Community Contradance taking place on Sunday!

Tioga County Contradance will hold a community contradance at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, located at 117 Main St. in Owego, from 2-5 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 17. The public is invited, and admission is $5 at the door.

The New England Style Contradance will feature live old-time string band music by The Acme Footscorchers. All dances will be taught and called by caller Casey Carr. Beginners, singles and families are all welcome. Those new to contradancing should arrive by 2 p.m. Dancers should have clean soft soled shoes, and bring a water bottle.

The contradance tradition in Central New York, though almost lost during the Big Band dance era, now enjoys a thriving resurgence. Upstate New York is at the crossroads of music and dance traditions. Through the year they dance to old-time string band music from Appalachia, a synthesis of Irish and West African traditions; Nova Scotia fiddle and piano duos from Canada; English folk music through the New England tradition; and Swedish folk music popular in Western New York.

Community Contradance taking place on Sunday!

Pictured are two of the Contradance band’s members, Leah Grady and Jason Zorn, an Owego native.

The Acme Footscorchers include fine musicians who know the contradance tradition.  They play Southern-style old-time stringband music with an interesting repertoire of high-energy tunes from sources both venerable and au courant. Musicians include Michelle Delco (banjo); Peter Fraissinet (fiddle, banjo); Leah Grady (bass); David Jones (guitar); and Jason Zorn (fiddle, bass). Jason is an Owego native son, and the organizers are proud to welcome him back home.

Many of these long time musicians have played with a number of regional bands in the folk and old-time tradition. The list includes Dovetail Stringband, Slabtown Stringband, The Flywheels, Thrill Dogs, and Small Tattoo.

Tioga County Contradance organizer Aleta Yarrow stated, “We met fiddler Peter Frassinet while scouting musicians at the Ithaca PorchFest. We are thrilled to finally get to dance to The Acme Footscorchers. It’s our tradition to have an old-time stringband in December. These musicians will not disappoint.”

Casey Carr is an experienced caller known for her patient instruction. She specializes in dances in which each figure flows easily and gracefully into the next.

“I love calling to all crowds,” she said. 

This project is made possible with funds from the Statewide Community Regrant Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature and administered regionally by The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes.

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