• A fiddler and accordionist play for a dance in a sunlit hall Annual Report Now Available

    The 2022 CDSS Annual Report is now available! Take a look back at our programs and financials. 

  • From the Mic with Susan Petrick From the Mic Episode 17: Susan Petrick

    In this episode of From the Mic, we head to northern California for a conversation with the wonderful Susan Petrick. An avid dancer for many years, Susan started calling for contra dances in 2000 and teaching couple dances, including waltz, cross-step waltz, and hambo, shortly thereafter. She is known for her clear teaching, efficient guidance, and expert pacing, making even complex dances accessible to all.

  • An adult seal nuzzles a baby seal on the beach October 2023 Song of the Month

    Our song for October is “Seal Lullaby,” with lyrics from a poem by Rudyard Kipling and music by Cindy Mangsen.

  • Younger dancers with arms around each other Generational Transition Survey

    Are you 18-44 years old? Do you participate in folk music or dance? Take our survey!

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  • Dancers under a rainbow at CDSS's Family Week at Agassiz Village. Photo by Hamish Swanson. Fall 2023 CDSS News

    The Fall 2023 CDSS News is now available! Hear how Hoggetowne Fancy keeps ECD music fresh in Florida; play a tune in remembrance of Rosemary Lach; dance online with Symmetry ECD; learn how the CDSS Educators Task Group is bringing dance, music, and song to the next generation; and much more.

  • John Dexter John Dexter Leaves a Legacy of Joy

    John Dexter—morris dancer, musician, teacher, fearless leader and guiding light of New York City’s Bouwerie Boys—passed quietly from this world in May 2023, leaving behind a 50-year legacy of incalculable breadth. Thank you, John! Thank you for the legacy of your years of dancing, playing, and teaching, and for your generous legacy gift, which will help CDSS to flourish this year and well into the future. Read more about John and his gift to CDSS.

  • From the Mic with Catherine Burns From the Mic Episode 16: Catherine Burns

    In this episode of From the Mic, Mary speaks with Catherine Burns, who has been at the heart of the Ottawa contra dance scene for decades. In the early 1980s, Catherine worked alongside her husband, Gord Peeling, who helped form the Old Sod Folk Music Society with musician Ian Robb. In the late 90s, she encountered contra dancing and became Ottawa’s house caller—and the rest is history.

  • An owl and other birds surround a stone tablet reading "In Memory of Poor Cock Robin." September 2023 Song of the Month

    Judy Cook introduces “Cock Robin.” The identity of the murderer of Cock Robin may not be a mystery (spoiler: it was the sparrow), but the origins of the British-American folk song certainly are.

  • "Parable of Lazarus" painting by Fyodor Bronnikov August 2023 Song of the Month

    Margaret Nelson introduces “Dives and Lazarus.” This traditional folk song retells the parable of a rich man who refused to give food and comfort to a beggar at his door.

  • From the Mic with Luke Donforth From the Mic Episode 15: Luke Donforth

    This month on From the Mic, Mary is joined by longtime friend, collaborator, and fellow Vermont caller Luke Donforth. As a caller, he brings a warm and inviting playfulness to the stage. He calls new compositions and traditional contras at weekly dances, barn dances, weddings, and festivals all over the country. On the local front, he currently runs a monthly family dance in Burlington and he is also a published author! If you don’t already own a copy of his book The ABCs of Contra Dancing, pick one up for the young dancers in your life.

  • Actor Richard Barthelmess kisses the arm of a blushing Thelma Todd, in the 1928 movie "The Noose" July 2023 Song of the Month

    Mark Gilston presents “How to Make Love,” a set of tongue-in-cheek instructions for young men wishing to court. The necessary ingredients include hairstyling lard, a harmonica, gold tooth, red bow tie, and ten cents’ worth of drugstore perfume.

  • Silhouette of Bob McQuillen playing accordion Bob McQuillen Curated Tune Lists

    Over 1500 of contra musician Bob McQuillen’s tunes are now available on the Apple App Store. Check out Bob McQuillen Curated Tune Lists to narrow down the tunes and find some new favorites!