We connect and support people in building and sustaining vibrant communities through participatory dance, music, and song traditions that have roots in English and North American culture.

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New and Noteworthy

People singing and playing stringed instruments outdoorsCheck out the last Web Chat

The video, slideshow, and transcript from our most recent Web Chat are now available. We heard first-hand experiences from two organizers about keeping their song groups alive and well through the pandemic by hosting in-person and online singing events. Our third guest provided the latest COVID-19 news from her public health perspective, offering suggestions especially pertinent for song group organizers. Email us with questions.

From the Mic with Sarah VanNorstrandFrom the Mic

In episode 3 of From the Mic, Mary Wesley talks with Sarah VanNorstrand, who has been calling, organizing and teaching contra, square, and family/community dances for over 15 years. They trace the roots of her connection to traditional music and dance back to her teenage years in Syracuse, and she shares her thoughts about matching dance choreography to music, including what she learned working alongside contra dance super-band Great Bear. Sarah also speaks to the many ways she works as a caller to facilitate a welcoming and fulfilling experience for everyone on the dance floor.

Soldiers and horses drown in the Kabul RiverMay 2022 Song of the Month

George Stephens introduces “Ford o' Kabul River,” a poem by Rudyard Kipling set to a tune by Peter Bellamy. The song tells the story of a regiment of British Hussars who drowned while attempting to cross the river and occupy Kabul during the Second Anglo-Afghan War in 1879.

19th-century engraving of dancers at a quadrilleCountry Dance + Song Online Volume 3

With the 2022 issue of Country Dance + Song Online, we are excited to present three articles on very different topics, two of them by contributors new to the journal. We will time-travel to three centuries of Anglo-American dance—all different, but all evolutionarily connected. Read more and download the issue.

Contra Pulse with Bill TomczakContra Pulse

This episode, Julie sits down with clarinetist, saxophonist, and arranger Bill Tomczak. Bill plays for contra and English country dancing with The Latter Day Lizards, Campaign for Real Time, and Fine Companions. Bill and Julie talk about his time studying clarinet at Northwestern University and how he forged his way as a clarinet player in the world of contra. They explore the technical nuances of his style, in which he studied numerous kinds of dance music to ultimately create a style all his own, and his strategies for playing for contra dances.

CDSS News, Spring 2021Spring 2022 CDSS News

The Spring 2022 CDSS News is now available! Learn about the Johnny Appleseed of morris dance; try a two-couple ECD or a happy march; read an interview with the late, great Tony Barrand; and much more. 

Two people dancing, one with a maskHelp Launch Our New Reentry Resource!
Groups that Have Resumed In-person Events

During our last Web Chat, we presented this exciting new online resource from CDSS. Is your group considering or preparing for reentry? If so, read some firsthand experiences from groups that have reopened their events. If your group has resumed and would like to pass along what you’ve been learning, please take our survey. Questions? Email resources@cdss.org

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