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New England Music to Lift Dancers Feet!

Friday 27 May 4pm — Sunday 29 May 4pm, 2022

To make a booking enquiry please complete the form below. We will contact you to confirm availability and complete your booking.

Course Enquiry

  • Halsway Manor will not share your details with any third parties.


Full board per person (tuition, activities, all meals & accommodation):

  • £270– single ensuite room
  • £232– sharing an ensuite room
  • £232– single non-ensuite room
  • £185– sharing non-ensuite room

Camping per person (tuition, activities, all meals):

  • £175

Non Resident (tuition, activities, all meals except breakfast):

  • £165

Formerly known as The Stringray’s weekend, this is a packed weekend of workshops for musicians wanting to discover and explore New England style music for the love of playing for dancing!

The weekend will explore the style of music associated with New England and American contra and how it connects with dance. All instruments and levels welcome. You’ll learn some great repertoire, explore music and musicality as well as dance-focused accompaniment, with time for some instrument specific instrument support too. There will be approachable challenges to get your teeth into and with this line up it will be extraordinary fun too!

We’re delighted to welcome Max Newman (guitar) and Stuart Kenney (banjo, bass), of Stringrays. Stringrays (USA) is an inimitable band of musicians fuelled by shared a love of the living tradition of New England fiddle music and its cousins. They’re some of the finest contradance musicians playing today, known for their dynamic, lyrical improvisation and fresh, dance-inspired interplay.  They are joined by vibrant fiddle musician Audrey Knuth (who is standing in for Rodney Miller). Together Max, Stuart and Audrey will lead this invigorating weekend of Americana dance music for musicians.

PLUS, Rachel Shapiro Wallace joining us for the weekend to give us a caller’s perspective, it would be rude not to include some dancing so bring your dancing shoes!

This weekend runs alongside a Walking Weekend – members of which are invited to join in the Friday evening bar session and Saturday evening concert and dance.

Who’s it For?

All instruments and levels welcome; you’ll need sufficient grasp of your instrument to be able to join in and have fun, but not every band member need be a virtuoso! Tunes will be taught by ear and with sheet music available. The weekend is not aimed at dancers, but do bring your dancing shoes as we will be exploring ‘playing for dancing’ from both sides!

The Team

Max: With a focus on the nuances and delights of dance music, Max has spent a good portion of his life playing dances great and small across the continent. His varied, joyful presence on stage is refreshing, fun, and creative, and has allowed him to collaborate with a great variety of traditional musicians.

Stuart: From New England grange halls to festival dance tents, Stuart is a go-to player whose presence is immediately recognizable. His career spans several traditional music genres, beginning with cutting his teeth with the legendary Cajun musician Dewey Balfa, followed by a prodigious output, including Airdance with Rodney, Celtic groove band The Sevens, and Quebecois band Tidal Wave.

Audrey Knuth: Is standing in from Rodney Miller. 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!

Rachel Shapiro Wallace is a dance caller who strives to communicate the joy of dancing, whether she is calling at a dance, festival, weekend, wedding, or public event. Having stumbled upon contra dancing in Boston, Rachel eventually realized her passion for calling after moving to Chicago. Since then she has called throughout the Midwest, Southeast, New England, and since moving to her current home in Edinburgh, Scotland, Rachel has called in Paris and the United Kingdom. Rachel’s high-energy approach involves clear, concise walk-throughs, flexibility in teaching and programming, and working with the band to create that groove that dancers love.