Do-si-do at Sunday afternoon contra dance at The Palms on May 5

Kelsey Hartman will call to the music of Deniz Akin, Will Wheeler and Lisa Illés. Admission is $12 ($8 with student ID).
Kelsey Hartman will call to the music of (from left) flutist Lisa Illés and guitarists Will Wheeler and Deniz Akin at a contra dance at The Palms Playhouse in Winters on Sunday, May 5. The lesson will start at 1:30 p.m.; the dance is 2-5 p.m. Admission is $12 ($8 students).

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Get ready to do-si-do, swing your partner and promenade at a contra dance at The Palms Playhouse on Sunday, May 5. Hosted by The Palms and the Sacramento Country Dance Society, the event will start with a beginners’ orientation and lesson at 1:30 p.m. followed by dancing from 2 to 5 p.m. Kelsey Hartman will call to the music of Deniz Akin, Will Wheeler and Lisa Illés. Admission is $12 ($8 with student ID). Contra dance music is lively reels or jigs in the Celtic and bluegrass traditions. Traditional contra dance is a precursor of square dancing, but is unrelated to modern country and western line dancing. Contra dance in America evolved from English country dances and has been enjoyed continuously since the time of the English colonies in America as a true community dance. Lighthearted and social, contra is danced in two lines of couples that dance various patterns or figures with one another. By the end of the overall pattern, each leading couple will have exchanged places with another couple, and the dance repeats until all couples in the lines have danced with one another. The dancers follow the instructions of a caller, who usually teaches each dance first. Once the band strikes up a tune, the caller matches the dancers’ steps to the music. Hartman, who will call the May 5 dance, calls herself a “contraholic,” and dances or calls dances most weekends. Her inspiration for calling comes from Nils Fredland, whose callers’ workshop in 2012 spurred her down the caller’s path. When calling, she considers herself a conduit between the dancers and the band, helping to channel the joy of the music through flowing, interesting dances. Deniz Akin is involved in just about all aspects of contra dance—calling, playing, programming and dancing. As a guitarist for several different contra dance bands, she draws from both Irish and American traditions to create driving, dynamic and danceable rhythms. Will Wheeler, also in the Bay Area band the wiNgNuts, plays powerful, diverse guitar and adds driving foot percussion. Flutist Lisa Illés grew up playing classical music and started playing Irish folk music two years ago. She describes her flutes as extensions of herself and hopes to study folk music in Ireland after she graduates from UC Davis. A hallmark of contra dancing is that dancers don’t stay matched with one partner, and no partners are needed for Sunday’s dance. Dancers are welcome to arrive solo, with friends or with family. SCDS and Palms events are accessible to people with disabilities. Tickets are available at Pacific Ace Hardware in Winters, Armadillo Music in Davis, Davids’ Broken Note in Woodland, online via The Palms’ website and Eventbrite, and at the door if not sold out. For more information, visit and  ]]>

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