CDSS ENews Header
JUNE 2013
What Is It About Dance and Music Camp?
Help Send Someone to Camp
It's Not Too Late to Register? (Nope!)
May Day Thanks
Thanks to Three Board Members
Liability Insurance for Group Affiliates
Will You Join Me?
Teeny Says Hello
Congratulations, Annie Fain
New River Train
Outreach Updates
OK People - Time to Represent
Upcoming in the CDSS News
Stay in Touch Online
Shop at the CDSS Store
Email or Members Directory
Not a Member?
Camp Dates
What Is It About Dance and Music Camp?


The days? The nights? The dancing? The singing? The music? Passing on old traditions? Creating new traditions? The community? The fun? Take a look, and tell us what it means to you.

Help Send Someone to Camp
CDSS Camp (photo by Corey Green)
photo by Corey Green


Whether or not you're planning to come to camp this summer, please consider making a gift in support of our wonderful scholarship program. Even a small gift can have a tremendous impact. The mission of our robust and far-reaching scholarship program is to remove barriers to folks attending. So far in 2013 we have awarded just over $31,500 in scholarships, out of a budget of $49,000 - so it's not too late by any means to apply for assistance this year!




It's Not Too Late to Register? (Nope!)

We saved space for you! Okay, Campers' Week is really, really full and a couple others have short waiting lists, but we think there's a week just waiting for you! Forget about "real life" for a while. Reinvigorate yourself with traditional dance, music and song - contras, squares, English country, morris and sword dancing so exciting, with singing and music-making so real and lively, you'll want to take it home with you. Plus there's swimming, canoeing, good meals, laughter, great company and conversations, jam sessions, late night parties, beautiful settings, lots of fresh air, and a general feeling of timelessness and well-being. Now that's real life!

May Day Thanks

Thank you to everyone who sent us photos and comments on May 1st to help us celebrate May Day - it was a blast seeing them come in! Here's a recap of how the day was celebrated by many of our affiliates, members and friends.

Thanks to Three Board Members

Recognition and thanks are due to Jan Elliott, Wendy Graham and Linda Lieberman, who served their recent CDSS Governing Board terms with hard work and humor. You'll be missed, our friends.


Liability Insurance for Group Affiliates

The Group Liability Insurance for 2013-2014 is now available. Details and application forms are online. There are some changes this year. The policy is now $2 million per occurrence, $4 million aggregate. We also are now able to offer insurance to our Canadian groups. Group Affiliate membership is required, but is open to all groups who do some sort of Anglo-American traditional music or dance, as well as to Scottish and Scandinavian music and dance groups. The insurance year runs from May 1 to April 30; prices are not prorated.

And we again are offering Callers Liability Insurance as well.

~ Jeff Martell, CDSS Group Services Manager


Will You Join Me?
photo by Linda Lieberman
Director's Report 


I am a professed nonprofit geek and arts advocate.


What truly gives me joy, and what I am most passionate about in my professional work, is building the capacity of nonprofit organizations to meet their missions. (Geeky, huh?) Capacity building is the "stuff" that you do to bring an organization to the next level of operations, programs and/or finances in order to more effectively and efficiently fulfill its mission.

I am most passionate to do this for arts organizations because I believe in the intrinsic worth that they bring to communities - arts are a basic need like food, safety and education. The arts matter because they build social cohesion and connections between individuals and communities that can be transformative! Our art forms are participatory by design and do this so beautifully. So, while many of you may not be nonprofit geeks or arts lovers in general, I know you all share my passion for the art of participatory dance, music and song.

Throughout the year we will be sharing ways you can take part and share in our 100th anniversary celebration. The Centennial is also an opportunity to share and reaffirm our commitment to our communities: that we will continue to be here to support you. We support you with grants, scholarships, resources, insurance, advice, conferences and as an institution that will carry forward these living traditions.

Your support for what we've already achieved, and your continued support as we move forward to marking our first century, will strengthen and shape CDSS for our next hundred years! I look forward to partnering with you, our friends and members.

The Board and staff are building a solid partnership. My job is to build a framework and gather financial support for additional partnerships with individuals, communities and institutions to ensure our viability. I care passionately about our kind of dance, music and song. I am a passionate advocate for its transformative power and I am invested in ensuring CDSS's legacy. Will you join me in partnership?

My door is always open - [email protected] - and this summer I'll be at Family Week Pinewoods, Ogontz and Timber Ridge. My daughter and I will see you there!

~ Rima Dael, Executive Director


Teeny Says Hello


Hi, my name is Christine Dadmun. Most people call me by my nickname, "Teeny." I'm excited to join the team at CDSS as the Database and Membership Administrator. My main role here is to support all departments to facilitate a smooth running of operations. I would like to invite you to contact me directly if you want to become a new member, renew your membership, update your contact information (snail mail, email, phone), or have general membership questions.


Congratulations, Annie Fain

Musician, artist and dancer Annie Fain Liden-Barralon is the new Music and Dance Coordinator at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, North Carolina. She replaces Bob Dalsemer who has retired after twenty-two years in the position (congratulations to you too, Bob!). Annie, who a number of CDSS summer camp participants know from her book arts classes at our Timber Ridge program (2011) and American Dance Week (2008 and 2010), previously worked at the Folk School as an administrative assistant and as coordinator of the Little/Middle Folk School. See her interview on the Folk School blog.



A sad part of our job at CDSS is hearing about the deaths of friends and folks in the traditional dance, music and song community. Today we recognize the passing of two: Helene Cornelius, Arlington, MA, on May 3, longtime English country dance teacher and CDSS's first Lifetime Contribution recipient (2002), and Michael Blanford, English morris dancer, who died May 7. Obituaries will be included with the online version of the Summer issue of the CDSS News.


New River Train:
Singing Squares from the Collection of Keith Blackmon

cover photo by
Ken Plummer, Sr.
edited by Nils Fredland


The 40 dances in New River Train were carefully selected from a collection of over 300 square dance figures that New York State caller Keith Blackmon assembled and self-published in 2008. The dances were taken from a list of Keith's favorites, with the aim to create a resource that succeeds at historical preservation as well as providing a fresh look at traditional repertoire.

The dances, with music, and many tips and variations provided by editor Nils Fredland are divided into easy and intermediate levels. The easy dances have very accessible figures and lend themselves to an intergenerational crowd. Both easy and intermediate dances are interesting for contra dancers, and perfect for traditional square dance evenings provided your musicians are able to back up singing squares (if not, you can separate the figure from the song and call the dance in patter style with any tune). The timing of the choreography is flexible enough to ensure success for slower moving dancers, as well as offering space to add swings and extra flourishes for those who are interested in a more energetic experience. Above all, the songs in this collection are irresistibly fun to sing!

The book includes a fascinating essay by Jim Kimball, ethnomusicologist at SUNY Geneseo, titled "Old-Time Dancing in Western New York: Keith Blackmon's Collection in Context," a glossary of terms, and basic information for making singing squares part of your calling repertoire. Go forth and call singing squares - it's fun!

~ Pat MacPherson, Director of Education Dept.

Outreach Updates


The Outreach Department has just reached an important anniversary - FIVE years of offering CDSS grant funding to a total of 200 dance, music and song communities! To celebrate this milestone, we'll be publicizing information about these grants in a variety of ways: where they have been offered, what types of events and projects have been supported, and countless ways that CDSS funding has benefitted communities far and wide. For starters, we're creating an online map indicating where our grants have been offered. Here's a link to a larger version of the above map. (If you don't see the pushpins, click on the sentence  "View CDSS Grants at Work" just above the larger map.)

The primary purpose of our current grants program is to provide seed money to support new community-based projects and events in the US and Canada. Another focus is to help the traditions that we know and love continue to grow and thrive. To make this possible, we are especially interested in supporting projects and events that train leaders (callers, musicians, dance organizers, etc.) and/or that encourage youth involvement.

Do you have ideas for an event or project to support YOUR local music, dance and/or song community? If so, CDSS can help in a variety of ways. If you need financial backing, take a look at our online grant application materials. Please note the next deadline is October 1st.

We also have an array of online resources filled with advice about organizing events, forming groups, training leaders, promoting youth involvement and much more. These how-to guides were originally developed by our first Youth Projects Intern, Ethan Hazzard-Watkins and have been expanded by subsequent Interns, Max Newman and Mary Wesley.

Also available on our website is the Make It Happen Manual, a step-by-step planning guide for creating leadership training events. This toolkit includes materials that have been generated by actual events: a weekend workshop for 25 callers, a collaborative "house workshop" for 10 callers and musicians, and a regional leadership conference for 75 callers, musicians and organizers.

If you have further questions about ways CDSS can support you to bring resources to your community, feel free to email or call me at 413-203-5467 x 105.

~ Linda Henry, Outreach Manager   

OK People - Time to Represent (Membership Map)
If you're not a CDSS member, you (and 8,700 other nonmembers on our mailing list) should recently have received a copy of our new membership brochure in the mail.

And, if you're not a CDSS member, you're not representing your region on (see map). Join now, and represent the wealth of dance, music and song in your community! (Or download the printable form and mail it in.)

CDSS was founded in 1915 in New York City. For many years, our activities were largely centered in New York and at Pinewoods Camp in Massachusetts. You can see this history reflected in the concentration of members in the Northeast.

Fast forward nearly 100 years. Today, we are a national capacity-building organization, serving individuals and groups, dancers, musicians, singers, leaders, and organizers, members and nonmembers, across North America - wherever traditional dance, music, and song thrive or struggle to emerge. Three hundred Group Affiliates in almost every state and province use CDSS services such as liability insurance and tax exemption. Our grants, scholarships and conferences serve communities in every corner of the US and Canada - including yours!

What you see in the map is the BEFORE picture - a snapshot of membership distribution before YOU joined in to represent your own thriving or emerging community of participatory dancers, singers, and musicians. In six months, we'll post the AFTER picture. 

Help put your own community on the map! 

~ Robin Hayden, Director of Development


Upcoming in the CDSS News


The printed edition of the newsletter (Summer 2013 issue) will be arriving in members' mailboxes shortly; the online version of that issue will be posted by mid-June. Included are reports from the director (or read it above) and on items discussed at the recent Governing Board meeting (summarized by secretary David Chandler), articles about the Empty Bowls Contra Dance (by Michael Baird; good dancing for a great cause), Contra Dancing at the University of Oklahoma (by Miranda Arana; you'll wish you were a college student or a teacher of college students when you read it), Teaching ECD in China (by Grigsby Wotton; yep, China), Yoga for Dancers (by Anna Rain; helping us take tender care of our knees so we have knees), What's in a Name (by Jody Kruskal; the challenge of finding a great name for your band), News from Canada - Fiddling in BC (by Rosemary Lach; news from those folks north of us); two dances: Fostering Traditions (an ECD by Gary Roodman, with a tune by Jonathan Jensen) and Voyager (a Becket-counterclockwise contra by Luke Donforth), lots of ads about lots of events, and - beginning in this issue! - a new column dedicated to song: CDSS Sings, introduced by Lorraine Hammond, offers us the fine traditional song, Sail Away Ladies. (CDSS Sings will have web extras so check online in a couple of weeks.)

Next deadline for articles and letters is August 1.

~ Caroline Batson, CDSS News Editor


Stay in Touch Online

Upcoming Events - lots of special events throughout the country.

Facebook - news about the organization, other organizations, whatever comes into our heads.

E-news - This one, and previous issues, are online.


Shop At the CDSS Store

We have oodles of books, recordings, DVDs, t-shirts, bags, water bottles and more at our store. Drop by during business hours (Monday-Friday, 9-5) or shop online for excellent gifts for your friends or yourself.

Email or Members Directory


Joining our email list (for all) or online Members Directory (members only) is simple. You can log in here look for "Log in" in the upper right corner of each page of the website.

Not a Member?

Yikes! Join the map! (Read "Okay, People," above.) CDSS membership makes a great gift for students, young families, new dancers, the musicians or organizers in your community...or yourself. Support a great organization! 


Camp Dates

OGONTZ (August 3-10, Lyman, NH)
Family Week, Bettie and Steve Zakon-Anderson
American Dance Musicians Course, Keith Murphy and Becky Tracy

TIMBER RIDGE (August 11-18, High View, WV)
Adult Week and Family Week, Gaye and Rachel Fifer
PINEWOODS (Plymouth, MA)
Early Music Week, June 27-July 4, Frances Fitch
English Dance Musicians Course (EM), June 27-July 4, Peter Barnes
Viol Intensive, June 27-July 4, Sarah Mead
Family Week, July 20-27, Steve Howe
Harmony of Song and Dance, July 27-August 3, Nils Fredland
English Dance Week, August 3-10, Brad Foster
English Dance Musicians Course (ED), August 3-10, Shira Kammen
English & American Dance Week, August 10-17, Owen Morrison
Campers' Week, August 17-24, Sarah Henry and Michael Gorin
American Dance & Music Week, August 24-31, Ethan Hazzard-Watkins and Anna Patton
Sound Operators Course, August 24-31, Tony Hernandez

All the details are on our website.