Contra dancers be forewarned to enjoy a night of high-energy dancing and calling as one of the most popular bands to play the Sautee contra dance returns for the fifth time on January 28, 2017. ContraForce -- a true force of nature -- has characteristically brought over 140 dancers to the historic gym at the Sautee Nacoochee Center. An additional treat for the evening will be the calling of Emily Abel, who frequently collaborates with ContraForce but is making this her first visit to Sautee.
ContraForce is a three-piece powerhouse of musicians that combines the frenzied bowing arm of fiddler Andrae Raffield, the syncopated rhythms of drummer and saxophone player Joey Dorwart, and the acoustic and electric guitar onslaught of Jimi Periano. The band’s primary goal has been to transform traditional contra dance music into a new, exciting, psychedelic force.
Andrae Raffield and Joey Dorwart played contra dances for over fifteen years before they decided to strike out on their own to explore a new vision. They teamed up with percussionist Jimi Periano, who began by experimenting with rocking out some fiddle tunes. The new band quickly escalated to writing the bulk of their own material, aiming its energies at stretching the boundaries of traditional dance tunes.
Emily Abel comes about her nickname, Rainbowface, readily, as she is well known for seemingly endless energy and enthusiasm, singing her calls and giving clear, concise instruction. Since 2014, she has called contras in 13 different states and traveled thousands of miles -- sometimes exclusively by bicycle.
Introductory lesson, 7:30 pm; dance, 8-11 pm. No partner or prior experience necessary. SNCA members, $7; non-members, $10; students (college, too), $5; children 12 and under, free. The SNC historic gym is located at 283 Highway 255 North, ¼ mile off Highway 17 in Sautee, Georgia.
Contact: (706) 878-3300; www.snca.org or www.sauteecontra.com.
By Charles Hawkins and Beth Marsh Hawkins
Dedicated volunteers who help keep the Sautee Community Contra Dance in the public eye.