Dancing at Hoppin’ John
Thursday in the Dance Tent
7pm – Square Dance with House Band, The Hoppin’ Johnnies and Caller, Nancy Mamlin
Our house band is an eclectic mix of available folks who love and contribute much to the whole Hoppin’ John scene, and have become one of Pittsboro’s best dance bands. The general lineup includes Gil McNeill and Greg Hanson on fiddles, Tim Wells on banjo, Steve Fagan on guitar and Katy Shoemaker on bass. But sometimes Cary Mokovitz or Ben Riesser drop in and switch up the whole protocol! Come out to this intimate Hoppin’ John kick-off and start your weekend off a dancin’! Nancy Mamlin will call the steps.
Nancy Mamlin, from Durham, has been calling square dances for 30 years. She is one of the co-founders of Dare To Be Square, a gathering of square dance callers and dancers, which began in 2003. She also plays guitar, and has been in various bands over the years, most recently the Bull City Trio with husband Ron Cole and Terry Burtyk. In her other life, she is a professor of special education at North Carolina Central University.
Friday in the Dance Tent
4:30pm – Freestyle Flatfooting Dance Workshop
Come ready for fun and exercise! Flatfooting is a percussive dance form – your feet beat the drum. In this workshop, we will explore freestyle flatfooting to old time music, practice finding the rhythm of a tune, learn some simple flatfooting steps and practice “playing the tune” with those steps. Jan Gittelman leads this instructional workshop to live music. Wear smooth-soled shoes if you can, and bring a towel and water bottle, because we are going to sweat!
8:30pm – Square Dance with the New Macedon Rangers and Caller, Liam Kelly
Presenting a range of traditional dance music from North Carolina and Virginia to mountain ballads and early country songs, The New Macedon Rangers honor the sound of great string bands from the region while also establishing a refreshingly original voice within the tradition. Seamless fiddling evokes the festival spirit of traditional string band music. The Rangers have performed alongside the Green Grass Cloggers and was named winner of the old-time band contests at last year’s Hoppin’ John and the 2018 Fiddlers’ Grove Festival. The band features Bob Herring, Andrew Small, Jon Newlin and Ashlee Watkins with John Gaster on bass.
LP Kelly has been calling square dances at festivals, community dances, and house parties throughout the Southern Appalachian Mountains for over ten years. His high-energy patter and clear teaching style have made him one of the most in-demand callers in the region. Steeped in the southern mountain tradition, he teaches and calls circle dances, four-couple squares, Virginia reels, and two-steps and waltzes with a style both approachable by beginners and loved by experienced dancers.
Saturday in the Dance Tent
11:30am – Clogging Workshop with the Green Grass Cloggers
For forty-six years (!) now, the Green Grass Cloggers have been kicking up their heels with their own style of clogging in their home state of North Carolina, and around the world. Inspired by traditional mountain-style clogging teams and influenced by Appalachian flatfooters and buckdancers, they developed an original, eclectic style of dance, which was a radical departure from traditional team clogging. Today’s Green Grass Cloggers include dancers from multiple generations continuing that Green Grass style!
6pm – Family Dance & Cake Walk with the Hoppin’ Johnnies & Caller Kyle Johnston
Everyone gets the chance to square dance this year, even if their bedtime is before 8pm! Join in this family dance for all ages. Our family band rendition of the Hoppin’ Johnnies plays the tunes with Kyle Johnston to teach the steps, providing instruction for each dance beforehand and calling easy-to-follow squares. The family dance is followed by the ever-popular cake walk!
Kyle Johnston is a homegrown local dance caller, having fallen in love with dance the moment he was introduced. He is not afraid to branch out, but calls mostly square dances, family dances, and contras. Kyle specializes in working with beginners, helping them find the confidence they need, and the excitement and joy of the dance. Loving all things folk, Kyle is also an organizer for the Triangle Shape Note Singers, a member of the Apple Chill Cloggers, and is currently working on his musicianship so he can eventually play the music he loves.
8pm – Cliff Hale and the Grand Ol’ Osprey, Country Dance
9:30pm – Rowdy Square Dance with the Five Points Rounders, Caller Nancy Mamlin
Now a Hoppin’ John Saturday night tradition, this band was formed specifically for rowdy square dancin’ — fast, loose and fun. The Five Points Rounders feature David Bass on fiddle, Colin Booy playing banjo, Tracy Lafleur on guitar and Jim O’Keefe on bass. The “rowdies” have developed a cult following (well, of sorts) here in the Triangle…trying to keep up to this thrashin’ old-time music is the bulk of the fun. Nancy Mamlin calls the steps, with a quick lesson and walk-thru before each tune.
Saturday on the Main Stage
1pm (following Youth Instrument Contest) – Youth Dance Contest
The competition is getting tough with the young dancers! Stop by the main stage and support the next generation of flat-foot, buck dancers and cloggers.
7pm – Clogging Performance with the Green Grass Cloggers
See description above.
End of the Band Contest – Adult Dance Contest