Country Dance and Song Society Centennial Celebration


A weekend of traditional dancing, live music, singing, workshops, demonstrations storytelling and more will be showcased at the Triangle CDSS Centennial Celebration this month at the Shared Visions Retreat Center, Murphy School, 3717 Murphey School Rd, Durham. Tickets are $25 for full weekend; or $10 Saturday daytime; $10 Saturday night; $10 Sunday. Entry is free to members of CDSS, Triangle Country Dancers, or Sun Assembly English Dancers.

The celebration is in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Country Dance and Song Society (CDSS). The event is sponsored by two local groups, the Triangle Country Dancers (TCD) and Sun Assembly English Dancers. It will highlight North Carolina’s role as a wellspring of traditional dance and music that continues to nourish the tradition while replenishing it with new sounds and steps.

People do not have to be experienced dancers to take part: each dance will be taught before it starts. You don’t need a partner: dancers regularly change partners during events, and it’s easy to find someone to dance with. No special clothes are needed, though dancers are asked to wear soft-soled shoes.

Saturday events begin at 9 a.m. with workshops on Irish set dancing, English dance, square dancing, and a family dance. Other events during the day include blues and Cape Breton jams, and more music, singing, and jamming. A potluck and a birthday celebration for CDSS will take place from 5 to 7 p.m.

From 8 to 11 p.m., top local musicians will play for a range of dances, including square, English, and contra dances.

Sunday’s events begin at 10 a.m. and include couples dancing (mostly waltzes), gospel and Shape Note singing, looks at the history and future of traditional dancing, plus more music and jamming. Lunch (12:45 to 2 p.m.) will be followed by a session of dancing through the centuries.

There is also a dance on Nov. 13 featuring music by New York-based Matuto, which blends the music of Brazil and Appalachia. Calling the dance will be local favorite Eileen Thorsos.

Leading into the weekend will be TCD’s and Sun Assembly’s regular dances.

Sun Assembly sponsors English country dancing at 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays at the Freedman Center of Beth El Synagogue, at Watts and Green streets, in Durham.

TCD holds monthly contra dances at the Carrboro Century Center on the second Fridays, and at the Reality Center in Durham on the fourth and fifth Fridays.

Check out the complete schedule of events for the Triangle CDSS Centennial Celebration, November 14-15