Based in Dallas, Texas, NTTDS promotes understanding and appreciation of American folk dancing, its music, its history, and related folklore. We are a group affiliate of the Country Dance and Song Society.
- February 12, 1983 - First public dance, at Plymouth Park United Methodist Church in Irving, sponsored by the Lone Star State Dulcimer Society (LSSDS). Dances continue on second Saturdays, as part of LSSDS meetings.
- December 1983 - First Christmas Dance, at Fretz Park Rec Center.
- June 15, 1984 - First dance at Winfrey Point. Dances become separate events from the LSSDS meetings, on third Saturdays.
- December 1985 - Green Belt Rappers debut at the Christmas Dance.
- February 23, 1986 - First meeting to discuss forming NTTDS.
- May 3, 1986 - First May Pole dance, debut of Winfrey Belles Morris Team.
- May 15, 1986 - NTTDS is incorporated as a non-profit organization.
- September 1986 - Election of first officers, first newsletter.
- February 1987 - Became associate of Country Dance and Song Society (CDSS).
- February 6, 1987 - First Friday meetings started, mostly at Carl Dreher's garage apartment. Membership meeting followed by a workshop about a specific dance, followed by open dancing.
- July 1987 - Band assumed the name "Winfrey Point Volunteers".
- August 1987 - Kate Horne wins NTTDS Logo contest. NTTDS is granted tax-exempt status.
- Nov 1987 - Newsletter was named "Balance and Swing"
- Jan 30, 1988 - Start of Fifth Saturday dances, at studio of Vici Butler and Ken East in Waxahachie. Schedule is sporadic, and location varies over time.
- March 5, 1988 - First Friday membership meeting and workshops move to Dreyfus Club.
- September 16, 1989 - Quarterly "Welcome Beginners" potluck and dances started.
- January 6, 1990 - First Friday dances changed: membership meetings dropped, focus changes to advanced dancing.
- March 31, 1990 - Fifth Saturday dances move to White Rock Lake (Dreyfus Club and Winfrey Point), featuring new band Pig Ankle.
- Summer 1990 - First Friday events move to Chapel Hills Presbyterian Church (for air conditioning). Repeated for several summers.
- May 1991 - First Spring Dance Weekend (named "When in Doubt, Swing!" the following year), funded by $500 grant from CDSS.
- January 25, 1992 - Monthly English Country dance at Dedman Center at SMU started (fourth Fridays).
- March 25, 1995 - Last Fourth Friday English dance at SMU.
- July 1, 1995 - First Friday dances changed to First Saturday.
- July - August 1995 - All dances move to SMU Meadows Atrium.
- September 1995 - Denton dances started, with support from NTTDS.
- September - December 1995 - Some contra dances at Kidd Springs Park.
- January 1996 - Contra dances move back to Winfrey Point.
- November 1996 - Contra dances move to Terry's Dance Studio.
- March 14, 1998 - Performance dance at Hall of State in Fair Park.
- March 21, 1998 - Last dance at Terry's Dance Studio.
- May 1998 - Contra dances move to Madame Krassovska's.
- September 19, 1998 - Contra dances move to Global Hall.
- December 1999 - First New Year's Dance Camp at Cross Point Methodist Camp.
- February 20, 2000 - Quarterly English Country Dances start, at Dreyfus Club.
- April 30, 2000 - Quarterly English Country Dances move to Forcher's Dance Studio.
- October 2000 - NTTDS joins the Dance Council.
- May 18, 2002 - Last dance at Global Hall.
- June 2002 - Contra dances move to Fretz Rec Center.
- Spring 2003 - Linda Mrosko becomes a board member of the Dance Council.
- July 2003 - Contra dances move to Lakeview Christian Church. Quarterly English dances change to Monthly on 4th Saturdays, at Quaker Meeting House.
- Dec 13, 2003 - Last contra dance in Denton.
- Spring 2006 - Spurred by the creative guidance of NTTDS President Rhonda Beckman, NTTDS member Clarence Teng bought the Plaza Theater on the town square of Carrollton. It was then a gallery for local arts and crafts. He converted it to a dance hall and event center. NTTDS members helped de-construct the old interior. Glenn Manuel and David Salonimer researched the types of wood flooring to install.
- July 4, 2006 - NTTDS holds its first contra dance at the Plaza. Dances continue there on the first and third Saturdays.
- September 20, 2008 - NTTDS hosted a Callers' Weekend Workshop at the home of Linda Mahony and David Salonimer. Becky Hill led the group of nearly one dozen budding callers, many of whom called at the Plaza on Saturday night. This workshop was funded in part by a grant from CDSS.
- June 2009 - An Irving potluck and contra dance is established on the second Saturday of the month. It is somewhat of a lab dance in which there is one experienced caller who mentors up-and-coming callers and there are one or two experienced musicians who help the less experienced players.
- August 2009 - The third Saturday contra dances move from the Plaza to the First United Lutheran Church on Mockingbird Lane in Dallas.
- November 2009 - The forth Saturday English Country dances move from the Quaker house to Sons of Hermann Hall in Dallas.
- March 19 - 21, 2010 - Largely through the efforts of Martha Quigley, Carl Dreher, and Melody Ball, NTTDS hosted its first rotating regional "Set for Spring" English Country Dance weekend at the Dallas Arts Center, featuring Joseph Pimentel calling to the music of Firefox. This dance was described as a beautiful success! Set for Spring will return to Dallas in 2013.
- December 2010 - After 10 years as an independent endeavor run by Mimi Rogers, Fiddlers Dream was turned over to NTTDS to coordinate. Under NTTDS President Rhonda Beckman this 3-day camp for musicians, dancers and callers continues its tradition of success.
- January 2011 - An Irving potluck and contra dance is established on the second Saturday of the month. Usually located at the Garden & Arts Center, it is somewhat of a lab dance in which there is one experienced caller who mentors up-and-coming callers and there are one or two experienced musicians who help the less experienced players.
- February - September 2011 - Open jam sessions at the Fraternal Order of Eagles: Fast Jam (Fiddle tunes) on 1st Sundays, Slow Jam (Irish tunes) on 2nd Sundays, and Singing on 3rd Sundays.
- 2011 - NTTDS reached out to a home school group to help them with two social/contra dances at one of their churches. Contra dancing is a good fit for home schoolers. CDSS is In the process of creating a brochure on working with home schooled students
- August 27, 2011 - NTTDS held a benefit dance to honor the father of longtime NTTDS musician Allison Hicks. Mr. Hicks had passed away from a brain tumor in 1999 so the designated charity was the American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA). Over $1,000 was raised for the charity.
- August 2011 - NTTDS establishes Guidelines for members who would like to hold a benefit dance.
- October 2011 - NTTDS establishes a Policy for providing stipends for attendance at Fiddlers Dream. One scholarship was awarded for the 2011-2012 camp, which was again blessed with beautiful weather and happy campers.
- January 2012 - The fourth Saturday English Country Dances move from Sons of Hermann hall to the First Untied Lutheran Church in Dallas.
- February 2012 - Largely through the efforts of Ellie Hayes, a second Friday contra dance was established in Fort Worth. The first night attracted about 50 people with about half of them from the regular Dallas-area dances.
- February 2012 - NTTDS awarded founders Kirk Hunter and Maureen Moore a Lifetime Membership.
- March, April 2012 - Building upon relationships established with home school students, NTTDS supported two dances at the University of Dallas by arranging for band and callers.
- June 2012 - Developed Guidelines for Callers.
- 2012 - Established budgeting process.
- Januuary 2013 - Fort Worth contra dance moved from second Friday to fourth Saturday.
- February 6, 2013 - Charter member Jimmy Boyer passed away. A memorial dance was held on March 16, where donations for CDSS in his honor were solicited. A total of $1900 was raised and sent to CDSS for their 2015 Centennial Tour program.
- March 8-10, 2013 - NTTDS sponsors Set for Spring English Country Dance weekend for the second time, featuring caller Gene Murrow and bands A Joyful Noise and Ladies At Play.
- July 2013 - Ellie Hayes assumes full responsibility for the Fort Worth contra dance, ending NTTDS support for that dance.
- March 11-13, 2016 - NTTDS sponsors Set for Spring English Country Dance weekend for the third time, featuring caller Brad Foster and the band Foxfire.
- April 23, 2016 - All dances that run from 8-11 pm are changed to run from 7:30 - 10:30 pm.
- June 4, 2016 - Last dance at the Plaza Arts Center in Carrollton. It is being remodeled for other uses. First Saturday Contra dances move to the Lutheran Church.
- October 2016 - The Fort Worth dances led by Ellie Hayes are discontinued.
- December 2018 - Last dance in Irving. We no longer meet their rec center usage residency requirements.
- Jan 2019 - The Second Saturday dances move from Irving to the Lutheran Church, maintaining the open band and open caller format.
- March 2019 - The Second Saturday dances at the Lutheran Church are changed from monthly to quarterly.
- Feb 2020 - University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) students form a contra dance club called Contra Corners, and start monthly dances (during the school year).
- March 2020 - All dances cancelled because of the COVID-19 virus pandemic.
- October 2021 - UTD student dances continue, outdoors.
- March 2022 - Contra Dances resume at 2155 Ballroom in Carrollton, on 3rd Saturdays.
- October 2022 - English Country Dances resume at Quaker Friends Meeting House in Dallas, on 2nd Saturdays.
- February 2023 - English Country Dances move to Apex Dance Studio, Mockingbird at Greenville Ave.
This was written by Maureen Moore and Kirk
Hunter in March 1990. Some of it appeared in the May/June 1990 and
July/August 1990 newsletters. The initial Board of Directors and Membership
lists are from the first newsletter of September 1986.
NOTE: Martha Skalnik married Ray Quigley in 1997, so is now known as Martha Quigley.
Monthly dances for members of the Lone Star State Dulcimer Society (LSSDS) had been going on for some time when Maureen Moore, having recently left Michigan dancing behind, and Kirk Hunter, fresh from fiddling for dances in Austin, came on the scene in 1982. The dances were held after the LSSDS monthly meeting, dulcimer workshops, and pot-luck in Plymouth Park United Methodist Church in Irving, on the second Saturday of each month.
Dulcimists Dana Hamilton and Annette Lindsey called these dances to 20 - 25 LSSDS members while many dulcimers played dance music. Maureen simply suggested to Dana that they advertise a little, open the dances to the public, and see what would happen.
The result was a community dance on February 12, 1983 from 7 to 9 pm, with about thirty dancers, a dozen musicians, and three callers. All of these were pretty new in their respective roles, but no one seemed to mind. The feeling of a new adventure pervaded the hall. A tradition was born, which has continued monthly ever since.
The dances continued and prospered for over a year as part of the second Saturday LSSDS meetings, usually at the church in Irving, with a $1.00 donation being requested. The number of dancers increased to around 50, while the mailing list reached 200.
The first Christmas Dance was held December 12, 1983 at the Fretz Recreation Center in Dallas. The only real problem was a lack of consistency with dates and locations due to occasional conflicts with church activities. Linda and Wesley Thompson, who were LSSDS President and Treasurer at that time, kept up with the finances of the dances.
The first callers were: Maureen Moore, Dana Hamilton, Carl Dreher,and Maria Terres-Sandgren.
The first musicians were: Kirk Hunter, Russell Cook, Carl Dreher, Dana Hamilton, Linda Baker, Maria Terres-Sandgren, David Lindsey, Chris SoRelle, Linda Thompson, Sandy Lively, Kevin Alewine, Kate Horne, Betty Odum, Al Christians, and numerous others.
The early dancers, although they seemed to appear out of thin air, actually were drawn heavily from the LSSDS, various International Folkdance groups, especially the Dallas Folkdance Co-op (now the Dallas International Folk Dancers), and newcomers who spied the notice in the newspaper, many of whom had done country dancing in other areas of the country. The main publicity was word of mouth.
Moving to White Rock Lake
On June 15, 1984, the dances moved to Winfrey Point on White Rock Lake in Dallas, where reservations could be made a year in advance. The dances were changed to the third Saturday of the month from 8 to 11 pm. Even though the dances were now a separate activity from the LSSDS meetings, they were still an LSSDS function. For the next two years, the dances continued to grow, even though there was no additional publicity.
Several new people began calling dances: former New England dancers Martha Skalnik and Peter Lamborghini, and future New England dancer Louisa Barnes. The number of dancers varied from 50 to 100, with the Christmas Dances peaking at 130, while the mailing list grew to about 400! The organizing, the calling, and the band began to jell.
The band was still a "pick-up" band, with both familiar and new faces showing up for each dance. The number averaged around a dozen, once as many as 19! Under Kirk Hunter's leadership, the band started having practices and learning a common repertoire of tunes. Additional band members joined the old guard: Richard Chance, Slim Richey, Mimi Rogers, Joe Phaneuf, Donald Lively, Ray Quigley, Dan Herlihy, Mike O'Leary, Jeff Hittson, and others.
In addition to the monthly Community Dances, a few other things started to happen during this time:
- The Christmas Dances became more elaborate and orchestrated, with refreshments, old-fashioned dress, and entertainment and door prizes.
- The May dances began including a Procession, May Pole Dance, and skits.
- Carl Dreher, drawing on his own dance history with various dance groups in the Eastern US, organized two performing groups. The Green Belt Rapper Dancers performed for the first time at the Christmas Dance of 1985, and the Winfrey Belles Morris Team debuted at the May 1986 dance.
- Thirteen dancers and five musicians performed "Old Fashioned" dancing for historical perspective on dancing for the North Texas Square and Round Dance Association convention in the Tarrant County Convention Center in Fort Worth.
- Square Dance caller Roy McCutchan came up to Dallas from San Antonio to present old-time Texas Squares to the dance group.
- The first day-long workshops were held when David and Donna Peterson came from the Arkansas Country Dance Society to lead couple dance workshops two years in a row and a dance band workshop one year.
- At the same time, some of the Texas dancers started sneaking off to attend the annual Arkansas Country Dance Society Folkdance Festival in Mountain View, Arkansas.
Becoming the NTTDS (1986)
By 1986, the dance group had developed itself into a nearly separate group from the LSSDS, with a different focus, different goals, and serving almost different populations. The dancers and the band included LSSDS members, but the majority were attracted to the dances for their own sake, not through the LSSDS. The LSSDS was at this time serving primarily a clerical function for the dances: paying the bills and accepting the funds. Any profit from the dances went to the band members, each of whom usually took home about $5. the dances were truly a non-profit event! Finally, in February 1986, it was mutually decided by the two groups that it was time to form a separate dance organization.
So... on February 23, about 18 interested supporters of the dance movement gathered to discuss the possibility of forming a dance organization. The next few months were a flurry of organizing activities, a multitude of meetings, plenty of excited discussions, investigations, consultations, and decisions. By May 1986, a full set of by-laws was completed, the initial Board of Directors was selected, and the group was incorporated with the State of Texas as the North Texas Traditional Dance Society (runner-up names were the Bluebonnet TDS and the Trinity River TDS). By September, the first officers were selected, the first memberships were accepted, the first membership meeting was held the first newsletter was published, and the new by-laws and policies were placed in effect. The NTTDS also became a center for the national dance organization Country Dance and Song Society (CDSS). Through CDSS, federal non-profit status was obtained under IRS Code 501(c)(3).
Initial Board of Directors
Louisa Barnes, Vici Butler, Ken East, Dan Herlihy, Kirk Hunter, Peter Lamborghini, Donald Lively, Sandy Lively, Maureen Moore, Morris Morgan, Martha Skalnik, Susan Picheloup, Patti Plemmons, Carrol Richardson, Mimi Rogers, Tina Shenk.
Leah W. Alberga, Arkansas Country Dance Society, Juanita and Bruce Babcock and family, William J. Babler, Louisa Barnes, Joe Barziza, Mike Bialas, Sandra and Patrick Blackard, Jimmy Boyer, Tamara Brinkman, Danny Bryant, Harry Corder, Mary Therese D'Avignon, Paul C. Dechow, Delores and Joe Delgadillo, Mark Dressendorfer, Harold Ernst,John Evans, Mike Firth, Tim Forston, Carlyn Gordon, Kirk Hunter, Bob Kraemer, Emily Leland, Sandy, Don, and Jay Lively, Glenn Manuel, Morris Morgan, Maureen Moore, Pat McMenamin, Betty Odum, Caroline Rasor, Carrol Richardson, Mimi Rogers, Tina Shenk, Carol Silverstrom, Martha, Peter, and Penny Skalnik, Linda Strem, Polly Tarr, Susie Thennes, Wesley and Linda Thompson and family, Gail Tomlinson, Jean Wasroski.
The Early Years (1987 - 1990)
Becoming an organization allowed responsibilities to easily spread out to may instead of a few. It also generated new involvement, energy, ideas, and activity among the dancers.
New Dance Events:
In February 1987, the First Friday of the month membership meetings began at Carl Dreher's garage apartment. They were free and included a membership meeting, workshop (given mostly by members), and open dancing and calling. Their purpose was to encourage members' dance growth and leadership skills and to provide a more intimate social dance setting. The were originally organized by Maureen Moore and later by Vice Presidents Martha Skalnik, Frank Jordan, and Kat Krone. The meetings later moved to the Dreyfus Club, then the became pure dance events (no membership meeting), then moved to the First Saturday.
May of 1987 saw the first MayFaire, a day-long English-flavored festival, which included a Processional, a May Pole dance, workshops, dance demonstrations, concerts, skits, and other activities, ending with an Evening Ball. Organizers in 1987 included Peter Lamborghini, Martha Skalnik, and Mimi Rogers. In later years, Carl Dreher, Ruth Izraeli, Ben Watson, and Mary Courtney joined the organizing effort.
In October 1987, the first Halloween Costume Dance party was held, which has turned out to be an almost annual event. Martha Skalnik, Vici Butler, Mimi Rogers, Kat Krone, Joe Barziza, and Linda Mrosko have been other organizers of this event.
Fifth Saturday dances, organized by Martha Skalnik, became a new tradition, and were held in various locations, including Waxahachie, before settling down to the standard Third Saturday dance location.
More workshops came to NTTDS. Carl Dreher presented two day-long contra dance workshops, one of which was assisted by Laurie Andres, a nationally known accordion player. Laurie also directed a musicians workshop while he was in Dallas. Renowned English dance teacher Pat Talbot came to Dallas and presented day-long English dance workshops on two separate occasions, once in conjunction with the 1989 MayFaire. In July 1989, Martha Skalnik and Dwayne Johnson shared the teaching of a New England Classics contra dance workshop to the music of "Terry and the Pirates", a band imported from Houston.
Old Dance Events
In June 1987, Martha Skalnik and the newly formed Dance Committee took over the organizing and calling of the Community Dances from Maureen Moore, who had performed these functions up to this time. Maureen decided to run off and join the band with her new husband Kirk Hunter, while Martha ran off with the dances, bringing in new energy and ideas to this continuously successful activity. In 1988, Carl Dreher took on the Christmas Dance, adding class and elegance never before seen.
Kate Horne's logo design was selected from 10 entries in the 1987 NTTDS Logo Contest, and became the official logo of the NTTDS which still appears in the newsletter and on T-shirts. Kate's logo also received recognition from CDSS and was published in the CDSS national newsletter and the 1990 CDSS Calendar.
The band officially decided on a name, "The Winfrey Point Volunteers". In 1987, band members decided to pool their monthly dance income to buy a sound system for the NTTDS. In 1989, they used their savings to purchase a new multi-channel sound system.
NTTDS dancers and musicians performed at various events in the DFW area, including Old City Park Candlelight Tours, the Heritage Craft Days Festival, LSSDS Winterfest, and others.
In November 1987, the newsletter took on a professional appearance and a new name "Balance and Swing" with Kate Horne's help in layout.
Child care was instituted at some NTTDS events, especially the Community dances.
The NTTDS has developed relationships with other dance groups in this region, particularly groups in Oklahoma City, Houston, San Antonio, and Little Rock. This resulted in the regular exchange of dancers, callers, workshop leaders, and musicians. Within the North Texas area, the NTTDS has also benefited from the mutual support and opportunities offered by local dance groups, such as the Caledonian Scottish Dance Society and International Folkdance groups, such as the Dallas Folkdance Co-op (now known as Dallas International Folk Dancers), and others.
Some NTTDS members have spread out even farther by attending various weekend or week-long dance camps in the far reaches of the US: Massachusetts, North and South Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, New York, Alabama, West Virginia, etc., bringing back new dances, music, styles, and enthusiasm. A favorite activity of many NTTDS dancers has remained the workshop in Mountain View, Arkansas, and has also come to include the Twelfth Night Ball in Little Rock, both sponsored by the Arkansas Country Dance Society.
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North Texas Traditional Dance Society is a 501(c)(3) organization with registered offices in the State of Texas.
How to contact NTTDS: 972-546-8858 OR OR PO Box 820203, Dallas, TX 75382
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