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Contra dancers to focus on adding flourishes to their moves
Workshop to show how to perfect style with tips and tricks in Sautee Nacoochee
Contra dancers fill the floor of the Sautee Nacoochee Community Association gym during a monthly contra dance. Intermediate dancers may participate in a workshop Aug. 9 to learn new swings and swirls as well as receive tips on ways to fine-tune their dancing. The workshop begins at 1:30 p.m. with a dance following from 3-6 p.m. at 283 Ga. 255 N in Sautee Nacoochee.

Contra Dance workshop

When: 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 9

Where: Sautee Nacoochee Center gym, 283 Ga. 255 N, Sautee Nacoochee

Cost: $10 adults, $5 students, free for children 11 and younger

More info: or 706-754-3254 

Two “possums” from the Virginia family band, Toss the Possum, are headed to Sautee to play a special Sunday afternoon contra dance Aug. 9, as part of a three-dance weekend starting Aug. 7 in Atlanta.

The Sunday event kicks off at 1:30 p.m. at the historic gym of the Sautee Nacoochee Center with a free “Contra with Style” workshop for intermediate-experience dancers. Although, anyone interested in watching are welcome.

Contra dance leaders from the community will teach some of their favorite “flourishes” to add fun and flavor to any dance while perfecting the basics of dancing with style.

Workshop leaders are Jennie Inglis, Mark Baker, Janet Westervelt, Michael Foust, Maggie Van Cantfort and Peter Bull. They will emphasize different types of swings and swirls and offer tips and tricks to help dancers fine-tune their dancing.

The dance will follow from 3–6 p.m. at 283 Ga. 255 N in Sautee Nacoochee. The workshop will cost $10 for adults, $5 for students and free for children younger than 12 years old.

Providing the music from Toss the Possum will be Rob Zisette on fiddle and other instruments with his mother, Laura Zisette, accompanying him on the keyboard. The caller will be Rachell McCandliss.

The band’s repertoire includes Celtic, jazz, rock ’n’ roll, Appalachian and original tunes and vocals.

Rob Zisette, 23, has been playing violin intensively since he was 8. He won first prize for his age group in the Festival of the American West fiddle contest, only 10 weeks after picking up the instrument.

Laura Zisette is a classically trained pianist who taught music at Utah State University for 19 years before moving East. An avid contra dancer, she came under the tutelage of the famous contra dance musician Bob McQuillan at a dance camp and began playing contra piano. She has played with the Utah bands, Barnstorm and Leaping Lulu, and with the Minnesota bands, Possum Landing, Pat and Friends, and Fiddle Buddies.

McCandliss is a part-time caller and admired for her uncanny ability to precisely match her calls with the rhythms of the band.

For more information, call 706-754-3254 or visit