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Emerald City Contra Dance

with the Seattle Folklore Society present

Contra dancing every Friday at the

Phinney Neighborhood Center

6532 Phinney Avenue North, Seattle (98103)

in the "Community Hall" (the brick building near the lower parking lot)

Dance from 7:30pm to 10:00pm, beginner's workshop at 7:00

Admission prices:
$9 general admission
$8 SFS members
$8 PNA members
$8 seniors
$5 for full-time students
Free for people under the age of 16.
Cash or check only. (One of these days, we might accept credit & debit cards - but not yet).

First time contra dancers get a coupon for free admission to their next dance.
Coupon redemption limited to first five coupons on any single night.

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Please help the PNA achieve their sustainability goals. Consider carpooling, walking, biking, or riding the bus to the dance. If you drive, please park in the PNA parking lots.

All dances taught. No partner necessary.
Light, comfortable clothing recommended.

Our hall has strict capacity limits. We occasionally need to limit entry due to high attendance.

Bands and callers, the 2020 booking form is now up.
Information for bands and callers.
Information for dancers.
See past caller set lists.

For information not already posted here: 206-440-9839 or

Enough of the suggestions, disclaimers, and notifications. Here is what you really want to know...

Schedule of bands and callers:

  • January 24 - The Electrodes (Joe Micheals - guitar; Marcy Kubbs - piano; Joe Bowbeer - electric fiddle). A positive charge, an insatiable jig: sparks will fly. Dance to high-energy Celtic, Appalachian and original music. Michael Karcher calls (larks & robins). Also, it's Michael's birthday, so come celebrate with him!
  • January 31 - The Try-Works are Alex Sturbaum (guitar, feet) and Penka Jane Culevski (fiddle). Their combination of fiery Celtic and old-time melodies and a powerhouse rhythm section is guaranteed to get you moving. Tarka Ayres will use positional calling (mostly no role terms), and the occasional ladies & gents.
  • February 7 - Merriweather: Clyde Curley, fiddle; Mike Haberman, mandolin; Sam Vogt, guitar; Kris Parker, bass. Old-time classics with a Celtic twist. Rich Goss calls (larks & robins).
  • February 14 - The Luddite Ramblers are Laurel Stone (fiddle), Craig Shaw (flute, fife, whistle) and Jay Finkelstein (guitar). The band weaves infectious dance rhythm, enchanting melody, and rich harmony, with fiddle, flute and guitar blending to form a single propulsive and lyrical dance instrument. Joe Micheals calls (ladies & gents).
  • February 21 - Yes, The Euphemists have fiddle and keyboard (Alan Snyder and Dave Goldman), whistle (Norman Farrell), and guitar (Jerry Nelson). Yes, they play familiar Celtic, Québécois, and old-time tunes. But they also have horns! With Norman and Jerry on saxophone and clarinet and Kaye Blesener on trombone, high energy is the result! You'll hear lively ragtime era tunes, hints of that big band sound when you least expect it, horn riffs playing off the fiddle, and old-time tunes being introduced to brass - it's a marriage made in heaven. Jesse Partridge calls (larks & robins).
  • February 28 - Hands4 is Fran Tewksbury (flute, whistle, percussion), Keith Moe (fiddle, mandolin), Rich Goss (guitar & percussion), and Carl Thor (piano). They play mostly original tunes along with some lesser-heard modern and traditional tunes. Enjoy a unique blend of tunes that is definitely not your usual contra dance music. Check them out here. Gwen Rousseau calls (larks & robins).
  • March 6 - Lost Pass - Lost Pass is an exciting new band that brings together three of the Northwest’s finest young trad musicians: Alex Sturbaum (Seattle) on button accordion and foot percussion, River Scheuerell (Olympia) on fiddle, and Sam Vogt (Portland) on guitar. With driving tunes, smooth grooves, and dynamic interplay, Lost Pass is bringing a wave of fresh folk energy to a dance floor near you. Isaac Banner calls (larks & robins).
  • March 13 - Contra Sutra is Brandon Vance on fiddle, Marni Rachmiel on flute & saxophone, and Dave Bartley on guitar & feet. Lindsey Dono calls (larks & robins).
  • March 20 - The Mossbacks - Come dance to young, multi-instrumentalists Carter Schafer and Oliver Knapfus trading off on fiddle, guitar, mando, banjo & piano, and Sam Zito laying down solid stand-up bass, with their mentor, Stuart Williams on fiddle. Sherry Nevins calls (larks and robins).
  • March 27 - Formed a decade ago, Northern Contraband consists of Steve Blum-Anderson (fiddle), Mark Danielson (concertina, whistle, fiddle), Eileen Sterns (mandolin, banjo, accordion, harp), Greg Sherman (bass), and Michael Hobart (guitar), who collectively total over 150 years of experience playing for contra dances. The band derives its core sound from the “northern” heritage of fiddle music – French Canadian, Métis, New England, Cape Breton, Celtic, and the like. To this core the bands adds numerous contemporary compositions, including many original tunes from band members, and sprinkles in some old-time, barn-burning square dance numbers for good measure. Its pulsating melodies and rhythmic drive promise to send dancers home sated from foot-stomping, dervish-like, and joyfully playful, high-energy evenings. Suzanne Girardot calls (ladies & gents).
  • April 3 - Continental Drift features Eileen Kalfass (Syracuse, NY) on fiddle, Eric Anderson (Seattle, WA) on piano, and Terry Wergeland (Seattle, WA) on accordion. Their energy and rhythm are contagious and really keep feet moving on the dance floor!  Music played for dancers by dancers with an exciting repertoire of tunes from New England, Scotland, Ireland, Quebec, Nova Scotia and beyond, Continental Drift really has the knack for playing just the right tunes for a contra dance. Wendy Graham (Durango, CO) uses positional calling (mostly no role terms), and the occasional larks & robins. Also it's Eric's birthday, come celebrate with him!
  • April 10 - Dance to great tunes played superbly by Eileen Kalfass, Marni Rachmiel, Dave Bartley, and Anita Anderson. Sonya Kaufman calls (larks & robins)
  • April 17 - Come dance to great tunes played at a lively pace with The Contraries, Sande Gillette - fiddle, Olga Hauptman - fiddle, Mary Varnum - fiddle, Will Brown - guitar, Joe Michaels - bass, and Marcy Kubbs - piano. Eric Curl calls.
  • April 24 - Wink at the Moon is Stuart Williams (fiddle/guitar), Sarah Comer (fiddle/piano), and Terry Wergeland (piano/accordion). The lyrical twin fiddling of Stuart and Sarah mixes with Terry's rhythmically solid and playful piano accompaniment. Craig Wolfe calls (larks & robins).
  • May 1 - Down East, Out West is Jenny Van West (Portland, ME) on fiddle, Stuart Kenney (Greenfield, MA) on bass and banjo, and Ness Smith-Savedoff (Portland, ME) on percussion.
  • May 8 - Pachelbel’s Bazooka - Claude Ginsburg on fiddle, Dave Bartley on guitar and mandolin, Terry Wergeland on Accordion, and Anita Anderson on piano. The caller will be Greg Frock from Baltimore, MD.
  • May 15 - Cedar and the Waxwings - What happens when you put Brattleboro, VT's Cedar Stanistreet (fiddle) with our own Waxwings (Jesse Partridge on fiddle, Alex Sturbaum on guitar and accordion, and Amy Englesberg on piano and accordion)? You get driving rhythms and toe-tapping melodies. Calling by Yoyo Zhou from the SF Bay area (larks and robins)
  • May 22 - No dance at Phinney. See you at Folklife
  • May 29 - End Effects - Brandon Vance (fiddle), Marni Rachmiel (sax, flute), and Anita Anderson (piano) with Susan Petrick calling.

Larks, robins, ravens, ladies, gents, etc...

As people, culture, and expectations change, so does language... or maybe it's the other way around. The contra community at Phinney evolves, and the terms that the callers use evolve as well. At least a month in advance, you'll find the caller's terminology here. Look for a phase such as "The caller will use the terms larks & robins..." in the schedule. Starting in 2020, we'll let the callers choose whatever terminology they prefer.
Last modified 01/27/20.