BACDS American Dance and Music Week — June 30–July 5, 2013 BACDS American Dance and Music Week, June 30–July 5, 2013

Our Staff

Contras, Squares, Waltzing, Flat-Footing, and more!

Photo of Seth Tepfer

Seth Tepfer

Seth Tepfer is “Atlanta’s Dance Magician,” calling dances for adults and children like you’ve never seen before. Known for his infectious energy, his short walk-throughs, and his “hash-contras,” Seth's warm enthusiasm is contagious, and gets everyone moving, smiling, and having a great time. Whether squares, contras, or other folk dances, you can be certain that all involved — novices and experienced dancers alike — will amble away happy and eager to dance more!

Gaye Fifer

Gaye Fifer has been an active contra dancer for the past 30 years, first in St. Louis, MO, then living in Charlottesville, VA, now retired in Pittsburgh. She was an organizer for her local dances in Charlottesville, serving on the board and co-chairing their fall festival committee numerous times. She is involved with both the contra and English dance communities in Pittsburgh. In addition, Gaye has been calling both locally and around the country at contra weekends. She is known for her energy, enthusiasm and sense of fun. Gaye's other dance passion is American folk waltz. When not dancing/waltzing/calling, you can find Gaye volunteering in a public school, singing in a women's choir and working to change the world.

Gaye will be doing contras as well as teaching waltzes and other couple dances.

Photo of Gaye Fifer
Photo of Kalia Kliban

Kalia Kliban

Kalia Kliban came into the traditional dance scene in the late 80s, and has performed, taught and called many different styles including morris, longsword, English clog, English country dance, rapper, contra and Appalachian clogging. She danced for many years with The Cornmashers, an American dance group that specialized in big circle dancing and improvisational clogging. Among her other useful talents are the making of excellent pipe-cleaner sculptures and the juggling of a wide variety of supermarket produce. Her clear and humorous teaching style has gotten feet tapping at camps and gatherings in California and beyond, and she's delighted to be teaching a new crop of American Week dancers how to make some noise!



Eden McAdam-Somer


Larry Unger


Sam Bartlett

Mandolin, Banjo

Photo of Notorious: Sam, Eden, Larry

Notorious musicians Eden McAdam-Somer and Larry Unger present a thrilling musical experience in genres that span many continents. With Eden on fiddle and vocals and Larry on guitar and banjo, their music lights up the hall with rhythm and sonority. Their performances are always new and exciting, featuring traditional American, Celtic, and Eastern-European tunes and songs, swing, blues, classical music and the group’s original compositions. The Notorious "trio" configuration adds Sam Bartlett on mandolin and banjo. Sam is notorious in his own right, well-versed in Irish, old-time American, and contra dance tune styles. He is also notorious for his predilection for Stuntology, and has published his own book on the skill.

Photo of The Syncopaths

The Syncopaths

Ryan McKasson

Fiddle and Viola

Ashley Broder

Mandolin and Fiddle

Jeff Spero

Piano and Keyboards

Christa Burch

Vocals and Bodhrán

From dance floors to concert halls, the Syncopaths bring a fresh, contemporary spin to music and songs rooted in the Scottish, Irish, and American folk traditions. Evolving beyond their contra dance origins, they are creating a "chamber folk" sound characterized by the compelling, rhythmic interplay of fiddle and mandolin, rich vocals, and unexpected colors and rhythms from the piano and bodhran. The exuberant joy they derive from the music and each other is palpable and contagious. Ryan McKasson - fiddle and viola; Jeffrey Spero - piano and keyboards; Ashley Broder - mandolin and fiddle; and Christa Burch - vocals and bodhrán.

The Avant Gardeners

Laura Light

Fiddle and Vocals

George Paul

Piano, Accordian, Composition

Jim Oakden

Mandolin, Clarinet, Recorders, and more instruments than will fit in one vehicle!

Photo of Avant Gardeners George and LauraPhoto of Jim Oakden

The Avant Gardeners are the creative collaboration of Virginia fiddler, singer, and composer Laura Light and Alaskan wild man George Paul. Laura brings traditional American fiddle styles and swing influenced improvisation to the eclectic compositions of both Laura and George, all driven by George’s electric and groove oriented keyboard wizardry. A nationally touring band with the full complement of Gardeners, as a duo George and Laura are always in demand for dances and workshops, coast to coast. George has been dubbed the king of contra funk as well as the energizer bunny of dance camps. Both love performing but are equally excited about including and encouraging musicians in their growth and explorations.

Jim Oakden has gone through a succession of musical stages, from early music to traditional. He's been a staff musician at many West Coast camps including Fall Weekend, both by himself and as part of the GUPpies, and is currently active as a musician for English country dances, contras, Irish and Cape Breton sessions and dances from Brittany.

Jim not only is a world-class dance and folk musician, he is also Program Director of this year's camp.

Music Workshops

Photo of Michelle Levy

Michelle Levy

Michelle Levy has been performing on and exploring the possibilities of the violin/viola for over 20 years. She currently performs with the Boston Camerata and regularly plays for English & contra dances on the west coast (Roguery, The Whoots, Tritonic), including Playford Balls, English Week Dance & Music Camp, Fall Frolick, and Spring Fever. This is her second year at AmWeek.

As a fiddle/violin instructor, Michelle is on the faculty of the Bay Area Academy of Music, and is trained in the Orff Shulwerk approach to teaching music as well as the Mark O’Connor Method. She teaches all ages from 3½ and up, nurturing creative string players with solid technique.


Ben Schreiber

Ben Schreiber is a young “Fiddling Phenom” who has been taking the country by storm. He also plays with The Whoots as well as Uncle Farmer. Ben is a voracious sight-reader, is fluent in several musical genres, and has been known to write a dozen tunes in an afternoon before the evening dance, much to the dancers' delight.

Photo of Ben Schreiber

Photography Workshop

  Photo of Doug Plummer

Doug Plummer

Doug Plummer is a busy free lance photographer and filmmaker based in Seattle. His personal passion project for the last 30 years has been to document the American contra dance scene. He is the publisher of the Contradance Calendar, which seeks to display the diversity of dance communities across the country. As a teacher he helps photographers understand how to find the compelling image by becoming more sensitive to their own emotional response to the moment. He loves working with beginners.


Photo of Marty Brenneis

Marty Brenneis (CA)

Marty Brenneis, a valued “gizmo guy,” was a rock-n-roll sound engineer in a former life. It wasn’t long after he started contra dancing that he began twiddling the knobs on the soundboards for dances … and he hasn’t stopped yet.