Community dances have been an American tradition for generations, providing social gatherings, music, and physical activity. Locally, Shepherdstown Music and Dance (SMAD) has organized a monthly contra dance for over 40 years. SMAD also organizes the town’s May Day celebration and Morris dancers each spring, along with concerts and workshops throughout the year. The group is currently seeking new members to step up and keep this tradition alive.
According to Joanie Blanton, contra dancing is “all about connection. In the course of a contra dance, participants connect and interact with every other dancer on the floor, which makes it really special and unique in our online media driven society. While the dances are lively, most of the moves are done in an easy (if somewhat vigorous) walking step. We invite anyone to participate, regardless of experience — the caller is there to teach the dancers and provide instructions throughout the dance.” She notes that the whole evening creates its own momentum, as dancers just keep moving and interacting with every other dancer on the floor, which makes it welcoming for all, regardless of whether you come as a single, a couple, or a larger group.
SMAD’s next event will be a Celtic Christmas concert (not a dance) featuring musicians KA/PO, Eileen Estes and Andrea Hoag performing a program of traditional and contemporary airs, jigs, and reels from Ireland, Scotland, Isle of Man, and Brittany. Saturday, Dec 16, 7:30 at the Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church (100 West Washington St). Tickets are $25 ($22 seniors, $15 students), cash/check at the door.
More information online at their website (SMAD.us) and Facebook page.By Staff Contributor