A few years ago, New England Conservatory revived the tradition of the barn dance—and we don't even own a barn! NEC's Contemporary Improvisation (CI) department hosts these interactive events, which we now offer on a regular basis.
Tonight's event is in two parts, with something for everyone.
6:00pm Fiddle Workshop
7:00pm World Barn Dance
Activities starting at 6pm will be geared for families with children of all ages. All children must be accompanied by an adult. Come for a fiddle workshop led by Eden MacAdam-Somer, and stick around for a World Barn Dance with three very different NEC CI ensembles playing in a variety of musical styles: American Roots, World Music, and Jewish Music ensembles form the lineup. No partners or dance experience necessary—everyone is invited to get out on the floor and learn fun and easy dances, taught on the spot. Just grab your family and friends and join the celebration!
About these dances
Eden MacAdam-Somer explains:
Barn dances, (also known as ceilidhs, contra dances, square dances, etc.), are social folk dance events that do not, as you might observe, necessarily take place in barns. The word "Contras" implies dances in which lines of people dance across from one another. Square dances imply square dance formations. Ceilidhs are usually connected with Scottish, Irish, or British dances and music. In any case, one may encounter many different types of dances at any of these events, including any and all of the above as well as circle dances and couple dances, such as waltzes, polkas, schottishes, hambos, and many others.
Many dance events still play an important role as community gatherings, welcoming families, providing support to dancers, and encouraging new musicians to sit in with more experienced players. Although plenty of people only show up to dance, many more attend dances with the intention of catching up with old friends, hearing great live music, and connecting with their local community. With the ease of modern travel, this sense of community has spread to encompass the entire U.S., as well as some international locations: I have played for social dances in most of the 50 states, including Alaska and Hawaii, as well as in India, Israel, and the U.K.
The best part about this type of social dancing is that you don’t need to know any fancy steps or even bring a partner to dance with. In fact, it is traditional to dance with many different partners at a barn dance. This allows one to meet new people and to experience dancing with people of all ages and levels. In any case, the music should make it very hard to sit still!
Are you an NEC faculty member or student who is giving a school concert? Submit your artist and repertoire information now!
NEC's FREE concerts do not require a ticket, unless stated in concert listing.
Unreserved seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Doors open 30 minutes prior to the concert's start time.