From the Mic

From the Mic is a podcast about North American social dance calling

Through conversations with callers across the continent host Mary Wesley will explore the world of square, contra, and community dance callers. Why do they do it? How did they learn? What is their role, on stage and off, in shaping our dance communities? What can they tell us about the particular corner of the dance world that they know, and love, the best?

Each episode we’ll hear from a different caller, but they all have something in common –  a spark, a desire to lead, to share joy, to invite movement, to stand in that special place between the band and a room full of dancers (or people who don’t yet know that they’re dancers), and from the mic say “find a partner, let’s dance!”


From the Mic Episode 21 – Penn Fix

Dancing is magical. And if you’re willing to dance with someone you don’t know, then good things can happen I think. And you put it in the context that you’re dancing not just with a partner, but you’re dancing with a whole community of people who are very supportive and joyous and having fun, that...

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From the Mic Episode 20 – Susan Kevra

I think the caller ideally should be part of the band. Not to upstage the band, but that there should be an effort to think about what you’re doing musically. ~ Susan Kevra Mary’s guest this month is Susan Kevra, a dance caller, musician, and singer who makes her home in Nashville, Tennessee. Dancers on...

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From the Mic Episode 19 – Ben Sachs-Hamilton

Seeing the community that exists around this dancing—seeing how much it means to people and looking back and seeing how many of the close friendships and relationships in my life have come from this community—I want to do whatever I can to support it and help it grow and thrive. ~Ben Sachs-Hamilton In this episode...

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From the Mic Episode 18 – David Smukler

How many parts of our lives are all organized around this idea of joyful interaction? When we dance, why are we getting together except to do this beautiful thing that’s been around forever and that keeps evolving. ~David Smukler This episode we hear from the most wonderful David Smukler. A dance caller, scholar, organizer, choreographer,...

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From the Mic Episode 17 – Susan Petrick

I love treating each night as an experiment, and it really is, everything comes together differently. No two dances, no two evenings of contra dancing are ever exactly the same. You never know what it’s going to turn out like, but you know it’s going to be unique, never to be exactly duplicated and that’s...

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From the Mic Episode 16 – Catherine Burns

Catherine Burns has been at the heart of the Ottawa contra dance scene for decades. Born in Switzerland to Canadian parents Catherine traveled the world in her youth then became the house caller for the Old Sod Folk Music Society when they started a dance in the late 90s. Since then, she’s been a steady presence in the Ottawa...

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