English Country Dance Program:
New London Assembly
Week Two, July 12-19, 2015
Brad Foster, Director
An All-day program of classes, lectures, and evening dancing. Learn traditional English country dances and learn about the 17th-century country dances they inspired. You can also take a music class if you wish.
Faculty: Brad Foster and Andrew Shaw
Musicians: Anna Patton, Shira Kammen, and Karen Axelrod.
Dance tuition $540. Click here for information on Room and Board options.
Brad Foster, from Amherst, MA, has been dancing and teaching English country, contras and squares, and morris and sword for over 40 years. He is well known for sharing the joy found in dance, and has taught throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe, including at Pinewoods, Ogontz, Buffalo Gap, Timber Ridge, Berea, Mendocino, John C. Campbell Folk School, Augusta, the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, and Lady of the Lake. He is Executive and Artistic Director Emeritus of the Country Dance and Song Society, after 28 years as Director. He is also founder of the Bay Area Country Dance Society as well as co-founder of their English and American dance weeks. Photo by Marty Stock.
Andrew Shaw developed an enthralling interest in and enthusiasm for the history and performance of the English Country Dance as a teenager. Now as an interpreter and exponent of these dances, he teaches at weekends, festivals and other courses at home (England) and abroad, including three visits each to Pinewoods and Mendocino dance weeks in the USA. His own annual dance weekend at Halsway Manor in Somerset was inaugurated in 2001; featuring the musicians Paul Hutchinson and John Hymas, it draws dancers from far and wide.
Andrew's interest in the dances of the late 17th and early 18th centuries, especially those composed by Nathaniel Kynaston, has resulted in the publication of four dance collections to date: Mr. Kynaston's Famous Dance in 2000, The She Favourite in 2002, Emperor of the Moon in 2006 and Farnicle Huggy in 2009. In 2004, Andrew edited The Dances Of Brian Wedgbury, in memory of this fine dance composer and near-neighbour, with an accompanying CD by John and Sue Stapledon on English concertina, keyboards, and violin. Andrew lives near Altrincham in Cheshire where he runs the Lemmings Reprieve dance club - a name which oddly but neatly sums up his belief in the life-enhancing qualities of this dance form.
Anna Patton plays clarinet with great verve, clarity, and harmonic whim, drawing on a richly eclectic musical background of jazz, classical, traditional, and world music. Based in Brattleboro, VT, she performs full time for dances and concerts, composes and arranges music, and teaches ear training and swing harmony singing. Besides Elixir, Anna’s current projects include playing dance music with bands such as The Figments, string-band and vocal swing with Housetop, Brazillian and gypsy jazz gigs with The Will Patton Ensemble, and improvisatory Balkan/ African/ South American influenced originals with the As Yet Quintet. Her solo album, Isadore’s Breakfast – featuring her work on clarinet and vocals along with many of Vermont’s finest musicians – is a mix of French-influenced swing and fiddle tunes
Shira Kammen received her degree in music from UC Berkeley and studied vielle with Margriet Tindemans. A member for many years of Ensembles Alcatraz and Project Ars Nova, and Medieval Strings, she has also worked with Sequentia, Hesperion XX, the Boston Camerata, Teatro Bacchino, Kitka, and the King's Noyse, and is the founder of Class V Music, an ensemble dedicated to performance on river rafting trips. She has performed and taught in the United States, Canada, Europe, Israel, Morocco, and Japan, and on the Colorado and Rogue Rivers. Shira happily collaborated with singer/storyteller John Fleagle for fifteen years, and performs now with several new groups as well as Fortune's Wheel: a new music group, Ephemeros; an eclectic ethnic band, Panacea; and Trouz Bras, a group devoted to the dance music of Celtic Brittany. The strangest place Shira has played is in the elephant pit of the Jerusalem Zoo. She hopes to spend more time playing music of all kinds in the wilderness.
Karen Axelrod left the world of classical music over 25 years ago, and has found her home in the folk world. She is highly regarded for her creative piano playing at English, American and Scottish dance events around the country (including Pinewoods Dance Camps, Ogontz, Buffalo Gap, Berea Christmas Country Dance Week, The John C. Campbell Folk School, and BACDS events) and abroad. Her improvisational playing is lyrical, yet is touched with humor and whimsy. Karen is a member of the band Foxfire, with Daron Douglas. She also plays accordion for the renowned longsword team, Orion. In addition to her life as a musician, Karen is a dog walker. She is trying to complete a marathon in every state and not come in last. Karen used to perform comedy improv with The Villa Jidiots, and loves to teach improv to adults, children, and her canine clients.