Led by David Millstone

Experience the rich history and regional variety of square dancing in this in-depth, three part series.

With photographs, audio, and video, we’ll travel:

  • from 17th century France to Civil War ballrooms
  • from New England Grange halls to Texas cowboy balls
  • and from Newfoundland to New Mexico

to explore and discuss how this dance form became a staple of American popular culture.

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“What a fabulous opportunity for group and one on one help from Brooke. Her experience with global terminology provided me with the courage and tools I need to implement it in a way that makes sense for my community.”

a 3 week online course
Taught by Brooke Friendly

This course is geared toward ECD teachers with in-person calling experience. Contra callers, community and family dance leaders, and ECD callers with online calling experience only are welcome to apply.

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The music and dances of southern Appalachia have often been portrayed as culture that was brought to the U.S. from the British Isles. These traditions, in fact, have multicultural roots. They are a blend of earlier European, African, and Native American traditions, and they reflect the cultural and ethnic diversity of America.

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Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) is a psychological approach patterned on strategies used by successful individuals to assist people to reach personal goals. Language strategies and patterns of behavior are used to enhance clarity of teaching dancers, and used to avoid obstacles that you as a caller may have experienced during a dance.

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Weathering the Winter Together

November 1, 2021

We used this Web Chat to generate lots of ideas for keeping communities safe and engaged during another pandemic winter. Small groups brainstormed further ideas in breakout rooms. Also, public health professor Dr. Kimbi Hagen shared news and perspectives about how the pandemic is progressing.

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In June 2018, CDSS began a new Web Chat series to support organizers of dance, music, and song communities across the continent and beyond. For each Web Chat, a pertinent topic is chosen and guest organizers from communities having success with that topic are invited to share their valuable experiences and suggestions (Q&A included).

Web Chats for OrganizersJoin us for our next Web Chat:

Check back soon for details!
Questions? Contact camp@cdss.org

Latest Web Chat:

  • Dancers taking hands across a line

    Communities in Conflict

    May 30, 2023

    An online discussion to support organizers of dance, music, and song groups

    From disagreements about COVID protocols to strong feelings about role terms on the dance floor, dance leaders and organizers have been in the middle of passionate community discussions the past few years. As an organizer, what approaches and techniques can you use to help your group through these rough patches? And what can you do to keep your own balance along the way?

    CDSS Executive Director Katy German joined Jenny Beer, Dana Dwinell-Yardley, Sue Songer, and Kathy Story for a conversation about working through conflict as a community.

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Previous Web Chats

Julie Vallimont has been interviewing contra musicians for the Contra Pulse podcast over the past year – diving into their personal histories and exploring the growth and change of contra music and community over time.

In this special event, Julie will be hosting a panel discussion with four of the contra dance greats—Becky Tracy, Pete Sutherland, Rodney Miller, and Kate Barnes—about who their mentors and inspirations were, and how they’re mentoring and inspiring the next generation of contra musicians.

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CDSS is committed to our core value of Inclusivity. As an arts organization, CDSS understands inclusivity to mean striving to promote cultural equity. Cultural equity embodies the values, policies, and practices of providing equal access to the arts, including our shared dance, music, and song traditions, especially to people who historically have been underrepresented or denied access to those traditions.

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As the pandemic began, the CDSS Education Task Group created the Dance it Yourself video series to keep kids and families dancing while remaining safe at home. These six videos feature traditional dance callers, musicians, and a wide variety of dance styles, all of which can be done solo or in a couple.

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