The Historic Jonesborough Dance Society was chartered in the Fall of 2005 as a non-profit, educational organization to promote a better understanding and appreciation of American folk dancing, its music, its history and related folklore. HJDS is a group affiliate of the Country Dance and Song Society. We are an all-volunteer organization based in Jonesborough, the oldest town in Tennessee.

We will hold community dances on the first and third Saturdays every month in the auditorium of the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center at 117 Boone Street. Our dances are open to the public and feature live music in a smoke and alcohol free environment. No experience is necessary. Each dance is taught by the caller for the evening. You do not have to bring a partner. Comfortable shoes and clothing are recommended. Snacks and beverages are for sale in the visitors center. For more information about Jonesborough, please visit their website that can be found in our links section.

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Next Event: Contra Dance Saturday August 15, 2015

Mother-Daughter Quartet Plays for Contra Dance in Jonesborough!

The Historic Jonesborough Dance Society will hold another contra dance on Saturday August 15, 2015 at the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center, 117 Boone Street. HJDS welcomes back mother-daughter combo, Firefly, from Asheville, North Carolina. The contra dance will run from 7:30-10:30pm with a waltz break at 9:00pm. Admission to the dance is $7, HJDS Members $5 and students $5. A contra dance class for newcomers will be held from 7-7:30pm. The caller for the event will be Bob Dalsemer from Brasstown, NC.

FIREFLY is an all-women’s acoustic combo that plays spirited old-time music,
with surprising and lovely vocal harmonies on waltzes. Pearl Mueller (Mock
Turtle Soup) is on fiddle, Barbara Davis (Far Horizons and the Whoalls) on
guitar, and Laurel Willoughby (performed with Owen Morrison and Steve
Hickman, and with Bob Willoughby) plays stand-up bass and Julia Weatherford on fiddle and cello.

Based in the mountains of western North Carolina, Firefly members have performed at
LEAF, in Great Britain, the Laurel Theater in Knoxville, TN, and
throughout the country from Birmingham to DC, Wilmington to the Rockies.

Bob Dalsemer lives in Hayesville, North Carolina in the extreme southwestern corner of the state: 2 miles from Georgia, 30 miles from Tennessee and "about two and a half hours from everywhere."

He was born and raised in Baltimore, where he co-founded the Baltimore Folk Music Society and helped start the dance program for the Folklore Society of Greater Washington. He served as president of The Country Dance and Song Society from 1990-1996. In the early 1980's Bob became a regular dance instructor at The John C. Campbell Folk School and moved to southwestern North Carolina in 1991 to become Coordinator of Music and Dance Programs at The Folk School. In his 22 years at the school he greatly expanded the music program, instituted annual training courses for callers and dance musicians and began producing a concert series featuring many fine local and regional traditional musicians. In 2011 The Country Dance and Song Society awarded Bob its Lifetime Contribution Award.

Bob specializes in calling traditional American contra, square and circle dances. He has composed a number of new dances in traditional style and published two collections of traditional square dances ( Smoke On the Water and When The Work's All Done ) which, after being out of print for some time are available again from Hanhurst's Tape and Record Service.

Bob’s 1982 book, West Virginia Square Dances, about old time square dancing in five W.Va. communities is also available again, free, online. He also enjoys teaching, calling, and dancing English country dances.

Since 2000 Bob has been the principal caller for the Mountain Folk Festival at Berea College in Kentucky, an annual dance weekend for middle and high school age dance groups.

In addition to calling, Bob plays fiddle, guitar, mandolin and piano accordion. He is a musician for Sticks In the Mud Morris, Rural Felicity Garland Dancers, Dames Rocket Northwest Morris and a member of the Dog Branch Cats string band.

Bob retired from administrative duties at the Folk School in April, 2013. He continues calling, playing music, teaching callers’ workshops and volunteering as a Guardian Ad Litem (Court Appointed Special Advocate).

At the contra dance, you will be part of a living tradition passed on by the experienced dancers helping the newcomers. The dancers, the musicians, and caller aim for an evening of low-pressure, often energetic, camaraderie. Come alone or with others. We suggest changing partners every dance, although dates who attend together and significant others might dance with each other more than once. Sometimes you choose a partner and sometimes you get chosen. It's acceptable for women to ask men to dance.

Contra dancing is an evening of fun, featuring dancing in "sets" of about a dozen couples. You interact with your partner and everyone else in the set too as you dance with easy walking steps to energetic music. A caller, working with a group of live musicians, guides new and experienced dancers through a variety of dances.

The caller teaches each dance before it is actually done to the music. This walk through gives everyone an idea of what to expect so the movements can be easily executed. The caller calls the dances as they are being performed to the music, so dancers are able to execute each movement to the music. Once the dancers appear to have mastered a dance, the caller may stop calling, leaving the dancers to enjoy the movement with music alone.

For more information, please contact event organizer, David Wiley, at 423-534-8879 or visit www.historicjonesboroughdancesociety.org. Also join the HJDS Facebook group for latest updates.

Posted by: David Wiley on August 7, 2015