Dancing at Hoppin’ John

Photo by Todd E. Gaul

It’s all about the dance…

Thursday in the Dance Tent

7:30pm – Square Dance with The Hoppin’ Johnnies, Caller Nancy Mamlin

Photo by Jason Beverly

We are SO excited that the called dance is back at Hoppin’ John this year!

Our house band is an eclectic mix of available folks who love and contribute so much to the whole Hoppin’ John scene, and have become one of Pittsboro’s best dance bands. The general lineup includes Gil McNeill, Greg Hanson on fiddles and banjo, Cary Moskovitz on the 4-string banjo, Steve Fagan on guitar and Katy Shoemaker playing bass. 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.

Friday in the Dance Tent

4:30pm – Flatfooting Dance Workshop with Ruth Pershing

You’ve heard the saying, “If you can walk, you can dance,” right? In this flatfooting workshop, you’ll learn to walk a little differently, using your whole foot and differentiating every sound it can make. With that springy lilt in your walk, you’ll learn to imitate the rhythm of an old-time tune with your combination of steps and improvise right along with the musicians. We’ll start at a beginning level and add variations and techniques for intermediate dancers as well. Wear smooth-soled shoes that can slide at least a little. Ruth is an experienced and delightful teacher flatfooting/clogging and has been dancing with the Cane Creek Cloggers for nearly four decades. Singing and playing banjo is her meditation after her day job teaching high school science in Saxapahaw. Located in the Dance Tent.

8:30pm –  Square Dance with the Firescald Stringband, Caller Ruth Pershing

Hailing from and around Madison County, NC, the Firescald Stringband the Firescald Stringband is David Hughes on fiddle, Cary Fridley playing bass, Ben Owen on guitar, and his dad, Jake Owen, playing banjo. Each playing in multiple musical configurations around Buncombe, Madison and Haywood Counties, they also teach together at the local Junior Appalachian Musicians camps and programs.

Photo by Girl with 3 Dogs Photography

Ruth Pershing has long been active in traditional music and dance circles, performing with the Cane Creek Cloggers since 1985, and has called dances all across the U.S. She studied buck dance with bluesman John Dee Holeman of Durham, and worked with Mike Seeger to co-produce Talking Feet, a video-documentary on southern step dance. She even hosted Back Porch Music on WUNC-FM for a few years. Now also a mother of three tap-dancing, fiddle playing kids in Chapel Hill, Ruth will having you swinging your partner and having fun in the return of the Friday night square!

Saturday in the Dance Tent

10am – Kids Clogging with Tampa Enoch-Reese

Suggested for ages 5 and up, this workshop provides a basic introduction to clogging, just for kids! Participants will learn fundamental clogging steps through fun, confidence-building exercises. They’ll also have opportunities to express themselves creatively with this energetic dance tradition. Comfortable, closed-toe shoes are recommended. Tampa Enoch is an educator, dancer and musician from Mebane, North Carolina. At an early age, she learned to flatfoot and buck dance from her grandmother, and she carries the tradition forward by teaching percussive dance to children both in her family and in the wider community. Tampa has been a member of Chapel Hill’s Cane Creek Cloggers since 2014 and has worked in public libraries as a youth services librarian for 18 years. In her free time she enjoys playing banjo and sharing about the rich and complex history of the instrument.

10:45pm – Clogging Workshop with the Green Grass Cloggers

30123116035_eae95baa6e_mCome dance with the Green Grass Cloggers, as they celebrate 50 years together (albeit one year late)! Last year was their 50th Anniversary! This eclectic and intergenerational group of high-energy dancers have been sharing their own style of clogging in their home state of North Carolina, and around the world for half a century. 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!

Stick around after the workshop for their reunion gathering, where long-time members share stories and remembrances.

5:15pm – Family Square Dance Workshop & Cake Walk with the Hoppin’ Johnnies, Caller Aaron Ratcliffe

Everyone gets the chance to square dance, even if your bedtime is before 8pm! Join in this family dance for all ages. Our family band rendition of the Hoppin’ Johnnies plays the tunes, while a caller teaches the steps, providing instruction for easy-to-follow squares. The workshop and dance is followed by the ever-popular cake walk!

Aaron Ratcliffe plays and teaches old-time music on a number of instruments, and he is a skilled flatfoot dancer and dance caller with deep roots in western North Carolina. Aaron started calling old-time square dances almost 20 years ago, and has called for public and private events across the Southeast. Aaron was an organizer for NC Squares, a monthly traditional old-time square dance in Chapel Hill/Durham, NC until 2018. His patient and fun calling style will have everyone in the family en


8pm – Country Dance with Hooverville

Come throw down with veteran country outfit Hooverville as they blend bold harmonies and rowdy country music to deliver their signature vintage sound. Shuffle, two-step, waltz, and swing your partner across the floor to a mix of classic country standards and timeless originals. Join John Bemis (guitar/accordion), Greg Hanson (guitar/lap steel), Nathan Logan (drums), and Zack Mondry (doghouse bass) as they conjure a country dance hall under the Shakori Hills Big Top!


9:30pm – Rowdy Square Dance with the Five Points Rounders, Caller Nancy Mamlin

This beloved rowdy, ruckus version of the traditional square dance is back! Hooray! Join the original Five Points Rounders: David Bass on fiddle, Colin Booy on banjo, Tracy Lafleur on guitar and Rob Vanveld on the washtub bass for some fast-paced, frenzied fun. Nancy Mamlin will be calling as quickly as she can and we will all try to keep up!

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.

7:30pm – Clogging Performance with the Green Grass Cloggers

See description above.

End of the Band Contest – Adult Dance Contest

Thank you to our WONDERFUL sponsors! We couldn’t do it without these folks:

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