Hands Four Contra Dance with Contrapasso and Sarah VanNorstrand — Saturday, Dec. 5, 8-11 pm at Beverly J. Martin School, 302 W. Buffalo St., Ithaca
Even if winter blows into town by December, here’s an event to warm you: energetic caller Sarah VanNorstrand, who danced here while she was at Ithaca College and now calls with her husband’s band, Great Bear Trio, teams with Contrapasso, the Ithaca-based, mellifluous fiddle/piano duo of Tim Ball and Roberta Truscello. Contrapasso is in high demand for spirited contra and English country dances. Both Tim and Roberta are classically trained, with a passion for traditional dance, great playfulness, versatility, and soul. Tim Ball graduated with a major in music from Ithaca College, where he played in chamber and jazz ensembles and the symphony orchestra. In the contra world, he has pooled his talents with a growing roster of fine musicians including Roberta Truscello, David Kaynor, Jane Knoeck, Tom Hodgson, Tunescape, and the O’Shanigans. Tim’s fiddle swoops in graceful, imaginative improvisation and he has penned some remarkable tunes. These days, he doesn’t seem to get much time off between gigs! Roberta Truscello began music lessons at age five and studied piano and cello into her teens, but then got the dance bug. Since 1993, she has played for English country and contras in NJ, PA, MA, and NY and has founded a host of bands, including The Free Radicals, Drosophila’s Maggot, and Lost in Austen. She also sings and plays accordion for The Grateful Deadlines in D.C., a rock band of research administrators. With Contrapasso, the timing is perfect and the sound sublime.
Newcomers are always welcome to contra dances; the steps are simple and each dance is quickly taught. No need to bring a partner, but please bring clean, soft-soled shoes. Admission $8 for members of Hands Four Dancers of Ithaca, $10 for non-members. Info: 607-539-3174 or http://hands4dancers.org. Many dancers may also wish to support the benefit concert for Shaleshock; both events were booked for the same time before we realized the overlap. The two venues are only a few blocks apart, so it’s possible to participate in both.