What We Believe
Your testimonies on the importance of dance, music and song in your life. Submit your own story here.
What We Believe: Robin Gustafson
I believe in country, dance, song, and society.
Country: I believe that the “country” in our name refers to something that originates in the country (any country), rather than in the town or the city. A country style is a style without adornment; it is a simple style and is affordable to anyone who lives nearby. “Country” style is usually not authored, but grows organically from deep roots and changes over time. “Country” also refers to events that show up locally, in your very own neighborhood. A country event is a local, non-professional informally participatory event, accessible to anyone who lives nearby.
What We Believe: Craig Meltzner
I believe participatory dance and song is a cure for shyness.
Nearly one of two Americans claims to be shy. I was a shy adolescent, particularly in social settings. During high school I never dated nor attended a school dance. I couldn’t imagine asking a girl to dance or singing as part of a group.
Fast forward — for the past 25 years, I’ve been an avid contra and English Country dancer. Now it’s the easiest thing in the world to walk up to a stranger and ask if s/he’d like to dance. Most of the time, of course, the answer is “yes”. And if the answer is “sorry”, I don’t feel rejected, I just move on to the next person! I relish joining a song circle at camp get-togethers or workshops. It’s wonderful to feel included and connected, whether at my home dance or someplace new.
What We Believe: Jolaine Jones-Pokorney
Adults at Play
Play is essential. Children know it, but many adults have forgotten. Contra Dancing (and other forms of community dancing) is adults at play. I am loosed from the constraints of acting like an adult and get to revisit the playful abandon of childhood. The contra dance community creates a world where playful clothing, jewelry, make-up are allowed and encouraged, no matter your gender. We create a safe space for physical contact with other people. I get to let my body respond to live music played by dear friends.
What We Believe: Rima Dael
I believe that dance, music and song build family and community.
I grew up dancing, singing and acting. My husband swears he fell in love with me watching me on stage. I trained professionally to be an actress in musical theatre and as a stage manager before becoming a nonprofit administrator and teaching nonprofit management. Many of you know that I grew up overseas in Southeast Asia. I was introduced to square dancing in Thailand, English country dance through cotillion classes in Hong Kong, morris dancing by the Hong Kong Morris Men, contra dancing at summer camp in Interlocken in Hillsboro, New Hampshire, and again in college at Mount Holyoke. I continued to dance, sing and act through college and summer theatre in Western Massachusetts, then continued a professional career in theatre administration. Dance, music and song have always been a part of my life. The arts are an important part of my life and my family’s life.
What We Believe: Robert Cox
I take great joy in the encounter of each participant of the dance. It is so enjoyable to be with those that dance and the musicians that create the musical atmosphere for the dancers. I revel in being with ALL the participants; being in harmony while dancing. It is such fun to experience all the smiles, laughs, winks, surprises, stomps, screams of wild delight, and so much more.
My first exposure to American Folk dancing was at The University of Chicago Folk Festival, where on a whim, I attended a flatfooting workshop with Masha Goodman. Towards the end of the workshop, there was a square dance.
What We Believe: Eileen O'Grady
The Good That Comes From Opportunity