On Saturday, September 28, SNCA will have a contra dance with music by the band Contraplicity and calling by Tavi Merrill. Contraplicity will be familiar to Sautee contra dancers under the band’s former name, Free Association. This dance will be preceded by a potluck dinner, to which all are invited—just bring a dish to share.
Get ready to dance to an exuberant mix of northern and southern contra dance music and a number of original tunes played by the three talented musicians of Contraplicity. Their repertoire and style draw from New England, Quebecois, Celtic, contemporary, and old-time tunes, and other influences that make their way “into our music by a process of free association.”
The band members are Bob Kirkman on fiddle, Bill Porter on flutes and whistles, and Stven Carlberg on piano. These three each have played contra dance music for many years but first played together in 2008 as a pick-up band for the mid-week contra dance in Atlanta, Georgia. Since putting their act on the road, Contraplicity has enlivened contra dances in five states and a dozen cities across the Southeast.
Tavi Merrill will be calling in Sautee for the first time. Tavi was introduced to contradance in the grange halls of rural Maine shortly after taking up fiddle in his late teens. After co-founding a successful dance series near Bangor, and energized by open mic opportunities at the Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend, he began calling in 2007.
With a move to Boston in 2011, he redoubled his efforts to grow as a dance leader, and has since called in ten states from New England to Florida. He is grateful for the camaraderie and encouragement of "calleagues" like Chris Ricciotti, Nils Fredland, Lisa Greenleaf, George Marshall, and of developing-caller peers around Boston.
With a warm, reassuring stage presence and rhythmic, lyrical delivery, Tavi strives to both welcome newcomers and stimulate experienced dancers. He takes seriously the opportunity to steward and interpret our tradition - from stately to stomptastic, with all its uncommon courtesy and kinematic vorticity - but he has also loads of fun with it.
Come join the friendly dancers of Sautee. If you have contra danced you know how much fun it can be. If not, come on out to try it. If you can walk you can contra dance. The caller will tell you the moves, so learning the dance is not necessary.
No experience is needed. It is not necessary to bring a partner. Bringing snacks to share is welcomed. Bring a dinner dish to share if you come for the potluck, which starts at 6:30 pm. There is a free contra dance lesson at 7:30 pm., followed by dancing at 8:00 pm. This fun event is held at the Sautee Nacoochee Cultural Center historic gym, at 283 Highway 255 N., ¼ mile off Highway 17 in Sautee, Georgia, (706) 878-3300. Admission: Students & Teens $6, SNCA members $8,and non-members $10. Visit www.Sauteecontra.com or www.snca.org for more information.
By Charles Hawkins, Beth Marsh Hawkins, and Jeanie Daves
Dedicated volunteers who help keep the Sautee Community Contra Dance in the public eye.