Dancing at Hoppin’ John

Photo by Todd E. Gaul

Super-Fun dances will be happening in 2019! Tune in this summer for more information.

Here’s how it went in 2018:

Thursday in the Dance Tent

7pm – Square Dance with House Band, The Hoppin’ Johnnies and Caller, Nancy Mamlin

Not really the Hoppin’ Johnnies. Katy is missing.

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 finding30122752615_a25a141199_z 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 Red Herrings and Caller, Rodney Sutton

Presenting a range of traditional dance music from North Carolina and Virginia to mountain ballads and early country songs, The Red Herrings 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.  This All-Star band features Bob Herring, Erynn Marshall, Carl Jones, Amy Davis and Jon Newlin with Katy Shoemaker on bass.

Rodney Sutton, Green Grass Clogger founding member and caller extraordinaire calls the steps!

Saturday in the Dance Tent

11:30am – Clogging Workshop with the Green Grass Cloggers

30123116035_eae95baa6e_mFor 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.

8:30pm –  Country Dance with Surry Line

Ever wonder what would happen if someone handed an eight generation award-winning old time fiddle player from Surry County, NC a 1958 Gretsch anniversary electric guitar? What if he was accompanied by a singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist with a song list a mile long? Join them with a champion mandolin player and a distinctive, bluesy electric bass player and you’ll get Surry Line!
Along with their original songs, Surry Line’s list of cover tunes spans all the way from Elvis to Webb Pierce, Johnny Cash to Creedence Clear Water Revival to name a few. They have graciously agreed to play their country two-steppin’ selections for this dance — and we are very much looking forward to that!

9:45pm – 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 fivepointsPoints 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






13th Annual Festival!
September 12th - 14th, 2019
at Shakori Hills in
Silk Hope, NC
Find Us

1439 Henderson Tanyard Rd
Pittsboro, NC 27312