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.

New Dance Floor-Built by Volunteers-Funded by many contributors!

Recent News

Next Event: Nov 21, 2015

“West Virginia Quartet plays for Jonesborough Contra Dance & Food Raiser”

The Historic Jonesborough Dance Society will present a contra dance on Saturday, November 21, 2015 at the Jonesborough Visitors Center. The featured band will be the Contrarians with Dean Snipes calling. Admission to the dance is $7, HJDS Members and students $5. No partner is necessary. All dances are taught by the caller. All dances are smoke and alcohol free. A workshop for beginning contra dancers will be led by the callers at 7:00pm. The dance will run from 7:30-10:30pm with a waltz break at 9:00pm where, once again, Klondike Bars will be served to all who attend.

The Food Raiser, a month-long collection, is being organized to supply non-perishable food stuffs for the Jonesborough Area Ministerial Association Food Bank. Nationwide food bank donations continue to decline. Donor fatigue may be setting in as the economy puts more and more families at risk and unable to feed themselves. “We are asking all dancers and members of the local community to bring non-perishable food stuffs to give to those in need” adds even organizer, David Wiley.

Some truly exceptional talent is coming to Jonesborough! The Contrarians hail from the Charleston, WV area. The Contrarians consist of Paul Epstein on fiddle, John Longwell on mandolin and tenor saxophone, Will Carter on bass and Andy Park on guitar.

From early childhood, John Longwell played piano. Into high school, the tenor saxophone and folk guitar were his preferred musical instruments. In the early 70’s, he moved from Pennsylvania to rural West Virginia near Charleston as part of the “Back to the Land” movement. He and his wife Peggy found themselves in somewhat of an intentional community that was filled with Old Time music devotees. John picked up and mastered the fiddle and mandolin and became part of Paul Epstein’s band “Booger Hole Revival” and later on the “Back Road Travelers”. Professionally, John was involved in every part of the wood working industry after starting the Green Creek Woodshop in the early 80’s where he had a sawmill, custom cabinet and furniture shop and also ran a sizeable farm. He and Peggy raised a son who now lives on their farm with two grandchildren.

Andy Park is a retired public school teacher from who currently lives in Charleston, WV. Now 58 years old, he has played music in bands since he was 16. During the 1990s I was in an alternative band called “Crazy Jane” that had some regional success. They released 3 CDs. After Crazy Jane disbanded, he joined a band named “Voodoo Katz” which is a world beat band. World Beat is a music genre that blends Western pop music or rock music with traditional, folk or world music influences. “Voodoo Katz” released two CDs to date..

Andy joined the Contrarians in September of 2013 playing guitar in addition to some fiddle, mandolin and banjo. He has a solo CD called “True Love” in which he sings original tunes. Andy played at the Acoustic Coffeehouse in Johnson City several years ago.

Will Carter, the Contrarian’s bass player, was raised in Charleston, West Virginia and now lives in a small intentional community in rural Putnam County, West Virginia. He and his wife Martha are the parents of Trace Carter, an avid contra dancer who a second-years student at Warren Wilson College. Will also plays bass in Blue Yonder, an acoustic honky-tonk trio featuring national-award-winning musicians John Lilly (singer-songwriter) and Robert Shafer (guitar), and is the founder of the Appalachian String Band Music Festival, better known as "Clifftop". A Harvard-educated attorney, Will's day job is leading a company he founded that specializes in holistic financial planning.

Band leader, Paul Epstein, is also a retired educator. Paul plays fiddle and does abundant song writing, composing and arranging the tune sets for the band.

Dean Snipes is a favorite caller of the Jonesborough dance community. He is known for his great choice of dances, easy teaching and brings a sense of generosity and great enthusiasm to the dances. Dean also wrote a dance to honor the dance community called “The Jonesborough Way”.

Posted by: David on November 13, 2015