Our much loved annual American Contra Dance Week is hosted by Meg Winters with guests: caller Will Mentor (USA), and the top contra band, fabulous fiddle player Audrey Knuth (USA), beats maestro Stuart Kenney (USA), plus Alex Cumming (Somerset born now Boston USA based)! There will be dance and music workshops in the mornings, afternoons are free for you to explore this lovely area, and there are dances every evening. This is a really popular week so Early booking is advised.
Who’s it For?
Dancers of all levels of experience.
“This has been the best American contra week I’ve attended, very enjoyable, excellent dancing and great company. Great to learn from Americans, and Meg is a wonderful host.” Participant
Meg Winters is a familiar face at Halsway Manor, and the perfect, friendly and knowledgeable host to make sure you get the best from your break at Halsway!
Will Mentor is a contra and square dance caller from northern Vermont known for his clear teaching, upbeat wit, and relaxed stage presence. He loves to choreograph evenings with a variety of dances and tempos that at times surprise and always delight. All the while, keeping intact his guiding principle as a caller: “It’s about the dancers!”
Lighthouse will be providing the music to inspire your week and get you dancing. Lighthouse are Audrey Knuth, Stuart Kenney and Alex Cumming.You know Audrey is performing if the room is buzzing at a higher level. Her fiddling, featured in bands including The Free Raisins, The Gaslight Tinkers, and Wake Up Robin, has electrified dance halls across the US and Europe. Stuart is one of the most in-demand upright players on the contra circuit. His flexibility and personality allow him to play with many successful dance bands, including the Stringrays and Wild Asparagus. Alex is a traditional Accordionist, Pianist, Singer and dance caller hailing from Somerset, now living in Brattleboro, Vermont. He performs songs and tunes from around the United Kingdom and America with a great depth of knowledge of the tradition. Alex has made his mark on the folk scene with his rhythmic danceable accordion style, his strong voice and his fun and engaging stage presence
Audrey Knuth: Her fiddling, featured in bands including The Free Raisins, The Gaslight Tinkers, Audacious (with Larry Unger), and Wake Up Robin, has electrified dance and concert halls across the US and Europe. Hailing from Honolulu and now living in California, she cut her folk teeth in the Boston area, attending Berklee College of Music and spending years exploring the thriving New England folk scene. Audrey’s fiddle playing is rhythmically lively and spontaneous; she’s guaranteed to get you up and dancing. She specializes in English dance, New England, Celtic, and Old Time tunes . She’s taught workshops at Pinewoods, Ashokan Northern Week, BACDS American week and New London Assembly. You know Audrey Knuth is performing if the room is buzzing at a higher level!
Stuart Kenney is the go-to man for bass thump and banjo twang! His long career in traditional music has included cutting his teeth with the legendary Dewey Balfa, and prodigious output with numerous groups and contra dance bands, including Airdance with Rodney and Undertoe with Karen Tweed. He also plays with Quebecois band Tidal Wave and Celtic groove band The Sevens. His solo banjo album The Red Case has earned him numerous accolades.
Alex Cumming is a traditional Singer, Accordionist, Pianist and dance caller hailing from Somerset, England, now living in Greater Boston, MA, USA. He performs songs and tunes from around the United Kingdom and America with a great depth of knowledge of the tradition. Alex has made his mark on the folk scene with his rhythmic dance-able accordion style, strong voice and his fun and engaging stage presence.