November 26th , 2012 8:59 am Leave a comment

Sigean to bring Celtic flavor to upcoming contra dance


The sound of fiddles and pipes comes to Jonesborough to fill the dance hall with the Celtic music when the Historic Jonesborough Dance Society will present a contra dance Saturday, Dec. 1, at the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center, 117 Boone St.

Sigean will perform as the featured band, with Keith Eustis leading the dance. Admission to the dance is $7, or $5 for HJDS members and full-time students.

No partner is necessary. All dances are taught by the caller. These dances are smoke- and alcohol-free.

A workshop for beginning contra dancers will be led by the caller at 7 p.m., and the dance will run from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. with a waltz break at 9 p.m.

Sigean is a traditional Celtic band that has some Americana/bluegrass/old-time roots because of its members’ musical experience. Sigean was formed in 1997, in Bristol, Tenn., in order to allow local musicians to perform Irish traditional music. The band employs guitars, fiddles, Irish pipes, whistles, bodhran tenor banjo, and sometimes 5-string banjo, upright bass and vocals from a Scottish vocalist.

Sigean consists of Tom Swadley on guitar, Frank Wing on fiddle and tenor banjo, John Rushing on bass, Marcianne O’Day on fiddle and Debbie Shrewsbury on flute and whistles. Recent recordings include “Live at the Paramount,” recorded during the 2007 Bristol Rhythm and Roots Festival, and “Lone Shanakyle” from 2010. For more information, visit their website: or their fan page on Facebook.

The band’s music is greatly influenced in the tradition and flavor of Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the other Celtic nations.

Having called for more than 18 years, Keith Eustis has found a following of dancers who enjoy her clear teaching and joyful calling. Choosing interesting dances that flow so that dancers can groove with the music, and move with ease through the dance, is one of her strengths.

Eustis, from Greenville, S.C., has called at numerous local dances, festivals, dance weekends and dance camps throughout the United States and Canada and on dance trips to several other countries, including Costa Rica, Peru and New Zealand. Her calling has been described as “joyful,” “scintillating,” “fun,” “exciting” and “welcoming.” Her smiling enthusiasm and love of the dance radiates through to the crowd. This will be her first calling gig in Jonesborough.

Now that contra dance has become so popular all over this country, there are many step-by-step guides on how to do contra dance on the Internet. “Even though we teach a brief workshop prior to the dance, there are other resources including contra dance videos, essays and other instruction available all over the web,” says event organizer David Wiley. “We also encourage newcomers to partner with experienced dancers for the first few dances to build their confidence and show them how easy and fun it is to contra.”

Beginner dancers are offered buttons that say “Dancer in Training, Handle with Care.” Experienced dancers pin on the words “I Like Beginners, Ask Me to Dance.”

For more information, call event organizer, David Wiley, at 534-8879 or visit or visit the HJDS on Facebook.


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