5 Things... Inside the Dancing Mind of...
"5 Things...Inside the Dancing Mind of..." is a one-hour chat with Q&A from movers and shakers in the English Country Dance community from across the country about the 5 things that they feel are important to our passion for ECD and why. Hosted by the Historical Tea & Dance Society.
|May 18, 2022||Wendy Graham||Contra caller||Video|
|April 15, 2022||ECD Choreographers||Alan Winston, David Smukler, Jenny Beer, Sharon Green, and Gary Roodman||Video|
|March 15, 2022||Deborah Denenfeld||Dance educator and leader||Video|
|February 15, 2022||Andy Davis & Peter Amidon||Performing and teaching artists||Video|
|January 18, 2022||Mike Richardson||Musician, dancer, caller, composer, choreographer and organizer||Video|
|December 21, 2021||Bob Dalsemer||Caller, teacher, musician, organizer, former CDSS President||Video|
|November 16, 2021||Alan Roberts & Sande Gillette||Sound engineer, fiddle players, organizer||Video|
|October 19, 2021||Steve Howe||Former Director of CDSS Camp Programs, dancer||Video|
|June 29, 2021||Our 5 Things Team||The stories of some of the folks behind the scenes who made it all happen||Video|
|June 22, 2021||Our Online Pioneers||Creating new opportunities for us to share and experience the joy of music, dance, and song!||Video|
|June 19, 2021||Alex Cumming||In conjunction with Hey Days Dance Camp||Video|
|June 15, 2021||Various directors||Behind the scenes at dance camp||Video|
|June 8, 2021||Val Medve||Caller (English), teacher, organizer, and choreographer||Video|
|June 1, 2021||Bob Green||Caller, choreographer, videographer||Video|
|May 25, 2021||Nikki Herbst||Teacher (English and Contra) and Organizer||Video|
|May 18, 2021||Frederick Park||Caller (English, Contra, Square, and Folk), teacher, choreographer, organizer, storyteller||Video|
|May 11, 2021||Barbara Greenberg||Musician (English and Contra)||Video|
|May 4, 2021||Philippe Callens||A tribute to the renowned caller, teacher, and choreographer||Video|
|April 27, 2021||Dave Bartley||Musician (English and Contra), Composer||Video|
|April 20, 2021||Rosemary Lach||Caller (English and Contra), and Organizer||Video|
|April 13, 2021||Mary Devlin||Caller (English and Contra), Choreographer, former CDSS President||Video|
|April 6, 2021||Jim Morrison||Musician, caller, researcher, former Director of CDSS||Video|
|March 30, 2021||Audrey Knuth||Musician (Contra)||Video|
|March 23, 2021||Graham Christian||Caller (English), researcher, writer||Video|
|March 20, 2021||Paul Hutchinson||Accordionist in any style you'd like to name||Video|
|March 16, 2021||Dan Blim||Caller||Video|
|March 9, 2021||Jacqueline Schwab||Pianist and caller (English)||Video|
|March 2, 2021||Alisa Dodson||Caller and dance writer (English)||Video|
|February 23, 2021||Karen Axelrod||Musician (English and Contra)||Video|
|February 20, 2021||Nicolas Broadbridge||Caller and Teacher (English), accordionist, researcher, composer, choreographer||Video|
|February 16, 2021||Alex Cumming||Traditional singer, musician (accordion & piano), and caller||Video|
|February 9, 2021||Jeff Spero||Pianist, caller and choreographer (Contra)||Video|
|February 2, 2021||Barbara Finney||Caller and Teacher (English), Organizer||Video|
|January 26, 2021||Elizabeth Goossen||Caller (English), choreographer (& Scottish), composer, musician, organizer||Video|
|January 19, 2021||Gaye Fifer||Caller (English and Contra)||Video|
|January 12, 2021||Wayne Hankin||Multi-instrumentalist (also Cirque du Soleil), inventor of the Jubo (see link).||Video|
|Special New Year Bonus: Link for the After-talk|
|January 5, 2021||Danny Walkowitz||Dancer and professional historian||Video|
|December 22, 2020||Darlene Hamilton||Caller and multi-talented organizer||Video|
|December 15, 2020||Alan Winston||Caller, choreographer and dance organizer||Video|
|December 8, 2020||Heather Clarke||Researcher and Dancer||Video|
|December 1, 2020||Dave Wiesler||"Exploring Dance Tunes"||Video|
|November 24, 2020||Chris Sackett||Caller, Composer and Choreographer (English)|
|November 17, 2020||Jenny Beer||Caller and Choreographer (English)||Video|
|November 10, 2020||Jonathan Jensen||Musician and Composer||Video|
|November 3, 2020||Many guests||Video|
|October 27, 2020||Martha Griffin||Caller and Choreographer (English)||Video|
|October 20, 2020||David Smukler||Caller and dance writer (English, Contra and Square)||Video|
|October 17, 2020||Walter Nelson||Organizer and Lecturer (Historical)||Video|
|October 13, 2020||Gene Murrow||Caller, Musician and Producer (English)||Video|
|October 6, 2020||Susan Kevra and Rachel Bell||Caller (Susan) and musicians (both) for English and Contra||Video|
|September 22, 2020||Lisa Greenleaf||Caller (English, Contra, Squares)||Video|
|September 19, 2020||Paul Cooper||Researcher (Regency)||Video|
|September 15, 2020||Louise Siddons||Caller (English & Contra), Organizer||Video|
|September 8, 2020||Chip Prince||Musician (English & Contra)||Video|
|September 1, 2020||Anna Rain||Caller (English & Contra), musician||Video|
|August 25, 2020||Shira Kammen||Musician, composer||Video|
|August 18, 2020||Olivia Barry||Caller (English, Contra, Irish), organizer, researcher||Video|
|August 15, 2020||Allison Thompson||Historian, dance writer, musician, blogger||Video|
|August 11, 2020||Gary Roodman||Dance writer||Video|
|August 4, 2020||Beverly Francis||Caller (English)||Video|
|July 28, 2020||Bridget Whitehead||Caller and organizer||Video|
|July 21, 2020||Brooke Friendly||Special theme: Global Terminology / Positional Calling||Video|
|July 18, 2020||Colin Hume||Caller (English, Contra, Square…), dance writer, composer, researcher||Video|
|July 14, 2020||Dave Wiesler||Pianist and Composer (English, Contra and Scottish)||Video|
|July 7, 2020||Paul Ross||Caller (English), videographer, organizer||Video|
|June 30, 2020||James Hutson||Caller and dance writer (English & Contra)||Video|
|June 23, 2020||Katy German||CDSS Executive Director 2017-||Video|
|June 16, 2020||Brad Foster||CDSS Executive & Artistic Director 1983-2011||Video|
|June 9, 2020||Jenna Simpson||Caller (English), dance writer||Video|
|June 2, 2020||Scott Higgs||Caller (English and Contra), dance writer||Video|
|May 26, 2020||David Millstone||Caller (English), videographer, writer, Past CDSS President||Video|
|May 19, 2020||Orly Krasner||Caller (English), dance writer, tune composer, academic||Video|
|May 16, 2020||Susan de Guardiola||Historical Dance teacher and researcher||Video|
|May 12, 2020||Brooke Friendly||Caller (English), dance writer||Video|
|May 5, 2020||Bruce Hamilton||Caller (English), Scottish teacher, thought-provoking speaker||Video|
|April 28, 2020||Sharon Green||Organizer, caller (English), dance composer||Video|
|April 21, 2020||Kate Barnes||Multi-instrumentalist (English and Contra), composer, publisher||Video|
|April 18, 2020||Cécile Laye||French teacher of English dance||Video|
|April 14, 2020||Rebecca King||Pianist (English and Contra) and composer||Video|
|April 7, 2020||Kalia Kliban||Caller (English and Contra), dance writer||Video|
|March 31, 2020||Joanna Reiner||Caller (English)||Video|
|March 24, 2020||Graham Christian||Caller (English), researcher, writer||Video|
Our COVID Section Has Moved
Please visit the CDSS Responds to COVID-19 page in the Resource Portal for all the information on staying connected during the pandemic.
2021 Affiliate Survey Report
In 2021, we conducted our third annual Affiliate survey. This year, we also asked about how groups have been doing through the pandemic, what kind of data they collect from their attendees, any cultural equity work they’ve taken on, and more. 63% of Affiliates responded—the most since the survey began in 2019.
2020 Affiliate Survey Report
In 2020, we conducted another Affiliate survey to learn even more about the work that Affiliates are doing and how we can best support them. We were thrilled that 62% of Affiliates responded – an incredible response rate! We learned much and have been using the survey findings to direct our decisions and actions.
2019 Affiliate Survey Report
In 2019, CDSS conducted its first survey of Affiliates in over a decade. Our goal was to develop a strong base knowledge of our Affiliate community so that we could better support our network of organizations throughout North America and beyond.
In particular, we wanted to learn:
- More about our Affiliates and the work they are doing.
- What Affiliates like about the services we provide and how we can improve.
- What value Affiliates see in traditional participatory arts and what advocacy work can be done to support our shared traditions.
Traditional Dance, Music, and Song Organizers in the United States — A Survey of Local Organizers
To serve our mission of encouraging thriving local communities throughout the continent of North America, CDSS recently undertook a study in order to learn how to best support local traditional music, dance, and song organizers in Canada. View the report of that study.
Following closely upon the release of Canadian study, we conducted a follow-up survey of organizers in the US. The primary purpose of the second survey was to learn about the current challenges and needs of local organizers who are CDSS members (group Affiliate or individual/family). A subset of the Canadian survey questions were used for the US survey to determine whether the Canadian findings resonated with US organizers, and where there might variation.
While there were a few differences, the similarities were dramatic. For instance, as with the Canadian organizers, US organizers are currently most concerned with issues around attendance.
Both studies included questions about the types of supports organizers would find most helpful. We are now taking action on a number of these findings in order to strengthen our support of local organizers as we believe local organizers are truly essential to fostering the communities of dance, music, and song traditions that we collectively value.
Traditional Dance, Music, and Song in Canada - A Survey of Local Organizers
To serve our mission of encouraging thriving local communities throughout the continent of North America, CDSS undertook a study to learn how to best support local traditional music, dance, and song organizers in Canada. The study focused on local organizers, as they are essential to fostering the communities of dance, music, and song traditions that we collectively value.
Whether it be Newfoundland traditional song, Métis step dance, or northern fiddle traditions - every folk tradition is culturally significant. They reflect the shared values and heritage and help to define a sense of identity and belonging. Shared among all of these traditions is the impact they have on individuals, the wider community, and society. Often, there is commonality between organizers of different traditions. For instance, organizers of a Cape Breton traditional square dance, contra dance in British Columbia, or a veillée de danse Québécoise often do similar work, share similar challenges, and could benefit from similar supports. Thus, by sharing across traditions, we create more vibrant and resilient communities for all. CDSS hopes that this study is not only helpful for our work and for local organizers but that it is also useful to other umbrella arts organizations. We plan to take action on common interests that have arisen through the study and we will look at ways to address particular interests where we can, often in partnership with others.
The report has two sections. The first ten pages contains the main report while the following 40 pages present the findings of each survey question for those who want to delve deeper into the findings. The report describes who is organizing what throughout Canada. It also goes into depth regarding the strengths and successes of various groups, the challenges that organizers face, and the supports organizers currently need. One particular survey question (question 34 in the appendices) is particularly inspiring as it highlights organizers' impressions of how TDMS positively impacts individuals, communities, and the wider society.
Passport to Joy
Our Passport to Joy! program was a huge success! Throughout 2015 you brought your passport to all the great places you danced. You filled its pages with stickers, each representing an amazing memory. But, how can you share the joy now? And wasn’t there supposed to be something about prizes…?
What Did You Do and Where Did You Go?
1. Send us a list of Passport Destinations you attended with dates and a final count. Please submit this list by Saturday, April 30th.
2. If you want, you can also send photos (of you dancing or smiling, or those Destinations you found, or some or all of your passport pages).
3. We’d love to hear any passport-related stories you’d like to share.
4. If you traveled a great distance to a Passport Destination, send us those coordinates.
Please do not send us your actual, physical Passport to Joy! We do not really have a way to process them, and – more importantly – you get to keep it as a memento of your CDSS Centennial year.
Yes, there will be entertaining prizes for:
• The passport with the greatest number of destinations
• Any passport with a whopping 40 stickers or more
• The passport holder who reports traveling the greatest distance
• Plus two entrants chosen at random. So send us your list - any passport can win a prize!
Prizes will be awarded and announced in May 2016 based on submissions received by April 30th, so send us your info ASAP. In the case of close or ambiguous information, we reserve the right to give out additional prizes.
Stories and photos we receive will become part of this page. Spread the Joy!
Submit your information by clicking the Passport Submission Form button at the top of this page.
If you prefer, you can email your info to firstname.lastname@example.org. And if for some reason you can't fill out the form or email us, send your info via US mail to:
116 Pleasant Street, Suite 345
Easthampton, MA 01027-2759
Links to other Forums
CDSS Community Forum
The Forum Extension will be on this page.
A Message from Executive Director Katy German
We owe you a status update on the CDSS online Member Directory. As you know, 2017 was a year of big transitions for CDSS. Both the Executive Director and Business Manager positions were vacated in January, and then our Director of Communications retired in June. Interim support was quickly put in place, search and hiring processes ensued, and the top priorities became maintaining quality programming and ensuring the financial integrity of the organization while we identified the right candidates for the open leadership positions. Those things were done very well, and I am exceedingly proud of the staff for their role in carrying the organization forward during that time. Because of their stewardship and the exceptional work of the CDSS board, we are once again in a high-functioning place.
Unfortunately, the shift in priorities last year meant that we fell behind on some things. Restocking our store inventory, closing communication loops, and maintaining our online Member Directory are the biggest examples of this. We know that our members and supporters have felt the impact of these shortcomings and it weighs heavily on us. Right now we are working very hard to get those things remedied. We have invested new energy into the store and placed orders to build up our supply of popular items. We’ve been catching up on communications and are ready to provide better customer service again. The Member Directory, however, has a more complex solution and requires time.
The major hold up on the Member Directory has to do with the fact that we are in the midst of a data migration and having to choreograph that carefully. Section by section, function by function, we are moving our business out of the old system and into the new one. Camp registration needed to be prioritized at the beginning of this year and that’s where migration and design work has been focused these first couple of months. The Member Directory work will come later in the year. It’s tricky work, because the Directory must sync with updates to member contact information, and we want to honor people’s privacy preferences. That’s what we will be working on soon. We have established a focused Directory Action Team, and will continue to update you on our progress.
In the meantime, you can help us out A LOT by logging into your account here! Ensuring now that you can login will significantly streamline our efforts and help us get the Member Directory back online. If you have not logged onto your CDSS account since August 17, 2017, please note that your login information has changed. Most of you received an email from us on 8/17/17 containing your new login and instructions for logging on. You might still have it! If you encounter difficulties logging on and no longer have or didn't get that email, we are ready to assist you.
Thank you for your patience and ongoing support. We want to build a Member Directory that works for you!
CDSS Song of the Month
Community and traditional song in the 21st century
Join us each month in song!
CDSS designated 2016 our Year of Song. We chose it for two reasons: to honor the start of Cecil Sharp and Maud Karpeles’ prolific folk song collecting in southern Appalachia (1916-1918), and to look at how song serves CDSS's mission. This examination also begins a cycle of focusing on one or two genres at a time, as we identify community needs and allow for better use of our resources.
Our Song of the Month feature has been so well received that we decided to make it a permanent part of the website. You'll find an archive of these songs below as well as new ones being posted in the months to come.
CDSS’s song traditions are based primarily in the English and Anglo-American traditions — folk songs, ballads, sea shanties, rounds, songs with choruses. We also include spirituals, work songs, country harmony, African call and response, shape note and gospel, contemporary a cappella, and new arrangements of traditional songs. Our special emphasis is on community singing.
Lorraine Hammond, CDSS Board member and Song Task Group Chair, spearheaded our Year of Song efforts and oversaw 2016’s song selections. Judy Cook took on that role in 2017 and continues to contribute each month, with help from Lorraine. Our thanks to them both.
Note: Many of these old songs should be looked at as "fairy tales for adults" in that they often address very strong, and sometimes scary, subject matter. They allow us to deal with difficult situations and emotions with the distance afforded by putting it in a song. They are cautionary tales, and had their use as such.