional dances since 1992. He is active with the Urbana Country Dancers and is one of the leaders of the Central Illinois English Country Dancers. He regularly calls contra, English and square dances in Champaign-Urbana and elsewhere around the country. In 2010, Jonathan was honored with an ACE (Arts, Culture and Entertainment) award from 40 North, the Champaign County Arts Council. One of his current projects is teaching contra and English country dance as part of a study being run by the Exercise Psychology Lab in the Kinesiology Department of the University of Illinois looking at the effects of different forms of exercise on the cognition in older adults. Another ongoing project is the reconstruction of music and dances from New Harmony, Indiana circa 1826.

The contra dance is co-sponsored by the Urbana Country Dancers.

Friday, November 1st, 8:15pm-11:00pm
Landmark Hotel Ballroom
Wristband or cover

Klezmer (Yiddish) Dance, with the Red Sea Pedestrians

Red Sea PedestriansYiddish dance is Jewish folk dancing that comes to us from Eastern Europe. With the revival of klezmer music – music that gets your feet moving –  there is a corresponding interest in the dances that go with it – freylekhs, bulgars, shers, zhoks, sirbas, hongas, and others. We are pleased to have the Red Sea Pedestrians play for the festival’s first-ever Yiddish dance event.

Mitch HarrisOur dance leader for the night is Mitch Harris, whose dancing chops come from many years of attendance at KlezKamp, this country’s premier Yiddish arts folk program.

Saturday, November 2nd, 6:00pm-7:15pm
Landmark Hotel Ballroom
Wristband or cover

Square dance with Richie Stearns and Deborah Hyland

We are delighted to have Richie Stearns and Friends playing this year’s square dance, with calling from one of our favorites, Deborah Hyland.

Richie StearnsLegendary banjo player Richie Stearns is one of the most influential old-time players of the last 25 years, stretching the genre in many innovative ways. He is steeped in the traditions of American old-time music, Appalachian folk, blues, African, rock, and country music. His band “The Horseflies” re-defined old-time music in the 1980′s and 90′s and introduced the unique Ithaca, NY  sound to a whole generation of traditional musicians and fans. A founding member of “Donna the Buffalo” and “The Renegades”, Richie has collaborated, opened for, or played in bands with Natalie Merchant, Beausoleil, Farm Report (with Tony Trischka), 10,000 Maniacs, Kevin Burke, Johnny Clegg and Savuka, Peter Rowan, Jim Lauderdale and many others.

deborahhylandDeborah Hyland has called and taught dance to a wide range of audiences in the St. Louis area and beyond since 1991. Missouri’s classic old-time music provides the perfect drive behind the cadence of her squares, contras, and mixers. Besides appearing regularly at dances in St. Louis, Deborah has headlined at dance weekends and folk festivals in Wisconsin, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, and Indiana. Deborah has also called at local dances throughout the Midwest, including Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio.

With an emphasis on clear teaching, she has coaxed hundreds of beginners toward a successful dance experience at the Missouri Historical Society’s programs for children, various St. Louis festivals, a homeless shelter, community radio fundraisers, weddings, and a variety of other events for both children and adults.

Deborah has also taught Civil War dancing at a number of reenactments, balls, and battles in Ohio, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Indiana, Mississippi, and more.

Deborah’s calling appears on an album by fiddler Lida Bringe, “What Will I Do” (1996), her choreography has been published in “Midwest Folklore and Other Dances” (1995), and she appeared as a square dance caller on the reality show “Farmer Wants a Wife” (2007).

Saturday, November 2nd, 7:45pm-9:15pm
Landmark Hotel Ballroom
Wristband or cover