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New Year's Eve Contra Dance - Joyce Miller & The Whoots

We'll be ringing in the New Year with Contra dancing to The Whoots with Joyce Miller calling.

The Whoots -- Michelle Levy (fiddle), Ben Schreiber (fiddle), and Jim Oakden (Everything Else) -- met playing for a contra dance at Burning Man 2011. Maybe it was the desert heat, a mirage of playa dust and flickering lights, or the EL wire hypnotically spiraling around Michelle’s bobbing fiddle bow, but something magical happened that night. Now they’ve teamed up with hot shot contra piano player Noel Cragg, longtime Bay Area fave and expert sound technician, to bring things up a notch...or ten.

About the Name: “WHOOT WHOOT!!!” is the sound dancers make when things really get cookin’; the musicians live for that. They also like the possible owl imagery that comes out of the name if taken one step further-- if Michelle designed a T-shirt with an owl on it, should we call it wHoot Couture? Traditional New England Contra Dance uses a blend of Irish, Scottish, French Canadian and Old Time music. ContraFusion is a fusion of traditional contra dance and techno contra dance: trad music mixed with pop, swing, and techno beats/lighting FX. www.facebook.com/TheWhoots


Caller: Joyce Miller (Grass Valley)
Joyce began contra dancing in the early 1990s in Sacramento and the Bay Area. After her calling debut in 2000, it didn't take long for Joyce to become one of the most sought-after callers in Northern California. Joyce has called throughout the western states and into Canada, spreading the gospel of dances selected for maximum enjoyment and taught with clarity and wit. As a caller, her goals are to match the program to the dancers, showcase the musicians, and avoid gimmicks. On the other hand, when the spirit moves her, Joyce has been known to call a singing square.

If you haven't done much contra dancing, come at 7:30 for an easy lesson to learn the basic moves. Before each dance, the caller teaches the dance and continues to prompt dancers as needed once the band starts. Because the pattern of moves is repeated often, you learn quickly. Very little footwork is required — just a smooth walking step. Wear low, smooth-soled shoes, and loose, comfortable clothes.

Contra video clip: http://youtu.be/TEBzuG54ptA

Door: $20 member, $25 non-member

More info - www.nbcds.org

Note: Please help NBCDS conserve resources by bringing your own water bottles/mugs to dances. Scent-free dancing is greatly appreciated as many have severe allergies. Children are welcome at dances if supervised by a responsible adult.

Dances are sponsored by the North Bay Country Dance Society, a non-profit organization that promotes and produces American and English Country dancing, music and song in the Wine Country north of San Francisco (Sonoma & Marin counties).

Hosts: Elaine Walters & Craig Meltzner

Dance Managers: Marlene Mahan & Karen Frazier

Sound: Marty Brenneis

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  • Craig M.

    We were lucky to have the creative and energetic Whoots playing and Joyce Miller calling. Joyce called easier dances before the break which helped the large number of beginning dancers and then offered some new challenging dances after the break. The beginning dancers were great sports and the regular dancers made everyone feel welcome. Food at the break was exceptional -- thanks Elaine and all the kitchen volunteers! The highlight for me was Jim Oakden playing the Galician pipes for one of the tunes.

    January 1, 2013

  • Larry D.

    Nice dance, good music, friendly people and a great evening, what better way to end the year. Larry

    January 1, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Shout out to caller Joyce - we had a huge number of newcomers and she had us all dancing within an hour. :)

    January 1, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    It was really fun! Think the Whoots have quite a future as the music was fantastic! And a special thanks to Elaine & volunteers for putting on an amazing spread of food at the break.

    January 1, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    so much fun that I submitted my membership application for the new year...can't wait for the next dance

    January 1, 2013

  • Marlene M

    I hadn't heard the Whoots before and they were an amazing band! Joyce did a fabulous job of calling and teaching some newcomers.

    January 1, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    are we bringing snacks again?

    December 22, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      If you want to, but not required! :)

      December 22, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      I would love to...assuming it can be a savory rathter than a sweets?

      December 23, 2012

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