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Country Dance*New York to Feature Vermont's Clayfoot Strutters and Caller George Marshall, 10/20

Country Dance*New York will present a Sunday Afternoon Contra Dance on October 20, from 2:00 pm to 5:30 pm at P.S. 199 (270 West 70th Street, between Amsterdam Avenue and West End Avenue, Manhattan). No previous experience is required and it is not necessary to come with a partner. From 1:30 pm to 2:00 pm there is a beginners' workshop, and the caller walks everyone through the patterns of each dance. Dynamic and spirited music will be performed by the popular Vermont dance band, Clayfoot Strutters. The renowned caller George Marshall will lead the proceedings.

The Clayfoot Strutters brings together six talented and exciting musicians from Vermont for a high energy, contra dance fusion experience. They are a self-styled New England-based contra dance jam band specializing in fusing the modes and melodies of traditional American immigrant music, progressive harmonies from pop and modal jazz, and hot dance floor rhythms from Afropop, swing, Latin, cajun, and zydeco worlds. As composers, arrangers and songwriters they are also actively contributing new repertoire to this emerging style. The band is comprised of Peter Davis, clarinet, sax, piano, and guitar; Pete Sutherland, fiddle; Jeremiah McLane, accordion; Lee Blackwell, guitar and drums; Mark Roberts, banjo and flute; and Harry Aceto, bass. The band has a recent CD, Going Elsewhere available for sale. The highly regarded caller, dance teacher, and musician, George Marshall's specialty is teaching and calling the New England-style contra dances he has collected throughout the country. He is known for his knack of matching music to dance and for his smooth, concise teaching and presentation. Also a talented musician, he plays concertina and bodhran, and has recorded on eight albums. Much of the time he can be found calling/playing with the bands, Wild Asparagus and Swallowtail.

Contra dancing is having a renaissance around the country, thanks to a thriving youth scene; high energy, acoustic music; and joyful, fast-paced, aerobic dancing. There is plenty of swinging your partner and lots of fun, flirting and eye contact. Contra dancing started in New England in the 1700s, but the modern version is a far cry from the Virginia Reel-type dancing done in schools years ago. The current dancing is done in long lines of dancers facing their partners and moving briskly in patterns to live music, sometimes changing partners.

General Information: Admission is $17 general public, and $14 for full-time students with ID. First timers get a free pass to use to come another time. For more information visit the Country Dance*New York website, or call The Dancephone at 212.459.4080. Attendees are asked to bring a separate pair of clean, soft-soled shoes for dancing.

Traveling to P.S. 199 via subway: Take the 1, 2 or 3 train to the 72nd Street stop.

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Bary

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