Story published: 12-17-2013 • Print ArticleE-mail Story to a Friend

Merry contra dancers plan holiday jig

The Historic Jonesborough Dance Society and the Jolly Ole Elf will hold a dance extravaganza beginning at 5 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 21, at the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center, 117 Boone St.

The Asheville band, “Boom Chuck,” will perform with Vicki Herndon calling the dance. Admission is $7 each, $5 for HJDS members and $5 for full-time students.

A class for newcomer contra dancers will run from 7-7:30 p.m.

The regular dance will be held from 7:30-10:30 p.m. Dancers are invited to bring their favorite holiday desserts for the 9 p.m. intermission.

A family dance will be held from 5-6 p.m. where parents and children will enjoy simple and fun dances while members of Boom Chuck play tunes and Laurie Fisher leads the dance.

Dancers are invited to waltz from 6-7 p.m. to Boom Chuck tunes.

“We do country dance waltz compared to ballroom style waltz,” said David Wiley, event organizer. According to Wiley, when people say “I can’t waltz,” they’re probably thinking back to their ballroom dancing days. But a ballroom waltz is quite a different animal from a country dance waltz.

For one thing, it’s a lot slower, he said. For another, you spend almost the whole time in ballroom position. But the crucial difference is that a ballroom waltz is made up of three steps. The man steps forward, putting his right leg between his partner’s legs, then he takes his left leg forward and to the side, then he closes right to left. In the next bar, he steps backward on his left, and it’s the lady’s turn to step forward on the right.

The folk waltz is sometimes described as a “one-step waltz,” Wiley said. You still do three steps: right, left, right — but the second and third are pretty much on the spot. The first step is where you do most of the travelling. It really isn’t forward-side-together; it’s step-two-three, step-two-three.

“Turn your shoulders and your feet will follow — it sounds silly, but it’s absolutely true,” Wiley said.

HJDS is planning a series of waltz workshops in the next few months to teach country waltz.

The contra dance will include several historic dances that have a Christmas theme including “Holiday Jig” by Ted Sanella and “Christmas Eve Quadrille” by Tom Hinds. Boom Chuck also has adapted several Christmas Carols for contra dance.

Vicki Herndon has been a dancer since 1997, when she accidentally came across contra dancing, and has been a dance lover since. She began calling in 2000, and have called all around the southeast. Wedding dances in open fields, and dances with kids are all part of the diversity she represents and loves.

Herndon is an active part of the Chattanooga dance community.

“Keeping my home group growing and strong has become very important to me over the years,” she said. “Welcoming newcomers, and giving them confidence is my specialty. Dancers must have this to return to your dance and thrive.”

For more information on Saturday’s dance or any upcoming events, please call David Wiley at 534-8879 or visit www.historicjonesboroughdancesociety.