CDSS ENews Header
December 2014
Happy Holidays
Free Ringtones
Beautiful Pins
Revels in Dance and Song
In the CDSS News
Good Stuff in Improved Store
Lifetime Award Party was Great!
Spread the Joy Campaign
Get Your Passport to Joy!
Be a Passport Destination
Puttin' On the Dance 2
Grant Deadlines
Centennial Tour Dates
Teacher Resources
Morris Archives
Art Exists to Serve Communities
Summer is Coming (Revised Camp Schedule)
Stay in Touch Online
Happy Holidays

It's been a good year for us and a challenging one. (Everyone who can say the same, raise your hands!) Come January, we'll be prepping for camp, promoting camp, shipping out orders, preparing a new book for publication, cheering the first Centennial Tour on its way, finalizing other Centennial activities, sponsoring another dance organizers conference, greeting Board members...and that's just the first part of the year!

It's a true pleasure to work at CDSS because we're doing work we love and believe in. And never more so than when we hear from you, whether you're registering for camp, asking questions, bringing us your concerns, or sharing your own joys of dance, music and song. Your financial support keeps us going, and your friendship is the proverbial icing on the cake. You make it so worthwhile, so THANK YOU for hanging out with us this year. We look forward to seeing and talking with you again in 2015.


~ Rima ([email protected]) and the CDSS Office Staff

Free Ringtones

Show the world how much you love English and contra dance and song! Download a ringtone from our website!



Here's our annual Abbots Bromley Horn Dance, celebrating Valley Gives Day, a local e-philanthropy event earlier this month, wherein we amuse - or astonish others in our building. We're known to some of our neighbors as "those people who do that weird reindeer dance."


Beautiful Pins
We recently shipped these beautiful cloisonné lapel pins to over 100 Spread the Joy donor households all across North America. We're poised and eager to send one to YOU in thanks for your gift to the Spread the Joy campaign! Many, many thanks to Deborah and Tom Kruskal for their work with the manufacturers on the design. For more about Spread the Joy, see below.


Revels in Dance and Song

Imagine the fun, traditions and community of a Revels production transported to a summer camp. Revels in Dance & Song, presented by Revels, Inc, Revels North and the Country Dance and Song Society, will be held August 8-15, 2015 at Ogontz Camp in Lyman, NH. Come participate in traditional dance and music while working with a Revels team to create a production incorporating choral singing, morris and sword dancing, children's programs, puppets and mummers' plays. Plus swimming, canoeing, relaxation, and more! Families and adults with or without children, all are welcome. Preliminary information is on our website now; more will follow. For information about our other excellent weeks, click here or see individual week links below.


Photo: Ogontz Camp 


In the CDSS News

The paper edition of the CDSS News (Winter 2014-2015 issue) is in the mail and will be arriving in members' mailboxes soon; the online PDF version is now posted. Features include "Letters and Announcements," "Centennial Tour-Halifax, Nova Scotia," "Farewell I Must Be Gone," by Emma Breslow; "Community Dance Works Wonders for Veterans with PTSD and Brain Injuries," by Deborah Denenfeld; "Ferry Boat Contra Dance," by David Means; "Contra Dancing Comes to Paris," by John Sweeney; "CDSS Sings-Sacred Harp and Community," by Sharon McKinley; "Yoga for Dancers-Keep Practicing: Release Attachment to Immediate Results," by Anna Rain; "Box the Ocean" (a dance), by 'Madame Padovan's School of Dance' and tunes by Leo Maring; and Arts Exist to Serve Communities (Director's Report).

Next deadline for articles, letters, etc. is February 1; send to the Editor. To place an ad in the paper version, see the guidelines on our website.  


Photo by John Nation 


Good Stuff in Improved Store

We have replaced our store software with a much more user-friendly one. If you had an account on the old store, it's still there, but you'll need to reset your password for security reasons. Put your email address in the space under "Returning Customers" and then press the "Forgotten Password" link to reset. If you run into any difficulty with your account, DON'T PANIC! Just call us at 413-203-5467 during business hours (9:30-5:00 ET) and we'll cheerfully help you out.

And as a "Welcome to our Centennial Year" present, we're happy to offer you 10% off any order you place during the first seven days of January. When you view your cart, type in coupon code CENT100.




CDSS is now set up to receive donations via AmazonSmile! Before you browse or shop go to - you'll be prompted to select a charitable organization. For eligible purchases, the Amazon Smile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to your charitable organization. Be sure to select Country Dance and Song Society in Easthampton, Massachusetts. Thanks!


Lifetime Award Party was Great!
The celebration for Jim Morrison was wonderful-we'll have photos on our website later. In the meanwhile, read about Jim's life on our website.   


Spread the Joy Campaign

Thanks to nearly 270 donor households, we have now raised over $470,000 towards our $1M goal for the campaign as of December 19! We are extremely grateful to all who have already made their gift or pledge. If you have not yet had a chance to contribute, now's the time! We are hoping to reach $500,000 by December 31, so that we can begin the Centennial year halfway to our goal. For more information about the goals, strategy and progress of the campaign, or to make a gift or pledge yourself, see the Spread the Joy page on our website.  


Get Your Passport to Joy!

As part of our Centennial celebration, every CDSS member will get a Passport to Joy booklet in January 2015.
Take your passport booklet with you wherever you dance, sing or play music. Participating series or events will have a Passport to Joy sticker for you! At the end of 2015, you'll have a record of all the amazing things you did, and a really cool keepsake.


More details at

Be A Passport Destination
Organizers! Holding a traditional dance, music or song event in 2015? Your beloved regular series? A morris ale, Playford Ball, dance weekend, pub sing, international rapper sword contest, May Day celebration, Sacred Harp convention, leadership conference or musicians' workshop, family camp or community gathering?

Note: logos shown are black & white, but send a color one

Send your 300 dpi color logo (or the name of your organization if you don't have a logo) to [email protected]. We will include you in our list of Passport to Joy Destinations and send you a sheet of Passport to Joy stickers to distribute to participants! You do NOT need to be a CDSS Affiliate to participate!


Puttin' On the Dance 2
(Dance Organizers Conference)

Puttin' On The Dance 2 - Hands Across the Border (aka POTD2) will be March 20-22, 2015, in Ottawa, ON. Co-sponsored by CDSS and others and to recent Southwest Regional Organizers Conference, this weekend will provide resources for dance organizers. The program will be designed to support communities throughout eastern Canada and the northeastern United States. For more info about POTD2, see the website or email the organizers. 


For glimpses of previous conferences cosponsored by CDSS, click here.


Grant Deadlines

A list of recent CDSS outreach grants is posted on our website. If you need help creating an event or project to support your music, dance and/or song community, visit the Guidelines. Upcoming application deadlines for 2015 are February 1, June 1 and October 1. Got questions about conferences or grants? Contact Linda Henry, 413-203-5467 x 105.


Centennial Tour Dates

To celebrate CDSS's Centennial we're going on the road. Each Tour stop will be a community residency, an opportunity for each participating group to use its existing strengths to focus on their longterm growth, create a "pipeline" of new talent, or reach out to new audiences. Here are the locations, dates and staff:  

  • April 25-May 1, Tucson, AZ (staff: Jaige Trudel, Adam Broome, Matthew Olwell, Carol Ormand)

  • April 28-May 3, Owen Sound, ON (Sam Bartlett, Eric Schedler, Ben Smith, Louie Cromartie)

  • September 26-October 3, Halifax, NS (Betsy Branch, Sue Songer, Eric McDonald, Lisa Greenleaf)

  • October 4-10, Coos Bay, OR (Pearl Mueller, Julia Weatherford, Laurel Willoughby, Barbara Davis, Bob Dalsemer)

  • October 21-25, Morgantown, WV (Max Newman, Leela Grace, Karina Wilson, Will Mentor)

  • November 17-22, Lawrence, KS (Anna Patton, Karen Axelrod, Shira Kammen, Andrew VanNorstrand, Kalia Kliban)

We're very excited about these partnerships; for more information about the Tour and other Centennial projects, visit the Centennial Tour section of our website.


Teacher Resources

We raised funds recently for a project to introduce dance into an afterschool music program-we'll be working with school partners to test and create tool-kits to add dance to teachers' repertoire-but we also advise teachers throughout the year on books and videos that we carry in our Store to help them enrich their classes. Have a look at this resource.
Morris Archives
We are thrilled to announce that Jim Brickwedde recently transferred archives of the American Morris Newsletter and the History of Morris in North America Project to CDSS, in order to have the materials become widely accessible for research purposes at the CDSS Library in New Hampshire. The AMN archives trace its history from early editorship under Fred Breunig, the years under Jim's editorship (1979-1993), and a few items from succeeding years, and include historical information such as team rosters, team photos and original manuscripts. The History of Morris archives are Jim's personal research which began during a London residency (1982-83) and continued into the mid-90s, and were collected in order to examine the story of how morris spread across North America. Anyone who wishes to look at the AMN or HoM material while it is at the CDSS Office should contact Pat MacPherson, [email protected], 413-203-5467 x 106.

Art Exists to Serve Communities (Director's Report)

by Rima Dael

Arts organizations are "indispensable partners in improving lives. It is the creation and support of healthy, vital communities that provide the ultimate justification for the allocation of financial and human resources that the arts require. Communities do not exist to serve the arts; the arts exist to serve communities."
Those words from Doug Borwick capture so wonderfully the sentiments of our beliefs at CDSS. A shift in our thinking-to think of our work and its impact more broadly-leads us to ask, "How do traditional participatory dance, music and song communities thrive in today's rapidly changing environments?" This is the question our programs, services and resources will address.

Our core programs and services have not changed-camps, group liability insurance, conferences, publications, online resources, store, and library and archives will continue, but we want to be sure too that what we offer helps your community thrive in today's environment.

In our daily work, we receive questions that generally concern three areas:  
  • How to create a pipeline so dance, music and song can continue in a community. (Or how to start a dance, song circle, jam, house concert, workshop or event.)
  • How to find resources, identify needs, and problem solve with issues that come up in a community.
  • How to communicate within the dance, music and song community, and with the broader communities, on the importance and relevance of the participatory arts that we do.
CDSS is here because of the hard work and passionate support of our founders and the many individuals and groups who believe deeply in the transformative nature of participatory dance, music and song. Sustainability is an ongoing commitment and not just a one-time investment. Our Centennial in 2015 presents us with an opportunity to talk with you further to bring forth new ways to serve our communities. And it will be a time to fundraise to increase our resources to better plan for our mutual sustainability and resiliency.

We know that change is constant. Technology changes how we communicate. We know and are experiencing demographic shifts, generational shifts and economic shifts. We also know that past performance is no longer a good indicator for the future. In a rapidly changing environment, only those organizations that are flexible, adaptive and productive will excel.

So, back to the question at hand, "How do traditional participatory dance, music and song communities thrive in today's rapidly changing environments?" We have some good ideas but we don't have a definitive answer...yet. We need to test our ideas. We are working hard to figure this out and we'll share what we learn. CDSS is committed to answering this question and committed to using our organization and our backyard as a laboratory for ideas, creative experiments and collaborative problem-solving toward the many possible solutions to this question. This is the heart of what we look forward to in 2015 and beyond. Let's work together to create resilient dance, music and song communities in the twenty-first century.  


Rima Dael is Executive Director of CDSS when not dancing or supporting the other arts.


Summer Is Coming (Revised Camp Schedule)
It's not even the end of 2014, but we're thinking ahead to next summer. Below are the dates and program chairs for our wonderful dance and music-filled programs next summer. Come lift your voices and feet in delight!
Family Week, July 18-25 (Sam Bartlett & Abby Ladin)
Harmony of Song & Dance, July 25-August 1 (Keith Murphy & Becky Tracy)
English Dance Week, August 1-8 (Joanna Reiner)
American Dance & Music Week, August 8-15 (Sue Rosen)
Early Music Week, August 15-22 (Jan Elliott & Larry Zukof)
Accademia, August 15 - 22 (Sarah Mead & Lisa Terry)
English Dance Musicians Course, August 15-22 (Jacqueline Schwab)
Campers' Week, August 22-29 (Margaret Bary)

Family Week, August 1-8 (Bettie & Steve Zakon-Anderson)
American Dance Musicians Course, August 1-8 (Keith Murphy & Becky Tracy)
Teachers Training Course, August 1-8 (Kari Smith)
NEW! Revels in Dance & Song, August 8-15 (Paddy Swanson)

Adult & Family Week, August 9-16 (Janine Smith)
Contra Dance Callers Course, August 9-16 (Lisa Greenleaf)
Traditional Dance for Educators, August 9-16 (Andy Davis)


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.

Email or Members Directory - Joining our email list (for all) or online Members Directory (members only) is simple. You can log in here - or look for "Log in" just under the top photo on our homepage.


Join CDSS Today!

Whether you are a traditional contra, techno contra, square or English dancer; practice morris, rapper, longsword or garland traditions; perform traditional or early music and song - you belong in the CDSS network! Your membership ensures that CDSS can continue to support, advocate, educate, connect and sustain the dance and music traditions that we cherish for ourselves and for our families for the next hundred years. Read more about membership or sign up today! And don't forget about the special Passport to Joy in 2015 (see article earlier in this blast).  

Contributors to this issue include: Caroline Batson, Christine Dadmun, Rima Dael, Nils Fredland, Robin Hayden, Linda Henry, Pat MacPherson, Jeff Martell, and Lynn Nichols. CDSS Centennial logo by Ethan Hazzard-Watkins.