"5 Things...Inside the Dancing Mind of..." is a one-hour chat with Q&A from movers and shakers in the English Country Dance community from across the country about the 5 things that they feel are important to our passion for ECD and why. Hosted by the Historical Tea & Dance Society.

May 18, 2022 Wendy Graham Contra caller Video
April 15, 2022 ECD Choreographers Alan Winston, David Smukler, Jenny Beer, Sharon Green, and Gary Roodman Video
March 15, 2022 Deborah Denenfeld Dance educator and leader Video
February 15, 2022 Andy Davis & Peter Amidon Performing and teaching artists Video
January 18, 2022 Mike Richardson Musician, dancer, caller, composer, choreographer and organizer Video
December 21, 2021 Bob Dalsemer Caller, teacher, musician, organizer, former CDSS President Video
November 16, 2021 Alan Roberts & Sande Gillette Sound engineer, fiddle players, organizer Video
October 19, 2021 Steve Howe Former Director of CDSS Camp Programs, dancer Video
June 29, 2021 Our 5 Things Team The stories of some of the folks behind the scenes who made it all happen Video
June 22, 2021 Our Online Pioneers Creating new opportunities for us to share and experience the joy of music, dance, and song! Video
June 19, 2021 Alex Cumming In conjunction with Hey Days Dance Camp Video
June 15, 2021 Various directors Behind the scenes at dance camp Video
June 8, 2021 Val Medve Caller (English), teacher, organizer, and choreographer Video
June 1, 2021 Bob Green Caller, choreographer, videographer Video
May 25, 2021 Nikki Herbst Teacher (English and Contra) and Organizer Video
May 18, 2021 Frederick Park Caller (English, Contra, Square, and Folk), teacher, choreographer, organizer, storyteller Video
May 11, 2021 Barbara Greenberg Musician (English and Contra) Video
May 4, 2021 Philippe Callens A tribute to the renowned caller, teacher, and choreographer Video
April 27, 2021 Dave Bartley Musician (English and Contra), Composer Video
April 20, 2021 Rosemary Lach Caller (English and Contra), and Organizer Video
April 13, 2021 Mary Devlin Caller (English and Contra), Choreographer, former CDSS President Video
April 6, 2021 Jim Morrison Musician, caller, researcher, former Director of CDSS Video
March 30, 2021 Audrey Knuth Musician (Contra) Video
March 23, 2021 Graham Christian Caller (English), researcher, writer Video
March 20, 2021 Paul Hutchinson Accordionist in any style you'd like to name Video
March 16, 2021 Dan Blim Caller Video
March 9, 2021 Jacqueline Schwab Pianist and caller (English) Video
March 2, 2021 Alisa Dodson Caller and dance writer (English) Video
February 23, 2021 Karen Axelrod Musician (English and Contra) Video
February 20, 2021 Nicolas Broadbridge Caller and Teacher (English), accordionist, researcher, composer, choreographer Video
February 16, 2021 Alex Cumming Traditional singer, musician (accordion & piano), and caller Video
February 9, 2021 Jeff Spero Pianist, caller and choreographer (Contra) Video
February 2, 2021 Barbara Finney Caller and Teacher (English), Organizer Video
January 26, 2021 Elizabeth Goossen Caller (English), choreographer (& Scottish), composer, musician, organizer Video
January 19, 2021 Gaye Fifer Caller (English and Contra) Video
January 12, 2021 Wayne Hankin Multi-instrumentalist (also Cirque du Soleil), inventor of the Jubo (see link). Video
Special New Year Bonus: Link for the After-talk
January 5, 2021 Danny Walkowitz Dancer and professional historian Video
December 22, 2020 Darlene Hamilton Caller and multi-talented organizer Video
December 15, 2020 Alan Winston Caller, choreographer and dance organizer Video
December 8, 2020 Heather Clarke Researcher and Dancer Video
December 1, 2020 Dave Wiesler "Exploring Dance Tunes" Video
November 24, 2020 Chris Sackett Caller, Composer and Choreographer (English)  
November 17, 2020 Jenny Beer Caller and Choreographer (English) Video
November 10, 2020 Jonathan Jensen Musician and Composer Video
November 3, 2020 Many guests   Video
October 27, 2020 Martha Griffin Caller and Choreographer (English) Video
October 20, 2020 David Smukler Caller and dance writer (English, Contra and Square) Video
October 17, 2020 Walter Nelson Organizer and Lecturer (Historical) Video
October 13, 2020 Gene Murrow Caller, Musician and Producer (English) Video
October 6, 2020 Susan Kevra and Rachel Bell Caller (Susan) and musicians (both) for English and Contra Video
September 22, 2020 Lisa Greenleaf Caller (English, Contra, Squares) Video
September 19, 2020 Paul Cooper Researcher (Regency) Video
September 15, 2020 Louise Siddons Caller (English & Contra), Organizer Video
September 8, 2020 Chip Prince Musician (English & Contra) Video
September 1, 2020 Anna Rain Caller (English & Contra), musician Video
August 25, 2020 Shira Kammen Musician, composer Video
August 18, 2020 Olivia Barry Caller (English, Contra, Irish), organizer, researcher Video
August 15, 2020 Allison Thompson Historian, dance writer, musician, blogger Video
August 11, 2020 Gary Roodman Dance writer Video
August 4, 2020 Beverly Francis Caller (English) Video
July 28, 2020 Bridget Whitehead Caller and organizer Video
July 21, 2020 Brooke Friendly Special theme: Global Terminology / Positional Calling Video
July 18, 2020 Colin Hume Caller (English, Contra, Square…), dance writer, composer, researcher Video
July 14, 2020 Dave Wiesler Pianist and Composer (English, Contra and Scottish) Video
July 7, 2020 Paul Ross Caller (English), videographer, organizer Video
June 30, 2020 James Hutson Caller and dance writer (English & Contra) Video
June 23, 2020 Katy German CDSS Executive Director 2017- Video
June 16, 2020 Brad Foster CDSS Executive & Artistic Director 1983-2011 Video
June 9, 2020 Jenna Simpson Caller (English), dance writer Video
June 2, 2020 Scott Higgs Caller (English and Contra), dance writer Video
May 26, 2020 David Millstone Caller (English), videographer, writer, Past CDSS President Video
May 19, 2020 Orly Krasner Caller (English), dance writer, tune composer, academic Video
May 16, 2020 Susan de Guardiola Historical Dance teacher and researcher Video
May 12, 2020 Brooke Friendly Caller (English), dance writer Video
May 5, 2020 Bruce Hamilton Caller (English), Scottish teacher, thought-provoking speaker Video
April 28, 2020 Sharon Green Organizer, caller (English), dance composer Video
April 21, 2020 Kate Barnes Multi-instrumentalist (English and Contra), composer, publisher Video
April 18, 2020 Cécile Laye French teacher of English dance Video
April 14, 2020 Rebecca King Pianist (English and Contra) and composer Video
April 7, 2020 Kalia Kliban Caller (English and Contra), dance writer Video
March 31, 2020 Joanna Reiner Caller (English) Video
March 24, 2020 Graham Christian Caller (English), researcher, writer Video

Please visit the CDSS Responds to COVID-19 page in the Resource Portal for all the information on staying connected during the pandemic.

us mapTo serve our mission of encouraging thriving local communities throughout the continent of North America, CDSS recently undertook a study in order to learn how to best support local traditional music, dance, and song organizers in Canada. View the report of that study.

Following closely upon the release of Canadian study, we conducted a follow-up survey of organizers in the US. The primary purpose of the second survey was to learn about the current challenges and needs of local organizers who are CDSS members (group Affiliate or individual/family). A subset of the Canadian survey questions were used for the US survey to determine whether the Canadian findings resonated with US organizers, and where there might variation.

While there were a few differences, the similarities were dramatic. For instance, as with the Canadian organizers, US organizers are currently most concerned with issues around attendance.

Both studies included questions about the types of supports organizers would find most helpful. We are now taking action on a number of these findings in order to strengthen our support of local organizers as we believe local organizers are truly essential to fostering the communities of dance, music, and song traditions that we collectively value.

Click here for the full survey report

Map of CanadaTo serve our mission of encouraging thriving local communities throughout the continent of North America, CDSS undertook a study to learn how to best support local traditional music, dance, and song organizers in Canada. The study focused on local organizers, as they are essential to fostering the communities of dance, music, and song traditions that we collectively value.

Whether it be Newfoundland traditional song, Métis step dance, or northern fiddle traditions - every folk tradition is culturally significant. They reflect the shared values and heritage and help to define a sense of identity and belonging. Shared among all of these traditions is the impact they have on individuals, the wider community, and society. Often, there is commonality between organizers of different traditions. For instance, organizers of a Cape Breton traditional square dance, contra dance in British Columbia, or a veillée de danse Québécoise often do similar work, share similar challenges, and could benefit from similar supports. Thus, by sharing across traditions, we create more vibrant and resilient communities for all. CDSS hopes that this study is not only helpful for our work and for local organizers but that it is also useful to other umbrella arts organizations. We plan to take action on common interests that have arisen through the study and we will look at ways to address particular interests where we can, often in partnership with others.

POTD2 organizersAttendees from both Canada and the United States at Puttin' On the Dance 2 in Ottawa, Ontario in March 2015The report has two sections. The first ten pages contains the main report while the following 40 pages present the findings of each survey question for those who want to delve deeper into the findings. The report describes who is organizing what throughout Canada. It also goes into depth regarding the strengths and successes of various groups, the challenges that organizers face, and the supports organizers currently need. One particular survey question (question 34 in the appendices) is particularly inspiring as it highlights organizers' impressions of how TDMS positively impacts individuals, communities, and the wider society.

Click here for the full survey report in English

Cliquez ici pour le rapport d'enquête complet en français

Passport to Joy


Our Passport to Joy! program was a huge success! Throughout 2015 you brought your passport to all the great places you danced. You filled its pages with stickers, each representing an amazing memory. But, how can you share the joy now? And wasn’t there supposed to be something about prizes…?

What Did You Do and Where Did You Go?

passportsubmitbuttonThere is indeed some more to come. For this to happen, we need to learn about your “Passport to Joy!” experiences. So…

    1.    Send us a list of Passport Destinations you attended with dates and a final count. Please submit this list by Saturday, April 30th.
    2.    If you want, you can also send photos (of you dancing or smiling, or those Destinations you found, or some or all of your passport pages).
    3.    We’d love to hear any passport-related stories you’d like to share.
    4.    If you traveled a great distance to a Passport Destination, send us those coordinates.

Please do not send us your actual, physical Passport to Joy! We do not really have a way to process them, and – more importantly – you get to keep it as a memento of your CDSS Centennial year.


Yes, there will be entertaining prizes for:

    •    The passport with the greatest number of destinations
    •    Any passport with a whopping 40 stickers or more
    •    The passport holder who reports traveling the greatest distance
    •    Plus two entrants chosen at random. So send us your list - any passport can win a prize!

Prizes will be awarded and announced in May 2016 based on submissions received by April 30th, so send us your info ASAP. In the case of close or ambiguous information, we reserve the right to give out additional prizes.

Stories and photos we receive will become part of this page. Spread the Joy!

Submit your information by clicking the Passport Submission Form button at the top of this page.

If you prefer, you can email your info to And if for some reason you can't fill out the form or email us, send your info via US mail to:

CDSS Passports
116 Pleasant Street, Suite 345
Easthampton, MA 01027-2759

Links to other Forums

The Forum Extension will be on this page.

A Message from Executive Director Katy German

member directoryDear Friends,

We owe you a status update on the CDSS online Member Directory. As you know, 2017 was a year of big transitions for CDSS. Both the Executive Director and Business Manager positions were vacated in January, and then our Director of Communications retired in June. Interim support was quickly put in place, search and hiring processes ensued, and the top priorities became maintaining quality programming and ensuring the financial integrity of the organization while we identified the right candidates for the open leadership positions. Those things were done very well, and I am exceedingly proud of the staff for their role in carrying the organization forward during that time. Because of their stewardship and the exceptional work of the CDSS board, we are once again in a high-functioning place. 

Unfortunately, the shift in priorities last year meant that we fell behind on some things. Restocking our store inventory, closing communication loops, and maintaining our online Member Directory are the biggest examples of this. We know that our members and supporters have felt the impact of these shortcomings and it weighs heavily on us. Right now we are working very hard to get those things remedied. We have invested new energy into the store and placed orders to build up our supply of popular items. We’ve been catching up on communications and are ready to provide better customer service again. The Member Directory, however, has a more complex solution and requires time.

The major hold up on the Member Directory has to do with the fact that we are in the midst of a data migration and having to choreograph that carefully. Section by section, function by function, we are moving our business out of the old system and into the new one. Camp registration needed to be prioritized at the beginning of this year and that’s where migration and design work has been focused these first couple of months. The Member Directory work will come later in the year. It’s tricky work, because the Directory must sync with updates to member contact information, and we want to honor people’s privacy preferences. That’s what we will be working on soon. We have established a focused Directory Action Team, and will continue to update you on our progress.

In the meantime, you can help us out A LOT by logging into your account here! Ensuring now that you can login will significantly streamline our efforts and help us get the Member Directory back online. If you have not logged onto your CDSS account since August 17, 2017, please note that your login information has changed. Most of you received an email from us on 8/17/17 containing your new login and instructions for logging on. You might still have it! If you encounter difficulties logging on and no longer have or didn't get that email, we are ready to assist you.

Thank you for your patience and ongoing support. We want to build a Member Directory that works for you!

Warm regards,


Katy German

Three people singing to guitar accompanimentCDSS Song of the Month

Community and traditional song in the 21st century

Join us each month in song!

CDSS designated 2016 our Year of Song. We chose it for two reasons: to honor the start of Cecil Sharp and Maud Karpeles’ prolific folk song collecting in southern Appalachia (1916-1918), and to look at how song serves CDSS's mission. This examination also begins a cycle of focusing on one or two genres at a time, as we identify community needs and allow for better use of our resources.

Our Song of the Month feature has been so well received that we decided to make it a permanent part of the website. You'll find an archive of these songs below as well as new ones being posted in the months to come.

CDSS’s song traditions are based primarily in the English and Anglo-American traditions — folk songs, ballads, sea shanties, rounds, songs with choruses. We also include spirituals, work songs, country harmony, African call and response, shape note and gospel, contemporary a cappella, and new arrangements of traditional songs. Our special emphasis is on community singing.

Lorraine Hammond, CDSS Board member and Song Task Group Chair, spearheaded our Year of Song efforts and oversaw 2016’s song selections. Judy Cook took on that role in 2017 and continues to contribute each month, with help from Lorraine. Our thanks to them both.

Happy singing!

Note: Many of these old songs should be looked at as "fairy tales for adults" in that they often address very strong, and sometimes scary, subject matter. They allow us to deal with difficult situations and emotions with the distance afforded by putting it in a song. They are cautionary tales, and had their use as such.

Saro Lynch-ThomasonSaro Lynch-Thomason. Photo by Studio 828 Photography.

Songs that Speak

CDSS is pleased to support "Songs that Speak," a monthly YouTube series by Saro Lynch-Thomason. Learn about the history, folklore, and modern-day relevance of traditional songs, and sing along as Saro teaches each song through sing-and-repeat.

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