In addition to our many fine Michigan musicians and dance leaders, we have...

The Groovemongers

For years, The Groovemongers have been thrilling contra dancers with a world beat approach to dance music. Countless tours, festival weekends and dance camps in 32 US states, Canada, the UK and the Caribbean have forged an ensemble that is equally at home with crafted musical arrangements as with jam band improv. Pioneers of groove contra, the band works with callers to create a great dance experience, expertly matching tunes to dances and drawing from a breathtaking variety of styles and rhythms. From Celtic to Calypso, Southern to Salsa, Old England to New England, Motown to Cape Town, plus a liberal dose of American Rock 'n' Roll, the Groovemongers' memorable tunes and driving rhythms fuse into a spicy mix that is irresistibly danceable.

Jane Knoeck , on piano and accordion, has played for contra dance festivals and camps throughout the U.S. and abroad with the Groovemongers and other bands. Her musical beginnings were in classical piano and voice studies. She entered the instrumental folk music world upon discovering the hammered dulcimer. Contra dance bands followed and she's been playing for dances ever since on piano and accordion, weaving a variety of musical influences into her style. She also enjoys playing for both English and Scottish country dance.

Rebecca McCallum grew up playing classical violin, but began to transform from a "violinist" to a "fiddler" shortly after college. In the midst of the driving rhythm and danceability of her fiddling, you can still hear signs of that classical precision and tone. She favors northern styles of music in her contra fiddling, but also indulges her Mediterranean roots by playing in a Greek band as well.

Tom Santarsiero's eclectic approach to guitar, mandolin, banjo, and foot percussion anchors the music in a contagious rhythm, while giving both his fellow musicians and dancers room for expression.

Mark Hellenberg has been playing traditional music for over forty years, beginning as a drummer in his father's bagpipe band in the early sixties. Since then, Hellenberg has been featured as a percussionist on over a dozen recordings including two Green Linnet releases by the Celtic ensemble, The House Band. He is currently also a member of The Sevens and the Ohio based Hotpoint String Band and has worked with other contra dance luminaries including the Reckless Ramblers and Wild Asparagus. When not playing music, Mark works as a producer and Classical music host at Ohio University Public Radio in Athens, Ohio.

Scott Higgs

Caller Scott Higgs: "Many kinds of dancing bring me great joy. In particular, contra, English, morris, and couple dancing each offer wonderful delights. It is my privilege and pleasure to teach and to share these delights with others." Scott earns his daily bread as a freelance computer consultant. For 25 years he has traveled the world (25 states and 6 foreign countries) calling for contras and English country dances. Dancers characterize Scott's contras as "high-energy" and "swingy." His English dance programs span the spectrum from exuberant to elegant. Scott has composed dozens of dances, and served as President of the Germantown Country Dancers. His first booklet of dance compositions, Early One Morning, appeared in the last century (!). Dances from that collection have been performed across the U.S. and Europe, and reprinted in anthologies in the U.S. and the U.K. Scott has led week-long workshops at Pinewoods (20+ years in a row), Buffalo Gap, Mendocino, Ashokan, and Mainewoods Camps. CDSS hired Scott to design and lead special intensive courses for English Dance Leaders, and then tapped him as Program Director for English American Week at Pinewoods. Scott's latest enthusiasm: Renegade Morris, now entering its eighth season of high-energy dancing.

Cathy Stephens

From Ontario, Canada, Cathy is an internationally-known dance instructor, choreographer and historian. She returns to teach couples and vintage dance and to host the ever-popular Cathy's Lounge.