Dancing at Hoppin’ John

Photo by Todd E. Gaul

It’s all about the dance…

2023 Schedule:

Thursday in the Dance Tent

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

Photo by Jason Beverly

Come kick up your heels at this intimate weekend kick-off! Our house band is an eclectic mix of talented folks who love and contribute to the whole Hoppin’ John scene. 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. 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

4pm – 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 Gap Civil, Caller Rodney Sutton

The band name Gap Civil comes from an old name for the town of Sparta, NC, from which the members hail. They honor the mountain traditions that have shaped and rooted their music, and they take great pride in innovative and exciting original songs and tunes and arrangements. Formed in 2017 and based in Sparta, NC, Gap Civil features Todd Hiatt on guitar, Chris Johnson on banjo and bass, Lucas Pasley on fiddle and vocals, Kyle Dean Smith on bass and lead guitar.

Rodney Clay Sutton is a dance performer and teacher of Appalachian step dance – both flatfoot and clogging.  Winner of the 2019 Folk & Traditional Southarts Fellowship, he calls square dances and contras dances, and is a storyteller and ballad singer. He’ll be teaching and performing with the Green Grass Cloggers throughout the weekend, as well as calling the steps for your Friday night square.

Saturday in the Dance Tent

10:30am – 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 19 years. In her free time she enjoys playing banjo and sharing about the rich and complex history of the instrument.  Located in the Dance Tent.

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

Photo by Todd E. Gaul

Come dance with the Green Grass Cloggers, now in their 52nd year (yes you read that right)! This 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 over a half century. Inspired by traditional mountain-style clogging teams and influenced by Appalachian flatfooters and buckdancers, they developed an original style of dance that was a radical departure from traditional team clogging. Today’s Green Grass Cloggers include dancers from multiple generations continuing that Green Grass style!

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

Photo by Todd E. Gaul

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!

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, trying to win that cake, and having fun at this year’s Family Dance.

8pm – Country Dance with Chloe and the Country Crawdads

Chloe and the Country Crawdads, hailing from the Piedmont Triad, will take you back to the classic country sounds of yesteryear. That’s right folks, they’re honkin and tonkin with all your favorite hits from the golden age of country music. Singer Chloe Mylet will be joined by Thom Worm on lead guitar, Jimmy Washington on pedal steel, Joey Pilot on piano, Aaron Tacke on bass, and Dan Harris on the drums.


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

Photo by Todd E. Gaul

This beloved rowdy, ruckus version of the traditional square dance is back again! Join a version of the Five Points Rounders: David Bass on fiddle, Shawn Galbraith (filling in for 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 moves as quickly as she can and we will all try to keep up!

Saturday, Main Stage Dancing:

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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