About 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!”

Mary Wesley (host) was raised in the cradle of Vermont’s Green Mountains. She found her way to a Burlington contra dance in the fall of 2005 and was immediately hooked.  She was later happy to learn that the tradition is in her DNA – she is the granddaughter of two square dance callers! It wasn’t long before she took to the mic herself.  She started calling in 2008 and keeps a full schedule, which includes gigs up and down both coasts. Mary loves to share her infectious joy for traditional dancing with dancers of all ages and she has something to offer every crowd.  After unearthing her grandparents’ collection of dance records she was inspired to start practicing patter and add some squares to her arsenal. She calls family and community dances with great joy and finds “chestnuts” absolutely irresistible. Mary also works for the Vermont Folklife Center and is an amateur documentarian, oral historian, and radio producer.

Ben Williams (producer) works for the Country Dance and Song Society, managing the digital and print publications as well as wearing various other hats. He works with Mary on the long-term planning and direction of the podcast, as well as handling the technical side of the website and hosting. Ben is an avid singer, contra and English dancer, as well as podcast lover!