2020 Talent

The-Ripples

After hitting the scene hard several years ago, the Ripples quickly became a go-to band for dancers wanting to find that magical mix of high energy, flow, inspiration, and sweet sweet heart-string-pulling music. They are well know in the Dance Weekend circuit, having lit up the stage and the dance floor at ContraStock, Youth Dance Weekend, Whitewater Whirl, Hashdance, Footfall, and Cabin Fever to name a few. We are pleased to have them joining us this year, four amazing musicians:

  • Christopher Wood on Guitar and Bass
  • Gabrielle Lanza on Percussion
  • Kristen Planeaux on Flute, Piano
  • Andrew Taylor on Fiddle

More on their website here: http://theripplesband.com


Buddy System is Noah VanNordstrand and Julie Valimont. Both are accomplished musicians, both are fun people, but together they are…out of this world.

NOAH started playing contra music when he was 10, and you may recognize him from any of his other bands; The Great Bear Trio, Wakeup Robin, or The Faux Paws. He and his brother Andrew have released nine albums together, as a duo and and as the Andrew and Noah Band. A versatile multi-instrumentalist and prolific composer, Noah most often plays fiddle, foot percussion, and mandolin.  His unmatched fiddling, driving rhythm, epic dynamics, creativity, and uniquely rocking style have given him a loyal following.

JULIE is known for her driving piano style, skill in matching tunes to dances, and music with heart.  She recently released her debut solo album, Dark Sky Bright Stars, featuring her original compositions in lush arrangements. Julie became known on the national contra scene with the beloved band Nor’easter and is an in-demand pianist and accordionist in New England and nationwide, having played in many bands over the years. Her compelling, rhythmic piano style draws on her study of New England contra piano and traditional Quebecois, Irish, French, and Cape Breton music. A former classical pianist and organist, she fell in love with traditional music and dance in 2004 and since then has gone on to perform at numerous festivals and music camps. 

Buddy System has played all over the country, and we are super excited to have them joining us! The amount of absolutely foot driving sound that can come from two people is amazing.


Beth Malaro

Dancers from coast to coast will tell you that Beth Molaro is GREAT and when she calls, the dance is always a party! Her enthusiasm is contagious and she makes any dance more energetic and exciting.  Since 1994, Beth has called hundreds of dances from coast to coast as well as Denmark and Canada.

Beth’s vocal style is unique in the dance world. Her ability to sing the calls makes for an exciting blending of music and calls which she accomplishes with both clarity and musical integrity. You will hear elements of the blues and jazz in her voice as she sings you from one figure to the next, weaving together the various elements of dance, music and dancers into a positively charged room of inspired enthusiasm.

Read and learn more at Beth’s website: https://www.bethmolaro.com


Dana Parkinson

vibrant | inclusive | creative

Do you see that smile? It’s contagious. And when Dana calls, you can hear it and feel it, and soon everyone is smiling. The room gets brighter. She has a real gift for choosing dances that are super fun, and then succinctly teaching them with clarity and charm. Easy to say…difficult to do. She’s a true natural.

Dana started contra dancing in 2009 in Tampa, Florida with the Tampa Friends of Old-Time Dance. Through support from her local community and dancing like crazy at dozens of dance weekends, Dana found herself at the Contra Calling Workshop with Cis Hinkle at Augusta Dance Week in Elkins, WV. In no time at all she was calling local dances. She called her first dance weekend in Gainesville, Florida in 2012 and has called for dance weekends across the country (to the delight of everyone who had the good fortune to hear her).

Read and learn more at Dana’s website: http://www.danadancecaller.com