Weekend of Country Dance begins Friday

The Juneau International Folk Dancers will host a weekend of Country English Dancing this weekend, led by guest teacher Bruce Hamilton of Menlo Park Calif. The event includes two evening dances with live music and five daytime workshops.


The Friday and Saturday evening dances will be held at Smith Hall at Chapel by the Lake, from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m., and will feature the live music of Labrador Tea, composed of Juneau musicians Beth Leibowitz and Wendy Parker. The cost is $12 per dance.

The 90-minute weekend workshops will be held at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center. Saturday’s workshops start at 10:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. Sunday’s (workshops begin at 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. The cost is $10 per class.

Each session will feature new dances and is open to dancers of all levels of experience. Partners are not necessary and all dances are taught and called.

Cost for the entire weekend is $60 for the public and $45 for members of the Juneau International Folkdancers. Tickets are available at the door before each event.

English country dancing originated in the British Isles and became popular all over Europe from 1650 to 1850. It’s the predecessor of contemporary contra and square dances.

Contemporary English country dancing includes the historic dances set to baroque music plus dances composed by current-day enthusiasts. The form is best known for its flowing and stately movements, but it also includes dances that are playful, rowdy, bouncy or with a touch of jazz.

Hamilton, current president of the Country Dance and Song Society, has danced the contemporary version of English Country Dancing for 40 years, and has led dances and taught other callers for the past 20 years in the US and in other countries. He enjoys weaving many threads besides technique and choreography into his lessons, such as music and sociality.

For more information on this event, contact Odette at 586-1787.


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