Elke is a veteran dance musician and concert performer, and has played a wide range of styles including contras and squares, English, Scottish, Vintage, and couple dances, at dance events across North America and indeed around the world. She’s a former U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Champion, Washington Conservatory of Music faculty member, and Artist-in-Residence at Montgomery College, and has performed at venerable venues. Playing for dancers is one of her very favorite things…although dancing runs a close second.
Sam is a nimble, irrepressible performer on guitar, banjo and mandolin. His original compositions have been profiled on NPR¹s All Things Considered, Salon.com, and The Thistle & Shamrock. His evocative musicianship has been featured in the Ken Burns documentaries, Prohibition and The Dustbowl. Sam is known as one of this country’s most engaging dance musicians, and has been crisscrossing the States playing for dances for 30 years. He is also the author of a best-selling book on pranks and parlor tricks, The Best of Stuntology (Workman Publishing). More information can be found at stuntology.com.
Eric is a graduate of Berea College, a Fine Arts major in Textiles. His festive banners, paper cuts, and decorations grace Seabury Center at CCDS. He has been making temari for over 20 years. This will be his 17th year of teaching Temari at CCDS.
Beginning Temari Craft, Intermediate Temari Craft
Maeve was introduced to contra dancing in 2014 and immediately fell in love with it. Since then, she has found a passion for contra calling, percussive dancing, and dance organizing. When she calls for dances, she strives to create an accessible and joyful space for all dancers.
Contras for All
Barbara has been leading English country dancing for over 30 years and is known for her clear teaching and welcoming presence. A regular dance leader at CDS Boston Centre, she has taught workshops across the US and in Canada, and has served as program director for Pinewoods English Dance Week. She is a longtime member of Still River Sword, a longsword team in the Boston area.
Advanced English Country Dance; English Dance Callers Workshop; Longsword Dance
Brad has been dancing and teaching English country, contras and squares, and Morris and sword for over forty years. He is well known for sharing the joy found in dance, and has taught throughout the US, Canada and Europe, including at Berea, Pinewoods, Mendocino, John C. Campbell Folk School, and Augusta. He is Director Emeritus of the Country Dance and Song Society, having served for 28 years. He is a founder of the Bay Area Country Dance Society as well as co-founder of their Mendocino English and American dance weeks.
Intermediate English Country Dance; English in All Its Variety
Kent has been singing and dancing (in all kinds of traditions) since slightly before he was born. He has been a Christmas School participant for over 35 years, a leader in the Berea Shape Note community, energetic workshop leader, and fine appreciator of community music.
Shape Note Singing
Wendy Graham Settle
Self-described “dance maniac,” Wendy (Durango, CO) is thrilled to be back on staff at Christmas Country Dance School, where her passion for music, song and dance caught fire in 1991. Wendy leads English, American, and partner dances in the southwest, throughout the USA, and abroad in Canada, England and Denmark. She proudly served on the Country Dance and Song Society (CDSS) board and is a Lifetime Contribution Award committee member. She is a current Lloyd Shaw Foundation board member. Find out more at www.perkypantsdance.com.
Advanced Contras; Contra Callers Workshop; Contra Dance Open Mic
This year Wayne is happy to be back at Berea. in playing recorder – among other instruments requested. He’ll be back to encourage his recorder classes, and new JUBO class for adults. If you’re a newby, Wayne performed in 8 productions with Cirque du Soleil and has residence at Colgate University and made his debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He’s worked on films from Good Dinosaur to The Lego Movie, has , Mr Hankin has received over 30 awards and grants from ASCAP, Meet the Composer, The National Endowment of the Arts and organizations abroad, and teaches all over the country with residencies at the Chatauqua institution and Interlochen Arts Academy.
Beginning Recorder; JUBO; Intermediate Recorder
Dean has been playing for contra, Scottish, English, international, and couples dancing since he relocated to North Carolina in the late 1970s. He cofounded the band FootLoose and played piano and clarinet with it for 20 years. He helps organize a family and community dance series in the Triangle area.
Contra Dance Open Band
Debbie is a multi-instrumentalist and enjoys playing for English and Scottish Balls around the US and abroad- many of her English compositions have been choreographed and recorded by other bands. She also enjoys playing for contras and squares, swing dancing, blues and Latin, international, waltzing and vintage. She has performed in Denmark, Germany, India, and on Ukrainian National Radio and at various Folk Festivals across the Slovak Republic. She has also participated in two dance-music exchanges to Denmark and one to Austria. At home, she loves being part of the musician staff team for the Michigan Dance Heritage Spring and Fall Camps. Debbie also loves leading community sings and has a broad repertoire of music. She is a member of the band, Childgrove. She has recorded/produced 2 CD’s for Childgrove and 1 solo project of her own arrangements. She played the role of pianist Floyd Cramer (with no speaking parts) in the Patsy Cline Story!. She began her musical career in 1977 as a folksinger/songwriter and bluegrass bass player/tenor part singer. She also recorded vocals in a recording studio for 2 years. Now she enjoys working in various musical ensembles and stretching the boundaries of piano music. Debbie lives in Waterford, Michigan and is excited to be returning to CCDS.
Sarah Jo Jacobs
Sarah Jo is a graduate of Eastern Kentucky University with her Degree in Theater and English. She is ecstatic to have the opportunity to work with her CCDS family again. Sarah Jo has studied play-writing, acting, folk lore and puppetry. She is currently working as the Artistic Director for The Appalachian Shakespeare Center at EKU. She has also participated in numerous productions and festivals including Cumberland Dance Week (Instructor), The 24 Hour Play Festival (Director), Our Town (Emily Webb), The Tempest (Antonio), and Godspell (Chorus).
Abby grew up in the East Coast traditional folk music revival of the 1970s. Abby started touring nationally at 18 with the dance and music company Rhythm In Shoes (RIS). She has collaborated with musician and composer Malcolm Dalglish in The Welcome Table, including original dance, music and choral arrangements of poems by Wendell Berry. In 2014 Abby reunited with RIS artistic director Sharon Leahy and a cast of percussive dance all-stars for Carry It On, a film and performance project celebrating the Wheatland Music Organization’s 40th anniversary festival.
Introduction to Team Clogging; Clogging Intermediate
Lewis & Donna Lamb
Native Kentuckians, this remarkable father-daughter duo have been making, preserving, teaching, and sharing traditional Appalachian music for many years. With Lewis on fiddle and Donna on guitar your feet don’t stand a chance of remaining still! They perform and teach old time square dance music and traditional songs at festivals and workshops throughout the region. Lewis is also known for his folk-art woodcarvings and he and Donna together have crafted numerous musical instruments. Lewis and Donna are 2007 winners of the Kentucky Folk Heritage Award.
Songs from the Past to the Present
Tim is a dancer, teacher, and amateur historian of dance. His knowledge of social dance spans the centuries from 1600 to the present. Tim started English Country dancing when he moved to Berea, KY, in 1976. He joined Lexington Vintage Dance in 1994 and served as Co-Director from 2000 to 2017. With Paula Harrison, Tim taught waltz classes at CCDS five years between 2010 and 2018. They were the dance instructors for the Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival in Sedalia, MO, in 2015, 2017 and 2018. During the pandemic of 2020-21, Tim and Paula modified over 50 English Country Dances for two dancers and led online dance lessons. Paula recently retired from teaching and performing, and Tim moved to Worcester, MA, in April of this year. Tim has a talent for breaking dance moves down into small, incremental steps and explaining moves clearly.
Waltz Fundamentals; Intermediate Waltzing
Jim has been a traditional dance enthusiast since his first Christmas Country Dance School in 1968. He is a collector of community dance in the Southeastern US and New England, and was a pioneer in the study of historic American social dance. He is also a lifelong morris and sword dancer. Jim plays fiddle and guitar, performing with the Morrison Brothers Band and the Albemarle Morris Men.
Set Dances of Cork and Kerry; Southern Mountain Square Dancing
Owen is an accomplished rhythm and lead guitarist, at home in many styles of traditional music. His playing, laced with rhythmic power and skillful finesse, has made him popular among dancers and fiddlers alike. Owen has toured the U.S. and abroad with bands such as Elixir, Airdance, Night Watch and The Morrison Brothers Band. He frequently appears on staff at Pinewoods, Augusta, Ashokan and many other camps, and is thrilled to be returning to CCDS this year.
Set Dances of Cork and Kerry
Ben is Pat’s grandson, Dave’s younger son, and Jim’s cousin or nephew, depending upon whom you ask. He is a software engineer for CarMax who loves to code. He has been enjoying dancing and avoiding calling Appalachian figures for many years. You should dance with him, and if you are good enough, maybe he will serenade you on the piano, following the dance.
Kentucky Set Running
More years ago than he would like to admit, David was fortunate to be introduced to dance when he was invited to help start a high school based performing group that demonstrated English Country Dance, Contra, Morris and Sword dancing. He has been dancing and teaching ever since. David is known for his patient and clear teaching style and communicates the joy of dancing through his teaching and enthusiasm. He has been on staff for dance weeks and weekends around the country including Pinewoods, Buffalo Gap, Mendocino, Hey Days, and Berea Christmas Country Dance School. He is a regular caller for the weekly Portland Country Dance Community’s English dance, monthly advanced dance series, and teaches dance English, Contra, Morris and Sword at the Renaissance School for Arts and Sciences in Portland Oregon.
Beginning English Country Dancing; Morris Dance for All
Janet, a basket maker from Rockcastle County, Kentucky, will proudly be joining the CCDS staff for her 20th year. Janet will be offering classes in traditional styles of basketry. A variety of materials will be offered with plenty of room for artistic expression in your individual baskets.
Each class limited to the first 20 people to sign up.
Basketry for All, One; Basketry for All, Two
Deborah is a fiddler from Berea, Kentucky. Deborah has maintained the traditions of the region playing for folk dances, teaching children’s dance, and providing lessons for area students. Deborah has played and toured both locally and internationally with numerous bluegrass, old time, and folk dance bands including the Berea College Country Dancers, the Berea Festival Dancers, Sugar Tree, and the Kentucky Sunshine Quartet.
A member of the contra dance band, Serpentine, the Danish/Faroese band, Spælimenninir and the Scandinavian trio, Hoag/Kelly/Pilzer, Charlie has played too many dances to count. When not playing music, he records, mixes and masters CDs at Airshow and is fortunate to work on all kinds of wonderful projects. Charlie lives in Takoma Park, MD.
Beginning Dance Band
Betsy loves the high lonesome sound of the singing styles from the Balkans and Caucasus Georgia. She sings with the Washington, DC-based Slaveya Women’s Vocal Ensemble and Niavi Georgian Folk Ensemble.
Mountain Harmonies from the Balkans and Beyond
Jamie has been running sound for dances and concerts, mostly in the Washington, DC area, for many years. He is a regular at Glen Echo Park and specializes in all types of traditional music. He has also been running sound for a number of dance weekends and other events from Gulfport, FL to Ann Arbor, MI. This will be his 10th adventure at CCDS. Jamie’s approach has been to make each instrument and voice sound as close to natural as possible, work hard to make the musicians happy, and let them carry the show.
Bruce is a Kentuckian, a Berean, and a fibber. Storytelling is an old tradition in his family—they’ve been telling lies in Kentucky since 1845. Bruce has an M.A. in literature (which doesn’t help his storytelling much) and has been collecting fairy and folk stories since the 1970s. He’s led the Berea Story Tellers group since early 2019. This is Bruce’s third time teaching at Christmas Country Dance School, having taught Mummer’s plays in past years.
Gillian has been teaching and performing folk dance on both sides of the Atlantic since 2004. Hailing from the vigorous folk scene surrounding Boston, MA, she also indulges in sword dance, morris, pub singing, percussive stepdance, and social dancing of many stripes. Her teaching has been described as “engaging, high energy, and accessible”. She currently leads Orion Longsword and dances with Candyrapper VSOP and Muddy River Morris. In her copious free time she enjoys social singing, cooking for dance events, and recreational data analysis.
Intro-mediate Rapper; Advanced Performance Rapper
Jim Napier Stites
Jim is Pat’s grandson, Dave’s nephew, and is the elder son of Pamela “Not Pam” Napier. He is a public school band director who has enjoyed dancing and calling Appalachian figures for many years. He has also been known to tell stories, and you oughtn’t believe a word he says.
Kentucky Set Running
Patty is a long-time Christmas Country Dance School participant and enthusiast. A member of the singing Ritchie family, Patty most enjoys encouraging folks, young and old, to sing together and share their many talents.
Will coordinate Morningsong and Stories, and Evening Parlor
Al teaches Appalachian music for string instruments at Berea College and is best known for his mandolin, fiddle, guitar, and banjo playing, teaching any and all of these when asked. He is the leader of two energetic student groups, the Berea College Bluegrass Ensemble and Mariachi Berea. Al plays fiddle and mandolin in the Berea Cast-Offs dance band and is a member of the McLain Family Band. He has been a staff musician at CCDS, Pinewoods, Buffalo Gap, Kentucky Summer Dance School, and other dance weeks.
Alice, third generation participant and CCDS staff member, plays bass and sings with her husband, Al. She’s performed across the US and abroad, from the Grand Old Opry to the Kennedy Center, to a school gym north of the Arctic Circle in Alaska, to another in Hobart, Tasmania. Locally, she is a retired 1st grade teacher and currently performs with the McLain Family Band. She and Al can also be heard playing for contras with the Berea Cast-offs, or doing concerts with her sister, Ruth McLain Smith.
Will coordinate evening staff music
Karina has dedicated her life to and traveled the world collecting music from every folk music tradition she can find since her first trip to Guinea, West Africa in 2004. She started playing to accompany her dance calling father at contra dances, English country dances, camp dances and family dances in the southwest, and later farther abroad in 1993 at the tender age of 8, and has since appeared on stages and in dance halls around the world. Her time is now spent teaching private students, small string orchestras, fiddle classes, tango ensemble workshops, African stretch workshops, freelance recording projects, and collaborations with local musicians. She is currently performing with the groups Lone Pinon, Bard Ederington V, David Berkeley, and Heading up her own trio; Karina Wilson and Big Heart Boys, as well as the dance bands Revery out of WA, Playing with Fyre out of NC and the occasional dance weekend with The Gaslight Tinkers and Larry Unger.
Nathan is a veteran of over 30 years in country dance music. He plays the fiddle, mandolin, tenor banjo, double bass, electric bass guitar, and piano. Currently, Nathan plays with The Morrison Brothers Band, Elise Melrood, Footbridge, Intellectual Property, Websters Edition-Jazz, Paw Paw Pickers, and the Lexington Community Orchestra. His greatest thrill, however, is making music with his daughters Adéla and Anna in their band, Dreamdance. Nathan brings his love for music to others through teaching and mentoring orchestra students in the Kentucky public schools, and as music director at his church in Lexington. He is also, without a doubt, one of the world’s most under-appreciated random storytellers.
Intermediate/Advanced Dance Band