Thanksgiving Dance Weekend

For our 32nd Dance Weekend, November 27-28, 2015,

Contra -:- English -:- Techno -:- Dance Music Jams -:- Balfolk -:- Waltz -:- Contra

Rochester Thanksgiving Festival 2014

photo courtesy Kathryn Mae Photography


The Groovemongers

Rebecca McCallum, Jane Knoeck, Mark Hellenberg with guest Tom Santarsiero

Buddy System

Noah VanNorstrand and Julie Vallimont

And more great music by

Ginger Majority
Rachel Bell

with calling by:

Susan Kevra

Katy Heine

Sound by

Tony Hernandez

Contra -:- English -:- Techno -:- Dance Music Jams -:- Balfolk -:- Waltz -:- Contra


Featured Performers

Fresh WaresSmooth Sailing

The Groovemongers

Founded in Rochester in the late ’90’s, The Groovemongers pioneered world based contradance music, and they deliver with rhythm, flair, and drive.  Popular at dance camps around the world, they set the standard for a great dance experience.

The Groovemongers are REBECCA MCCALLUM on fiddle, JANE KNOECK on piano, and MARK HELLENBERG on percussion. They are joined this year with guest stringmeister TOM SANTARSIERO on mandolin, guitar, and banjo.

Susan Kevra

SUSAN KEVRA burst onto the contra dance scene in the early 1990s in New England and honed her craft at her monthly dance series in Greenfield, MA for ten years. She now makes her home in Nashville, Tennessee, where she calls and organizes English, contra and square dances. She also travels to call at dance camps across the country and occasionally, around the globe.

Susan is noted for her warmth, clear teaching and lovely voice. Dancers on both sides of the Atlantic appreciate her diverse repertoire of contras, singing squares, Western patter calls, and English Country dances. She has choreographed a number of well loved contra and square dances, including “Trip to Phan Reel” and “The Hume Fogg Reel.”

Her calling and singing can be heard on the critically acclaimed CD, “Full Swing” featuring some of New England’s finest contra dance musicians. The CD contains a lengthy and entertaining booklet Susan wrote tracing the roots of New England contra dancing and a guide for new callers.

Susan Kevra

More Contra Performers


Buddy System

We’ll have rockin’ techno-contras Friday evening with Buddy System.

NOAH VANNORSTRAND is known for his playing with The Great Bear Trio, one of the hottest and most influential dance bands in the country, as well as the Andrew and Noah Band and Giant Robot Dance. His driving rhythm, epic dynamics, creativity, and uniquely rocking style have given him a loyal following.

JULIE VALLIMONT performs nationwide with the bands Nor’easter, Firecloud, and more. She is known for her driving piano style, skill in matching tunes to dances, and music with heart. The pioneer of this new live form of techno contra, she fuses musical worlds and strives to create a transcendent dance experience.

Katy Heine

Katy Heine

Katy Heine

Ithaca-based caller KATY HEINE has been leading contras and community dances in the Finger Lakes region and beyond for more than 25 years. She’s known for her clear teaching style and for her large repertoire of fun and flowing dances.

Rachel Bell

When she’s not running her music school in Bradford, RACHEL BELL rocks out with her accordion, the Amazing Alfredo. Rachel plays with Frivolity, Montage, Old World Charm School, and the Andrew & Noah Band. She extends the dance repertoire with great Gallic flair.

Sound Tech

Tony Hernandez

TONY HERNANDEZ is a full-time traveling sound engineer with over a dozen years of experience all around the country. He specializes in sound for acoustic music for dances, providing a high degree of intelligibility and acoustic clarity. Tony combines an in-depth understanding of the physics of sound production with a deep love and appreciation for music and the people who make it.

We love Tony. First because he’s just a great guy. He’s also just the best dance sound engineer there is. He’ll make sure the bands sound their best, the callers are clearly audible, and everyone is happy.


Weekend Schedule Highlights

  • Traditional and Techno Contra Dancing starts at 7:00 PM, Friday evening.
  • Wake-up Waltzes and English Country Dancing Saturday morning.  The Meryton Assembly Dancers will perform Saturday morning.
  • More Contra Dancing on Saturday during the day.
  • Balfolk and Hambo workshops Saturday afternoon.
  • The big Saturday evening Contra Dance at 7:30 PM.
  • Dance Music Jamming all day Saturday, open to all.  Bring your instrument, take a load off your feet, and jam!   Teach and learn dance tunes together.
  • Fabulous buffet lunch included with Saturday admission.
  • A fun way to organize for dining at nearby restaurants on Saturday.

We have a printable schedule.  We know you’ll have fun whatever you do!

Weekend Pricing

Regular Student w/ID
Full weekend, paid by November 6th
(includes Saturday lunch)
$55.00 $50.00
Full weekend at the door (includes Saturday lunch) $65.00 $50.00
Friday evening at the door $20.00 $15.00
Saturday evening at the door $20.00 $15.00
Saturday workshops (9-5) at the door (includes lunch) $30.00 $20.00

There are two ways to pre-register:

  • Use our convenient PayPal registration form:

    Dancer’s name:

  • Print out a paper pre-registration form and mail it in or bring it to one of our regular weekly dances.

How to get to the dance:

The dance is held at Salem United Church of Christ, 60 Bittner Street, Rochester, NY 14604. We have a map and directions to the dance.


Click here for pictures of the 2008 Thanksgiving Weekend, taken by Jeff Folkins. We have so much fun dancing, we don’t take very many pictures.

For more information, contact us by email.

See you on the dance floor!