Many people are puttin’ on Puttin’ On the Dance. The conference organizers are Chrissy Fowler, Delia Clark, Linda Henry, and Mary Wesley. A host of other dance organizers are offering invaluable support – as advisors, workshop session leaders, promotion enthusiasts, and more. Meet the conference leadership!
Chrissy Fowler’s passion for contra dancing sprouted in graduate school at UNH in the early 1990s, with her roots nourished at Seacoast dances and the Ralph Page Weekend by leaders like Marianne Taylor and Peter Yarensky, and her branches stretched at NEFFA’s Thursday dance at the Cambridge VFW. In 1996, Chrissy co-founded a successful contra series in Dover, NH and in 1999 she called her first contra dance. She lived in Western MA for a year, then moved to Belfast, ME and co-founded the Belfast Flying Shoes Dance Series. Over the years, Chrissy has served on the Ralph Page Memorial Committee, co-catalyzed a mini-conference for callers & musicians, helped cultivate new callers in Maine, and led festival sessions on dance series management. A card-carrying fan of DEFFA, CDSS, NEFFA, and LSF, Chrissy is currently the registrar for Star Hampshire Dance Weekend, a regular presence at Maine Fiddle Camp, a self-employed educator, dance leader, freelance editor, and the parent of an aspiring dance musician named Theo.
Delia Clark’s work life focuses on building community sustainability through place-based education and the facilitation of deep dialogue among diverse groups, including extensive experience in meeting and conference coordination. (Her consulting business is Confluence Associates.) Over the past seven years Delia has been thrilled to find that she can leverage the expertise she has gained in her professional life and her long-time love of contra dancing, to the cause of building community through dance. With funding from the Vermont Folklife Center, Delia had the opportunity to complete a yearlong dance calling apprenticeship with David Millstone that opened the door to a world of other training and calling opportunities. In 2007 she helped launch the Woodstock Third Friday Community Dance, where she serves on the dance committee and calls regularly with the house band Old Sam Peabody, in which her husband, Tim Traver, plays accordion. Her three children are all accomplished musicians in their own right and, on the rare occasions all are together, they form a family band. Delia looks forward to welcoming all to her home region for Puttin’ On the Dance.
Over the last 20 years, Linda Henry has worn many hats on staff at the Country Dance and Song Society. She especially enjoys her current role as Outreach Manager, offering CDSS grants and logistical support for events and projects throughout the U.S. and Canada. She is committed to providing resources for dance organizers, has written a Make It Happen manual, and is excited to help make leadership conferences happen around the country, including this conference and the Southeast Leadership Conference in 2010. Linda’s contra dance roots date back to dancing in the early 80s at the original Old Farmers Ball near Asheville, NC. She learned to play contra piano and organized a local dance for several years, then followed her love of contra dancing to New England in 1986. After immersing herself in the Boston dance scene, Linda moved to western MA and organized the Northampton Family Dance for 5 years. When she realized that many families (including her own) were ready to graduate, she passed the torch and created a new community contra dance series, Fiddlers Green Contra Dance, that’s now in its 6th season. Linda enjoys welcoming sit-in musicians at these 4th Sat dances in South Amherst, MA. Y’all come!
Raised in the cradle of Vermont’s Green Mountains, Mary Wesley found her way to a Burlington contra dance in the fall of 2005 and took to it like a duck to water. She was later happy to learn that the tradition is in her DNA – she is the grand-daughter of two square dance callers! Mary stirs many pots in her local community. In 2008 she helped found Burlington’s “On the Border Morris,” Vermont’s only Border side, and now serves as their Fore-woman. She also started calling in 2008 and keeps a full schedule, which has included gigs up and down both coasts! As a caller she is most proud to be a founding member of the Mad Robin Callers Collective – an innovative consortium of dance callers who work together to provide peer support and create opportunities for callers of all experience levels. As a Mad Robin, Mary helps run a monthly dance series on 4th Fridays in Burlington, featuring the Collective at the mic. Mary also wears her organizer hat as an active board member of Young Tradition Vermont, a non-profit fostering youth involvement in traditional dance and music, for which she helps coordinate various workshops, concerts and an annual Youth Showcase. In 2011, Mary became the newest CDSS Youth Intern. Mary moonlights as an archaeologist and museum caretaker.
Here’s a glimpse of our October 2011 planning retreat in Belfast, Maine: Delia & Linda in their dancing dresses and Chrissy & Mary in their cooking clothes.