Author Archives: Admin

April 2016 Announcements

There’s a lot going on in April! Here are a few announcements and reminders:

!!!Change of Venue!!!  After this week, the next four dances April 21, April 28, May 5, and May 12–will be held at the Reality Center (916 Lamond Ave, Durham, NC 27701) at our usual time, 7:30-9:30 p.m. To protect their soft wood floor, please wear non-marking shoes to dance in, and refrain from eating or drinking (other than water) in the dance hall.

Dance of the Month: Due to its popularity at this year’s Spring DanceFest, and because it often shows up on ball and weekend programs, our April dance of the month is Companions, a modern longways by Victor Skowronski. Please find instructions attached. Here is a link to a video:

The Highlanders on April 14: Come early to the Freedman Center this Thursday, April 14, to hear a musical performance by Julie and Mara’s students. In addition to a short concert beginning at 7:15 pm, they will also play for the first two dances of the evening.

Bob Dalsemer and the Elftones on April 21: Bob Dalsemer, from Brasstown, NC, will be our guest caller on Thursday, April 21 at the Reality Center. Bob was formerly Executive Director of the John C. Campbell Folk School, and the recipient of the CDSS Lifetime Contribution Award in 2011. Special music will be provided by the fiddle-guitar duo The Elftones (Mara Shea and Roger Gold).

Asheville Spring Evening Ball on April 23: English Country Dance Asheville will be hosting their annual ball at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church (337 Charlotte St., Asheville, NC 28801) from 7:00-10:30 pm. Bob Thompson will be leading the dances. Live music will be provided by Atossa Kramer (piano), Cathy Arps (violin), and Lisa Smith (flute). Earlier in the day there will be two workshops. Please see attached flyer for more details. Also visit:

ECD Weekend at John C. Campbell Folk School: Celebrate May Day with English country dancing, April 29-May 1. Dancing will be led by Gene Murrow from New York, NY, and Bob Thompson from Asheville, NC. Live music will be provided by Atossa Kramer, Mara Shea, Kathy Talvitie, Barbara Greenberg, and Daniel Beerbohm. For more information, visit:

March 2016 announcements

Dear Dancers,

Here are some announcements for March:

1) Dance of the Month: Our March dance of the month is Spring Garden, a 4-couple longways dance from Playford’s Dancing Master, 1665-1728. The instructions are here (link).  We could not find a video that portrays the interpretation we’ll be dancing.

2) Spring DanceFest, March 12-13Welcome Spring at our annual DanceFest THIS weekend! We are thrilled to have Brooke Friendly, from Ashland, OR, leading a weekend of dances and workshops at the Shared Visions Retreat Center in Durham. Music will be provided by our own fabulous Mara Shea (fiddle), Joey O’Donnell (viola), Walt Robinson (recorders), Dean Herington (clarinet), and Julie Gorka (piano). Brooke will be sharing new dances from her (and Chris Sackett’s) latest collection of Impropriety dances: Vol. 5. We’ll also dance some old favorites and do a little singing too. So much fun, you don’t want to miss it! Come for individual sessions or the entire weekend.Even if you haven’t already registered, we’ll welcome you at the door. See you there!

If you want to make it a full weekend, Brooke will also be calling the Triangle Country Dancer’s Friday, March 11, contra dance at Carrboro Century Center.

3) Venue Change: Remember that our March 17 dance will be held at the Reality Center (916 Lamond Ave, Durham, NC 27701). To protect their soft wood floor, please wear non-marking shoes to dance in, and also note that food is not allowed in the dance hall.

4) 5th Thursday Special Topic: Join us on March 31 for an evening of “Chestnuts,” led by Pat Petersen. In the early days of Sun Assembly, our dance repertoire, compared to today’s vast resources, was fairly limited. For our fifth Thursday special topic, we’ll revisit dances from our 1980’s programs, dances that don’t get programmed as much as they deserve because we have so many more to choose from (and possibly because some of us may crave novelty, or feel we’ve done them to death!). These dances were, and remain, the foundation of our repertoire. For those who have come to dancing more recently, they may be so old that they’re new!

See you on the dance floor!

Dance in the New Year with Sun Assembly

What:          Sun Assembly New Year’s Eve Dance

When:         Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015
:                   8:30 p.m. until . . . the New Year

Where:        The Ark, Duke University East Campus
:                   14 Epworth Lane, Durham, NC   (map)

Teachers:     Allan Troxler and Russell Herman

Musicians:   The Ark Angels (Julie Gorka, Walt Robinson, Dean Herington)

Admission:   $18 members
:                     $20 non-members
:                     Free for dancers age under the age of 12
:                     Free for DUKE STUDENTS!

Other info:   Everyone is welcome
:                     All dances will be taught
:                     No partner or experience is necessary
:                     Please bring a finger food to share for the refreshment break
:                     No alcohol, please
:                     Wear non-marking shoes or socks to dance in

Questions:   Email

Spring DanceFest 2016

Save the Date!
Sun Assembly Presents Spring DanceFest 2016, March 12-13, at the Shared Visions Retreat Center (
Calling by Brooke Friendly, and music by Syllabub and friends — Mara Shea, Julie Gorka and Walt Robinson.
Saturday morning and afternoon workshops; Saturday evening and Sunday dances.
Event website:  Link

New Years Eve Dance for 2014 — All Are Welcome

Our annual New Year’s Eve dance will be Wednesday, Dec. 31, starting at 8:30 pm at The Ark on Duke’s East Campus in Durham. Live music by Syllabub & friends. Allan Troxler and Russell Herman will teach the dances.
Beginners are welcome and all dances will be taught. No partner is needed. Refreshments at the break (feel free to bring finger food to share). No alcohol please.
No special dress required. Feel free to come as festive as you want. Please wear non-marking shoes or dance in your socks.
Admission is $20 for non-members or $18 for members, and it’s free for Duke students and children under 12.  Join or renew membership for 2015 at these rates: $20 regular member; $250 sustaining member (includes fees for all regular dance classes and New Year’s Eve.
Have a question? Call (919) 683-9672

Come As a Dance on Halloween

You’re invited to dress in a way that represents an English country dance on Thursday, Oct. 31. If you’re not into dressing up for Halloween, come and enjoy trying to guess the creative costumes that you’ll see.

Here are a few examples from recent years: Orange Nan, Sparkling Eyes, and Scotch Cap.

One of the photos above is from a recent Halloween and here’s another.