Do-si-do at Sunday afternoon contra dance at The Palms on Oct. 6

Eric Hoffman will call to the music of the Sactown Revelers. Admission is $12 general/$8 students. 
Eric Hoffman will call to the music of the Sactown Revelers (from left, Kathrine Gardner, Allen Barnes and Cynthia Llano) at a contra dance at The Palms Playhouse in Winters on Sunday, Oct. 6. The lesson will start at 1:30 p.m.; the dance is 2-5 p.m. Admission is $12 general/$8 students. Courtesy photo

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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, Oct. 6. 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.  Eric Hoffman will call to the music of the Sactown Revelers. Admission is $12 general/$8 students.  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. Hoffman, who will call the Oct. 6 dance, has been calling contra and square dances since 1985 and is an expert at getting people unfamiliar with the style up and having a great time dancing. Hoffman is also a decorated fiddler and traditional singer.   The Oct. 6 band, the Sactown Revelers, play for dances throughout the region. Fiddler Kathrine Gardner, guitarist and mandolinist Allen Barnes and pianist and guitarist Cynthia Llano comprise the Sactown Revelers.  A hallmark of contra dancing is that dancers don’t stay matched with one partner, and no partners are needed for the Oct. 6 dance. Dancers are welcome to arrive solo, with friends or with family.  SCDS and Palms events are accessible to people with disabilities. The bar will be open with all of the usual refreshments available for purchase.  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 palmsplayhouse.com, sactocds.wordpress.com and erikhoffman.com.

Caller Eric Hoffman is shown here calling and fiddling for a barn dance in Bolinas in 2010.
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