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The Lake City VIRTUAL Contra Dance invites the dance community to join stay-at-home dances on Thursday nights! (WEDNESDAY on 12/23/20)

In-hall dances have been cancelled until further notice in accordance with the efforts to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Many of us are really missing dancing; unfortunately, we expect it will be a long time before group dancing can resume. Virtual dances with live-streamed musicians and callers is the next best thing - so let's keep dancing together - safely.

Stay-at-home dances means that most of us will be either dancing solo or with a partner (some with multiple housemates might be able to have a small set). Of course virtual dancing isn't the same as being in each other's arms, but for many of us, it lifts our spirits, helps us feel connected, and keeps our dancing gyroscopes tuned up!

We are lucky to have so many fine musicians & callers who are willing and able to play/call safely for us, with the right equipment and tech support for really good-quality digital audio. (We're also lucky to have had great mentoring from the Bay Area folks who have been hosting wonderful waltz events, concerts, dances, and music workshops online.)

A new meeting ID and passcode is posted the weekend before each of our Thursday night virtual contra dances. Everyone keeps their mics muted and unmutes ONLY for speaking during socializing time; during the dancing, everyone's mics except for the musicians and caller stay muted. Links are provided for donations, which all go directly to the musicians, callers, and sound techs. The musicians also give the names of the tunes, and the keys they are playing in, before each dance for anyone wanting to play along at home (muted, of course). Pass the word on to others you know - the walls of our virtual dance hall are extremely elastic! For more information call 206-525-0932, or email

Australia's "Canberra Contra Club" & caller Jeanette Mill fly 7,900 miles over the electronic airwaves to frolic with us LIVE in Seattle (and wherever you're at) this Thursday night!!! The six friends play exciting, high-energy music in the land where it's now summertime: Rob Mahony, David Gilks, & Sarah Davies on fiddles, Greg Wilson on box, Jackie Luke on dulcimer & piano, and Andrew Back on piano. It's an instant contra vacation!

Socializing starts at 7 pm PST, music & dancing is from 7:25 to 8:40, with more socializing afterward till 9 pm.  

Please donate what you can!

NOTE: we have our dance on Wednesday, Dec 23 (instead of Thurs Dec 24).

Here is the login:

Meeting ID: 823 7383 9942
Passcode: TR8FMoz!

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Meeting ID: 823 7383 9942
Passcode: 42992392

Attention musicians/callers/artists, a message from Northwest Folklife Festival: It’s that time of year again! As we continue to evaluate what form the 50th annual Northwest Folklife Festival will take—whether in-person or virtual—we ask you to let us know your interest by filling out this short interest form in lieu of a full application. Please fill out the form by December 1. A paper application is also available upon request. Please email us at for questions.


Schedule of past, current, and upcoming musicians and callers for Lake City Virtual Contra Dances:

May 14-WB Reid & Bonnie Zahnow with caller Michael Karcher (donate to them at

May 21-"Dear Crow" (Brian Lindsay of "Countercurrent" & Penka Jane Culevski of "Try-Works") with caller Noah Grunzweig (Portland) (donate to them at or contact at

May 28-Audrey Knuth & Ben Jaber (CA Bay Area) with caller Isaac Banner (donate to them at OR Venmo @Audrey-Knuth OR by check to 2716 Landis Street, San Diego CA 92104)

June 4-"Countercurrent" (Alex Sturbaum & Brian Lindsay) with caller Susan Michaels (donate to them at or by check to 2126 N 86th St, Seattle, 98103.)

June 11-Sande Gillette, Alan Roberts, & Kern Gillette (of "Monday Night Live") with caller Seth Tepfer (Atlanta GA); (donations to CDSS will be matched via or send a check directly to CDSS, 116 Pleasant St, Suite 345, Easthampton MA 01027-2759)

June 18-"Eloise & Co." (Rachel Bell & Becky Tracy - Brattleboro, VT); Seth Tepfer (Atlanta, GA) caller (donate to them at or or send a check to Rachel Bell, 15 Reynolds Dr. Apt 1, Brattleboro VT 05301)

June 25-Dante & Eros Faulk (of "The Reds") - Olympia WA; Claire Takemori (CA) caller (donate to them at or venmo@DanteFaulk or send a check to Dante Faulk, 3105 Glen Ayre Lane NW, Olympia WA 98502)

July 2-"Pete's Posse" (Pete Sutherland, Oliver Scanlon, & Tristan Henderson - VT); Adam Carlson caller (donate to them at or send a check made out to Pete's Posse, 2 Pavilion Ave, South Burlington VT 05403)

July 9-Ryan McKasson & Jeff Spero (of "The Syncopaths") - WA & CA; Jacqui Grennan (CA) caller (donate to them at or Venmo@Jeffrey-Spero-2 or send a check to: Jeffrey Spero, 4101 Charles Avenue, Culver City, CA 90232)

July 16-Betsy Branch & Mark Douglass; William Watson caller (all Portland, OR); (donate to them at venmo@Betsy-Branch-2 or, or send a check to Betsy Branch, 2237 SE Ash St, Portland OR 97214)

July 23-George Paul & Rob Zisette (NC); Michael Karcher caller (donate to them at or venmo@georgepaulmusic or send a check to George Paul, 2812 Messer Rd, Valdese, NC 28690 New CD is available at!

July 30-"The Whoots" (Shira Kammen & Jim Oakden - SF Bay Area, CA - fiddle & piano +); Eric Black (CA) caller (donate to them at or send a check to Shira Kammen, 5607 Macdonald Avenue, El Cerrito CA 94530

Aug 6-Rich Sobel (of "The Sybaritic String Band") & Janet Rozanski - fiddle & piano (Vancouver BC); Rich Goss (Portland OR) caller (donate to them at or send a check to Rich Sobel, 1027 Gatensbury Rd, Port Moody, BC, Canada V3H 2P3)

Aug 13-Rodney Miller (CA) & friends; Gaye Fifer (Pittsburgh, PA) caller (donate to them at or send a check to Rodney Miller, 189 Argentina Flag Way, Sonoma, CA 95476) This dance was dedicated to the memory of Mark Buettner, avid dancer and faithful volunteer, who passed suddenly on Aug 7. His obituary is at and a video compilation of clips from the Lake City Contra is at

Aug 20-Laurie Andres & WB Reid (of "The Rhythm Rollers") - accordion, guitar, banjo-guitar; Suzanne Girardot caller (donate to them at or, or send a check to WB Reid, 3030 S Bradford St., Seattle WA 98108)

Aug 27-"Gròóvåtrøñ": Grace Hendrickson-Jones flute, Jonathan Werk oboe, Everest Witman & Samuel Royer-Legault tenor banjo & guitar (Montreal); Drew Delaware (Toronto) caller (donate to them at at or send a check to Everest Witman, 11 Blakeslee Street, Brattleboro, VT 05301)

Sept 3-"Peregrine Road" (Rachel Bell & Karen Axelrod - VT - accordion & piano; Diane Silver (NC) caller (donate to them at, or contact Rachel at for the mailing address for checks.

Sept 10-Special benefit dance for Jeremiah McLane: "Pachelbel's Bazooka" (Dave Bartley, Claude Ginsburg, Anita Anderson); Wendy Graham (CO) caller; donate at or by check to McLane Recovery Fund, United Church of Strafford Deacons, PO Box 124, Strafford VT 05072

Sept 17-"Riptide" (Alden Robinson fiddle, Glen Loper mandolin, Owen Marshall guitar - Maine); Janine Smith (MD) caller; donate to them at or send a check to Glen Loper, 49 Brackett St, Apt 2, Portland, ME 04102
Sept 24-"Dear Crow" (Brian Lindsay of "Countercurrent" & Penka Jane Culevski of "Try-Works"); Tarka Ayres (Portland, OR) caller; donate to them at

Oct 1-Pete Sutherland & Oliver Scanlon (of "Pete's Posse") - VT; Eric Curl caller; donate to them at or send a check to Pete's Posse, 2 Pavilion Ave, South Burlington VT 05403.

Oct 8-Jesse Partridge & Alex Sturbaum; Cis Hinkle (Atlanta, GA) caller; donate to them at or send a check to: Alex Sturbaum, 2106 Brown St. SE, Olympia, WA, 98501.

Oct 15-Cedar Stanistreet & Donal Sheets (of "Cloud 10") - VT & CT; Kelsey Hartman (CA) caller; donate to them at or send a check to Cedar Stanistreet, 130 Belmont Ave, Brattleboro, VT 05301.

Oct 22-Glen Loper & Bethany Waickman - Maine (of "Stomp Rocket") on mandolin, banjo, guitar, & piano ; Mary Wesley (VT) caller; donate to them at  or send a check to Bethany Waickman, 49 Brackett St, Apt 2, Portland, ME 04102.

Oct 29-Audrey Knuth & Amy Englesberg (of "Free Raisins" & "Wake up Robin"); Susan Petrick (CA) caller; donate to them at or send a check to Audrey Knuth, 2716 Landis Street, San Diego CA 92104.

Nov 5-"STEAM!" (Alice Boyle, David Firestine, Robert Rosenberg, Claire Zucker - fiddle, mandolin, bouzouki, guitar, banjo, concertina, bodhran - AZ & CO) ; Cis Hinkle (Atlanta, GA) caller; donate to them at or send a check to Robert Rosenberg, 2234 Rainbow Ridge Road, Tucson, AZ 85745.

Nov 12-Pajama party with "Pete's Posse" (Pete Sutherland, Oliver Scanlon, & Tristan Henderson - VT); Jacqui Grennan (CA) caller; donate to them at or send a check to Pete's Posse, 2 Pavilion Ave, South Burlington VT 05403.

Nov 19-Casey Murray & Molly Tucker (fiddle, guitar, banjo, cello - Boston, MA) ; Drew Delaware (Toronto) caller; donate to them at or Venmo @caseymurraymusic; the mailing address for checks will be posted at the event.

WED Nov 25- Special Thanksgiving Eve Dance with Sande Gillette & Alan Roberts (of "Monday Night Live"); Seth Tepfer (Atlanta) caller; donate what you can - the musicians and caller will contribute their shares to Camp Sealth, home of the Northwest New Years Camp (Camp Sealth is super grateful for all that we can do). Send donations to, or send a check directly (with memo NWNYC Lake City Dance 11/25) to Camp Fire Central Puget Sound, 2414 SW Andover St, Suite D-105, Seattle WA 98106. (If you donate directly to Camp Sealth, you should get a receipt that you can use for charitable contributions on taxes.)

Dec 3-"Audacious": Larry Unger (Boston, MA) & Audrey Knuth (San Diego, CA); Claire Takemori (CA) caller; donate to them at or Venmo@Audrey-Knuth or send a check to Audrey Knuth, 2716 Landis Street, San Diego CA 92104.

Dec 10-from Australia! "Canberra Contra Club" (Rob Mahony, David Gilks, & Sarah Davies - fiddles, Greg Wilson - box, Jackie Luke - dulcimer & piano, & Andrew Back - piano); Jeanette Mill caller

Dec 17-"Cosmic Otters" (Jonathan Whitall, Eric Schedler, Meg Dedolph - Chicago, IL & Bloomington, IN - fiddle, accordion, guitar, piano); Katie Zukof caller

WED Dec 23-Klezmer Contra! with Laurie Andres & Carl Shutoff - accordion & clarinet; Wendy Graham (Durango, CO) caller

Dec 31-"Sea-to-Sea" online New Years Eve celebration, across 5 time zones! Contra, English country, BalFolk dancing, concerts, games, FUN! Stay tuned, more info coming! [Our slot is 11 pm to midnight PST: "Dear Crow" (Brian Lindsay & Penka Jane Culevski); Michael Karcher caller]

Jan 7, 2021-EmmaLee Holmes-Hicks (Providence RI) & Peter Zay (W. MA) - fiddle, cello, guitar ; Tarka Ayres (Portland OR) caller

Jan 14-Cedar Stanistreet (VT) & Max Newman (Boston) - fiddle & guitar; Perry Shafran (WA, DC) caller

Jan 21-"Box & String" (Bill Quern, Sarah Gowen, & Laura Alexander - Philadelphia, PA - mandolin, banjo, melodeon, fiddle, guitar, cello) ; Janine Smith (WA DC) caller

Jan 28-"Squirrel Butter" (Charmaine Slaven & Charlie Beck - fiddle, banjo, guitar); Suzanne Girardot caller

Feb 4-Rodney Miller & Rebecca King (CA) - fiddle & piano; Gaye Fifer (PA) caller Tonight we'll feature "hot roasted chestnuts" (classic dances & tunes) along with delicious new compositions!

Feb 11-Kira Ott & Jeff Spero (S. CA- fiddle & keyboard); Mary Wesley (VT) caller

Feb 18-"Terpsichore" (Elke Baker, Liz Donaldson, Alex Lacquement - WA DC - fiddle, piano, bass) ; Brad Foster (MA) caller

Here are some hints for contra dancing with imaginary friends ("ghosts"), especially if you are dancing solo:

In your room, decide where is up the hall (usually where the music is) and across the set.

If you have difficulty following the calls without other people there, relax - you can still do the moves, and not worry where in the imaginary set you end up. Miss a move - so what? You won't throw anyone else off.

You may get dizzy while "swinging". Hold your arms up in imaginary ballroom position, and focus on your hand (in place of a partner's face).

To keep track of which role you are in (if that matters to you), end a (virtual) swing holding the (virtual) hand of the (virtual) person you (virtually) swung with.

If there is a couple on the screen walking through the dance, it is easier if you align yourself with the person dancing the same role as yourself.

You can "pin" another dancer, if you are using a tablet or mobile phone it will feel like you are dancing with them.

Looking forward to seeing you! Virtual hugs, and stay well - Sherry

Continue to take precautions, and check for health updates: "Real" dances, bands and callers will be rescheduled as soon as possible. Please help the musicians by contributing what you can to the "tip jar" on the virtual dances, and purchasing their recordings directly from them or at online sites like cdbaby and band camp. Be safe, stay healthy.

Check out the Lake City Contra Dance channel on YouTube!

Contradance role terms have settled in as "LARKS & ROBINS" (as part of the evolution from "gents & ladies" and "larks & ravens"). For more info please read Larks & Ravens - open letter to Lake City Contra Dancers.

Until March 5, 2020 our "real" dances were every Thursday night at the
Seattle Latvian Center

11710 3rd Ave NE

Free introductory workshop at 7:00pm

Dance 7:30 pm till 10:30 pm

Admission $8 - 14, kids & first-time contradancers free


Please respect the health needs of many dancers and come fragrance-free.
For more information call 206-525-0932, or email

Contra Dance - Code of Conduct and Contra Dance - Safety & Consent Agreement


Contra (or Old-Time Country) Dances feature dynamic LIVE music, energetic dancing, friendly camaraderie, and a strong sense of community. Contra/square dancing is great fun and great exercise - for all ages!!!

Here are some helpful hints and guidelines:

For Everyone:

∗ Contra dancing is traditional American folk dancing, derived from English and French country dancing. Couples stand in long lines. The caller “walks through” a pattern of figures before each dance begins, and prompts the moves as long as the dancers need it. Each couple dances the sequence with another couple, then progresses along the line to repeat it with new couples.

Anyone can ask anyone to dance - it’s “people’s choice”. It is customary (not mandatory!) to change partners for each dance. When invited to dance, it is ok to politely decline. There is no need to feel guilty or to make excuses. If you are turned down for a dance, take it in stride and seek another partner; don't harass anyone who has repeatedly declined to dance with you.

∗ Callers use the terms "larks & robins" (traditionally "gents & ladies") to refer to the positions of the people in the dance – in each couple,the "Lark"(traditionally "gent")is on the Left & the "Robin"(traditionally "lady") is on the Right. Unlike other social dances, either person in contra dancing can lead or follow depending on the figure. Just remember your own role label, and dance with whoever is coming towards you in line, regardless of their appearance.

∗ You don’t have to worry about footwork; justwalk smoothly, 1 step per beat of music.

Connecting with each other and with the music is the essence of contra dancing. When dancing with joined hands, keep your elbows bent, pull back slightly, just enough to keep an equal counterbalance – keep your fingers relaxed, don't squeeze hands or twist wrists.

Eye contact is another way we connect. Looking at each other will keep you from getting too dizzy – and it’s fun!!! If you're uncomfortable looking deeply into someone's eyes, you can look at their forehead, chin, ear…..

∗ In contra dancing, each figure fits with a musical phrase. It’s very satisfying to time each move so you can be ready to start the next in sync with the music, and with the other dancers!

∗ Learn the basics before trying to add fancy flourishes. Be respectful of each other’s needs and preferences: how fast to swing, adding extra twirls, how boldly to flirt…or not…

It's ok to make mistakes – no one is keeping score! People are friendly & everyone helps each other out. If you miss a figure, don’t worry about it - skip it and go on to the next.

Dancing in a way that hurts or disregards the safety or comfort of other dancers is NOT acceptable!!! If someone does something that hurts or makes you uncomfortable, let them know - be clear, direct, and specific – subtle hints are often ineffective. If you feel awkward or unsure about your dancing or social interactions – ASK!! Callers, dance coordinators, and many experienced dancers are willing and able to help.

∗ At the end of each dance remember to thank your partner and the band! Show your appreciation for the talent, skill, and dedication of our fabulous musicians & callers – applaud heartily!!!

For Experienced Dancers:

Please welcome newcomers - ask them to dance, and help them have a fun, satisfying dance experience! Two of you can approach new couples and offer to be their partners, but don't insist that they split up. Trust that their "neighbors" in the line will help.

∗ Give your full attention when the caller is teaching, thereby setting a good example for newcomers (even if you thoroughly know the dance).

∗ Help newer dancers to face the right direction, and keep verbal instructions to an absolute minimum. Point, gesture, tap on the shoulder, use other signals, or call their name. It is hard for newer dancers to listen to the caller, you, other dancers, and the music all at the same time.

Be considerate - refrain from extra twirls & spins, and high-speed swings with less experienced dancers. These are disorienting, slowing the learning process for your partner and for other newcomers for whom you are a role model.

∗ When helping other dancers, relax – be encouraging, and keep it light! It’s all about shared enjoyment, not perfection. Newcomers will learn faster and dance better when they are not anxious about their performance.

Be sociable and resist the urge to “book ahead”. Go to the sidelines & ask those sitting out if they would like to dance.

Please read footprints for a brief history of this dance series.

Last modified 12/05/20.