Sixth Fiddlehead Frolic: Moving Violations with Gaye Fifer
Saturday, 27 April 2013, noon to 11 pm
Beverly J. Martin School, 302 W. Buffalo St., Ithaca, NY
Ticket info and schedule http://www.hands4dancers.org/frolic/
Fortunately, March did not present us this year with the 90-degree days that spelled disaster for fruit trees
and messed with ecological timetables last year. Still, spring has been slow in coming, and what better way to celebrate it than with nearly 12 hours of dancing among superb, playful musicians and excellent company from near and far? The Sixth Fiddlehead Frolic, sponsored by member-run Hands Four Dancers of Ithaca, features the renowned Moving Violations from Western Massachusetts (we’ve been trying to bring them to Ithaca for years), polished caller Gayle Fife, from Pittsburg by way of Missouri and Virginia, as well as a regional favorite band, Escape, and beloved local callers.
Beverly Martin School has locations for simultaneous activities appealing to dancers, jammers, singers, silent auction aficionados, plus an instrumental workshop with Moving Violations and a waltz workshop with Gaye Fifer (her specialty). A waltz jam (open band) with makings for sandwiches kicks off the fun at noon; contra dancing, with Moving Violations and Escape alternating, goes from 1 to 6 pm, ending with the wildly popular contra medley (an ever-evolving non-stop dance with different callers taking turns). A potluck supper (6:15-7:15 pm; bring a generous dish to share!) at the school will supply the needed fuel for the evening session of couples dances taught by Gaye Fifer (7:30-8:00 pm) and contra dancing with the Moving Violations (8:00-11:00 pm).
And who are the Moving Violations? They’re veterans of the Fourgone Conclusions, Swallowtail, Big Bandemonium, and other fine dance bands. For many years, MV have been the backbone of the Greenfield and Amherst contra dances, but now they’re really on the move across the country, where dancers can hear for themselves why Ralph Sweet and Tom Hodgson consider them the consummate contra dance musicians. They made a big splash at the Dance Flurry a few years back, where their diversity of styles and pacing, intricate but always rhythmic and lyrical arrangements, and self-described “affectionate abandon and occasional silliness” won the crowd. The Moving Violations are: Van Kaynor (from the fine line of Kaynor musicians), fiddle and limberjack; Ron Grosslein, fiddle and mandolin; Chuck Corman, bass, guitar, and percussion; and Eric Eid-Reiner, piano. With decades of experience in classical and dance music, they have the skill, energy, and imagination to respect and transmute a wide range of music: Celtic, Swedish, Eastern European, Klezmer, original compositions, Vivaldi, and a few Handel Bars. Their spontaneity also encourages dancers to improvise. Listen for the exquisite double fiddles, traveling harmonic lines, and creative percussion that make them stand-outs.
Guest caller Gaye Fifer has been dancing for 30 years, so she knows how to create and teach dances that will delight dancers of all levels. She has a reputation for clear, concise, and friendly calling. Her forte is instruction in “folk waltzes,” which she has taught for years. She’s committed to the preservation of traditional dance and song as a board member of CDSS.
We’re also delighted to bring the decidedly “cool” but accessible Escape to town: Tim Ball on sublime fiddle, Jodi Austin on keys, synthesizer, and cowbell, and Peter Blue on button accordion, nyckelharpa, percussion, and everything else.
This 11-hour festival has something for people of all ages and experience levels. The dance community always welcomes and assists newcomers. Beginners will find that the few simple steps are easy to learn, and that each dance is taught. Please bring (1) clean, soft-soled shoes to protect the dance floor, and (2) food to share at the fabulous potluck supper. You are encouraged to bring your own place settings, but there will be extras on hand.
There’s a discount if you register for both afternoon and evening sessions by 6 April ($20 members/$25 nonmembers). At the door, the cost for both sessions is $24/$30, and for either the afternoon or evening session alone, admission is $12/$15. You can join Hands Four when you register early or at the door, for reduced admission to all HFDI dances. Jammers and singers who do not dance or take a workshop are admitted free. For a full schedule, downloadable registration, and other details, visit www.hands4dancers.org or call 607-539-3174. The web site also provides contact info. for volunteering, for donating to a silent auction, or for out-of-towners who need a place to stay overnight.
Bring on the Fiddleheads!
– Margaret Shepard, for Hands Four Dancers of Ithaca