THE 2013 SPREE IS A FOND MEMORY NOW.
YOU CAN STILL READ ABOUT IT HERE.
BE SURE TO PLAN AHEAD FOR MAY DAY WEEKEND 2014.
The Mid-Atlantic Norwegian Dancers’ 8th Annual
SPRING SPRINGAR SPREE
in charming Takoma Park, MD (by Washington, DC)
May Day Weekend, April 25-28, 2013
COME SHARE THE JOY OF SPRINGAR!
You can attend all or part of this celebration of Norwegian dance, music, singing, costumes, and...traditional carved wooden drinking vessels! The Spring Springar Spree runs from the Thursday evening program by our Norwegian staff through the final dance party on Sunday afternoon.
This year we’re featuring VALDRESSPRINGAR, the springar from the Valdres region. The music has a driving pulse, with the first beat rushed (like Viennese Waltz but different). As the couples circulate around the floor, the man does flashy moves and spins the woman, working up to the exhilarating couple-turn (rundsnu).
Our two Norwegian champion dance teachers, Knut Arne Jacobsen and Brit Totland, got rave reviews at the last two annual Hardanger Fiddle Association of America gatherings. Guys, he has a very effective way of teaching the two-measure rhythmic step sequence on which your flashy moves are built.
Hardanger-fiddle (hardingfele) classes/lessons for all levels are available from two top US fiddlers: Karin Løberg Code and our own Loretta Kelley. Please contact us by April 18th (or later) for planning. Fiddlers, you can easily pop in & out of the dancing--your jam/practice space is only a few steps away.
Singing! Knut Arne is an esteemed traditional singer with a varied repertoire. He will perform, teach, and even sing a few tunes for dancing.
Our third Norwegian guest, Olav Lie, is a woodcarver and an expert on traditional wooden drinking vessels of Northern Europe. He will bring some of his collection to display, and present what we hear is quite an entertaining PowerPoint slideshow: “Birds, Beasts, & Dragons.”
For those interested in costumes, including the formal bunader (sing. bunad), we welcome back Norwegian-American expert seamstress Deb McConaghy, who will share her costume photos and advise folks who want to choose/make/alter/clean costume pieces and jewelry. She will have material/kits/jewelry for sale and take orders to make costumes, all at good prices. And she will guide a few folks in making whatever costume pieces they want at workshops on Friday and Saturday (adv reg req’d).
The weekend will be saturated with fabulous all-live Hardanger fiddle music by Karin and Loretta. Dance parties will have a good variety of Norwegian Springars and Gammaldans...plus a little Swedish music for Hambo and other dances, if somebody lets those feisty nyckelharpas in again!
Beginners/listeners/watchers will be welcomed, encouraged, and assimilated, as always here. Come share the famous cozy atmosphere of our monthly Norwegian-style potluck house parties. No need to bring a dance partner—we mix well—and if the gender balance is uneven some enjoy the challenge of switching teams so all can dance. Please bring clean shoes for dancing; a wide low heel is best. Spare beds & crash space available. Comfortable prices—don’t let your budget keep you away.
Schedule: Thursday night program followed by a little dancing, Friday daytime costume workshop & evening dance party, Saturday classes/workshop/programs & evening dance party, and Sunday class & afternoon potluck/dance party. You can attend all or part. (Hey, out-of-towners, if you come for the whole long weekend you can do the DC tourist thing on Friday. The cherry blossoms will be gone, but the dogwoods and azaleas will be dazzling and are much more prevalent; Takoma Park is called “Azalea City.”)
PUBLICITY NOTE: If you’d like to help publicize by mentioning this event on a website, please, please check with us first for a very important detail in the wording about our staff. Thanks!
So, see you at the Spree??
INDEX OF SPREE DETAILS
BELOW (yup, it's more info than most want, but easy to find):
1. SCHEDULE: You’re welcome to attend all or part.... Hey, out-of-towners, why not come for the concert and make like a tourist on Friday while DC’s flowering trees and azaleas are blooming?
Thurs 4/25 in the Great Room at Loretta
Or, if money's tight, just pay what you can and maybe help out with something—don't let your budget keep you away--yes, we want you to come!
4. REGISTRATION: We’d love to see lots of RSVP’s (this is optional) at our Meetup site, http://www.meetup.com/Mid-Atlantic-Norwegian-Dancers. But actual REGISTRATION IS AT DOOR for most. Only Hardanger fiddlers and costume workshoppers need to contact Jenny by 4/18 for reservation/planning.
Our Valdresspringar dance teachers, KNUT ARNE JACOBSEN and BRIT TOTLAND, have danced together for many years. He lives on a farm in Øystre Slidre, Valdres. He has been dancing since the early 70s and participating in competitions for more than 20 years. He learned Valdresspringar from tradition-bearers Knut and Berit Steinsrud, Harald Røine and Ingar Ranheim, among others. He has been dancing Norwegian folkdance since the 1970's, and learned Valdresspringar in the early 1980's. She teaches and works with Valdreslaget and children's dance groups in Oslo. Together, they make a dynamite teaching team, as those who have been fortunate to experience their classes at many recent camps in the US can confirm.
KNUT ARNE will also share with us his joy of singing and storytelling. When he lived in Bø in Telemark, he studied with Agnes Buen Garnås; his singing teachers in the Valdres tradition have been the Fuglesteg/Lie family, Ingvar Hegge, and Marit Karlberg. In addition to the variety of song styles you might expect, he has a particular interest in lullabies. And he has some songs for dancing!
Our third Norwegian guest, OLAV LIE, is a woodcarver who is an expert on traditional wooden drinking vessels of Northern Europe. He will bring some to display, and present what we hear is quite an entertaining slideshow: “Birds, Beasts, & Dragons.”
Guest fiddler KARIN LØBERG CODE is a life-long string player and teacher who began intense study of the Hardanger fiddle in 1990. She lived for two years in Norway, playing for weekly dance groups in Oslo and meeting with master fiddlers. She is a respected dance fiddler who has been on staff, along with Norwegian-born artists, at numerous festivals and workshops in the US. Her first CD, “Norsk Spring Dance,” is widely used in this country and in Norway for folk dance accompaniment. Her newest CD, “Harding Tones,” features both solo work and the premiere recording of the newly created Harding Quartet. She particularly loves Valdresspringar. See http://homepages.wmich.edu/~code/karin/.
Our fabulous local Hardanger-fiddler, LORETTA KELLEY, will play a variety of music for dancing. She is the foremost Hardanger-fiddler in the US, and the president of the Hardanger Fiddle Association of America. She fell in love with the instrument in 1976 and regularly performs, teaches, and writes about it. Appearances include Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion and American Radio Company, and National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” and “Performance Today.” She teaches and plays for dancing at the Nordic Fiddles and Feet Scandinavian music and dance camps and at the Annual Workshops of the Hardanger Fiddle Association of America, as well as at innumerable local workshops throughout the US. She has made over 20 study trips to Norway and has placed highly in many fiddle competitions there. Her playing has been featured in an hour-long radio program on Norwegian radio. More/photo at www.fanitull.org.
Norwegian-American costume expert DEB MCCONAGHY is introduced in the section on costumes.
PUBLICITY NOTE: If you’d like to help publicize by mentioning this event on a website, please, please check with us first for a very important detail in the wording about our staff. Thanks!
6. WHAT’S A HARDANGER-FIDDLE? WHAT’S A SPRINGAR? WHAT’S SVIKT?
The unique Norwegian HARDANGER-FIDDLE, or HARDINGFELE, is often ornately carved & inlaid with distinctive motifs. Underneath its regular bowed strings are 4 or 5 sympathetic strings, which sound when certain harmonically-related notes are played above. And the upper strings are set so it’s easier to play two at once. So, with all these notes plus trills & other musical ornaments, you’d swear it sounds like at least two people playing. But wait, there’s more: while the notes weave their mesmerizing spell, we actually dance to the rhythm tapped out by the fiddler’s feet. (No kidding.) For more info, see the Hardanger Fiddle Association of America's website, www.hfaa.org.
SPRINGARS are traditional dance/music of Norway. Springar music is in 3 like waltz music, but with uneven rhythm and emphasis on certain beats. (Think of Viennese waltz, which also has 3 uneven beats—that’s what causes its exhilarating lilt—the first beat is rushed/shortened and the musicians & dancers seem to hang in the air on the second--it's like that but different.) Various regions of Norway developed their own distinctive springar rhythms, dances, and tunes. For example, in the Valdresspringar (springar from Valdres), beats 1-2-3 of the music/dance are short-long-normal in length and heavy-light-normal in weight. And in Telespringar (springar from Telemark), beats 1-2-3 are normal-long-short in length and normal-heavy-light in weight. (For comparison, think of familiar “OOM-pah-pah” waltz beats which are normal-normal-normal in length and heavy-light-light in weight.)
SVIKT is the vertical movement in most Scandinavian dances including Springars. Dancers’ flexed knees/ankles on certain beats are like coiled springs, which drive the energetic movement of the dance. The Telespringar is unusual in that the 2nd beat is the heaviest/longest, and from that the dancers spring forward/upward a bit to the 3rd beat. In Valdresspringar, the first beat is heaviest/shortest, and from that the dancers spring forward/upward to step onto the ball of their feet on the 2nd beat.
These steps match the speed and loudness of the fiddler’s tapping feet. As with any dancing, it helps to hear the rhythm and phrasing of the music and be able to pick out where "1" is. Don’t worry, this will all start to make sense if you observe a roomful of dancers and move around in rhythm with an experienced dancer.
So, come share the Joy of Springar! Just listen to the mesmerizing cascade of notes and watch until eventually you're drawn to the floor.... Caution: These rhythms & dances are intoxicating, and highly habit-forming to susceptible individuals!
7. INFO FOR HARDANGER-FIDDLERS AND WANNABES:
Yes, come to the Spree! Please contact Loretta or Jenny by 4/18, so we can make plans based on your Hardanger-fiddle or regular-fiddle experience, what you’d like to do/learn, etc.
Loretta & Tony’s house and Seekers each have separate spaces for jamming or fiddle classes, so you can jam/practice as much as you like and pop in & out of other things that are going on. Fiddlers like to attend dance classes to get the rhythm in their bodies; don’t miss the beginning on Saturday morning when everyone will be dancing around the room in rhythm before learning any dance moves.
Don’t don’t have a Hardanger-fiddle? Contact us or someone at HFAA.org ASAP; there may be one available to borrow. If you can’t get one, just come out anyway to dance/listen, try someone else’s, and generally immerse yourself.
8. INFO FOR DANCERS:
VALDRESSPRINGAR has couples moving around the floor in a big circle. There’s no set sequence; the man improvises the order of the leads. He does variations on quick flashy turns, each ending with spinning the woman, with little turns and kicks in between to wind himself up and add spice. After building some energy & anticipation, he starts the fast rundsnu, a tricky couple-turn where they appear to leap around one another and the man may do a little kick in each measure. After whirling around the floor a bit they open out and start over. Fun dance!
Guys, it’s a little tricky to time the leads right, and so cool when it works. Our guest teacher has a very effective way of teaching the two-measure rhythmic step sequence on which your flashy moves are built, and will have you making the ladies smile way sooner than you thought you could!
Here’s a YouTube video of a young couple dancing Valdresspringar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCipUC2iqkk
MIXED-LEVEL DANCE CLASSES: Whatever your level of experience, there will be something to learn. As the teachers go through the dance, newbies will get the basics and experienced dancers will pick up more details in the moves/steps/styling.
DANCE PARTIES will have a wide variety of Springars and Gammaldans from Norway. Plus probably a little Swedish, including Hambo; around here nyckelharpas and accordions are likely to appear when Hardanger-fiddlers take a break. There will probably be a brief set of Setesdalgangar at some point, which is a fun easy mixer dance that everyone can do—Loretta loves the driving “heartbeat” pulse of Setesdal music; do you?
SINGLES AND COUPLES WELCOME: Really. As at most dancing, the gender balance is often a little off. But that’s OK—some of us enjoy “switching teams” to get a different perspective on the dance, and so all can dance.
NOTE TO BEGINNERS: Go for it! If possible ahead of time, watch some dancing and listen to some music. At the parties, you’ll gradually get the springar rhythms in your body and your heart, and you’ll meet lots of friendly people who were all beginners once, too. Don’t worry about learning a bunch of moves—just listen, watch, get moving to the beat in place, then do the basic step around the floor alone or with someone else (just ask), and when you’re comfortable try a few moves. Keep concentrating on the feel of the rhythm and svikt as you play with the moves you know so far, and you’ll find yourself really dancing and having a fun time!
9. COSTUMES! WORKSHOPS AND MUCH MORE:
Last year there was a new dimension to the Spree: costumes! We welcome back DEB MCCONAGHY of the Carolina Lodge of Sons of Norway. Deb is an excellent seamstress who knows all sorts of clever tricks and resources for making and altering costumes. She has researched many of the over 450 official bunader (plural of bunad, the formal folk costume). At lunchtime on Saturday she will do a fine POWERPOINT SLIDESHOW PRESENTATION about costumes, including a few pointers on “what not to wear with your bunad.” At other times her binder of pictures will be available for viewing. On Friday and Saturday she will lead workshops for those who would like to make their own costume pieces—see next paragraph. Limiting workshop participants to 3 on Saturday will leave her more free than last year to spend time with others—she would be happy to help identify where a costume piece is from, help you with altering your costume, advise you on cleaning costumes/jewelry, discuss what type of costume to choose, measure you to order one from somewhere, etc., etc. (If Deb spends some time helping you, please consider making a donation at the registration desk to help support her habit!) Last but not least, Deb can take orders to make costumes, and she has a few items for sale: fabric, drakt/bunad kits, costume pieces, buttons/hardware, and søljer (sing. sølje—the beautiful metal brooches with dangly bits); her prices are said to be quite good.
COSTUME MAKING WORKSHOP DETAILS: Friday and Saturday, 9am-5pm, choose one or both days. Limit 6 participants on Friday and 3 on Saturday. ADVANCE REGISTRATION REQUIRED—contact Jenny to reserve a place and to connect w/Deb to discuss your plans and what you need to buy ahead of time. If you can’t do these dates but want to know when Deb will be back, let us know. MAND’s Sonja Bensen said it was “incredible” how Deb “led 5 people, including people who had not machine sewed before, in creating patterns designed for them, and shepherding them through the sewing. I’ve never seen anything like it and I was a costume major in college. Also, her stitching and choice of fabrics [are] incredible....”
WHAT COSTUME WOULD YOU LIKE TO MAKE OR BUY? Deb can help you with your choice of bunad, folkedrakt, stakk og liv, etc. She says sewing a folkedrakt isn’t as difficult as you might think, especially with her modification to the blouse pattern—if you can sew at all, go for it! She recommends making a folkedrakt, because a bunad costs thousands and involves many hours of decorative embroidery and has detailed official specifications for authenticity—but if you want to make a bunad, from scratch or from a kit, she can help. Another thing to consider is that a wool bunad is too hot for dancing in our region, so Deb recommends cotton or linen drakt; or she knows some lookalike fabric substitutions but there’s only so far you can go before “the bunad police” would call it inauthentic. It’s possible to make a complete folkedrakt in two days—one day each for a woman’s blouse and dress, or a man’s shirt and pants. Another possibility, which is becoming quite popular with women in both the US and Norway, is the stakk og liv (skirt and bodice). Apparently it's a less-formal version of the Telemark beltestakk (belted skirt) bunad—the bunad with the wide woven belt that's wrapped multiple times and the huge heavy skirt (lovely but waaay too much skirt for dances from other regions with faster turns!). The stakk og liv is comfortable, flattering, and much less complicated/expensive to make. And it’s fine to make it in lighter, cooler fabrics, and wear it with practically whatever color blouse you like. Last year Phyllis Varga and Mary Hawley of the NYC area generously shared their patterns and research from making their beautiful stakk og liv-and-blouse costumes (thanks again!); based on this Deb made one and developed pattern & instructions for participants.
10. FOOD: Light snacks & coffee/tea/water/lemonade will be provided on Saturday at the church. Your CONTRIBUTIONS OF SNACKS OR PARTY FOOD ARE QUITE WELCOME there, and at Loretta & Tony’s on Thursday and Friday evenings. For Saturday lunch & dinner, you might like to bring your meal from home or visit one of Takoma Park’s great eateries—the registration table will have suggestions. Consider carryout or delivery—it’s quite pleasant to relax and eat at Seekers. Those attending the costume presentation at lunchtime on Saturday will want to plan ahead, bringing lunch from home or ordering in the morning for quick pickup nearby, to eat during the show. Then there’s Sunday brunch—another potluck in MAND’s thriving tradition of tasty dishes and good company! Locals, please bring a little more food than usual if you can, so staff and out-of-towners don't have to. Thanks.
11. HOUSING: Of course there are plenty of hotels in the DC area. And like other folkie communities, MAND has a tradition of offering spare beds & crash space to out-of-town visitors. If you would like to give or receive this hospitality, please contact Jenny by 4/18.
12. WHAT TO WEAR/BRING: Clean dance shoes to change into--wide low heel is best, with leather/smooth sole for turning—really, please clean/check them to protect the floors. Comfortable clothing, with extra shirts if you plan to work up a good springar-sweat. Floral patterns would be nice for our Spring theme, if you like. Nice outfit or Scandinavian costume for Saturday night. Any other costume pieces/materials you’d like to discuss with Deb. Food—see above. Mug w/name on it and toothbrush/paste are nice ideas. WHAT NOT TO BRING: Drugs, pets, weapons, etc. (Yes, we have a special dispensation for Paul's Norwegian belt knife.) WHAT'S OPTIONAL TO BRING: A partner--we mix, and some of us even change gender to keep the balance and enjoy the dances from a different perspective.
13. ITEMS FOR SALE by the registration table on Saturday: CD’s by our fabulous fiddlers. Linda Brooks & Ross Schipper may bring their so-helpful dance videos. Roo Lester’s detailed dance notes (yes we’re sending her money). And Deb has costume stuff & jewelry downstairs. If you'd like to be a vendor, please contact Jenny by 4/18.
14. GOT PHOTOS FROM PAST SPREES? We really should get an album going.... Can you please bring some prints and/or send pix to Jenny?
15. PLEASE VOLUNTEER, HOST, AND SHARE--THANKS: Could you do a shift at the registration table sometime on Saturday daytime or evening—perhaps during a class you’re not attending or a set you could live without? We also need volunteers on Saturday to make coffee, refill drink pitchers, keep food counter tidy, sweep the dance floor, and clean up after the party. Many hands make light work—please contact Jenny and help out. And we could use more hosts for out-of-towners. Thanks for all your support, folks!
16. ABOUT THE MID-ATLANTIC NORWEGIAN DANCERS (MAND): We are a loose network centered in the Baltimore-Washington-Frederick area. Our monthly Norwegian-style house parties have tasty potlucks, friendly company, and lively dancing. We share moves and sometimes have informal classes. Newbies are welcomed, encouraged, and otherwise assimilated. Out-of-town visitors are always a treat; if you plan ahead we can probably put you up at someone’s house. We also have this annual Spring Springar Spree on May Day weekend. Website is http://MAND.fanitull.org. If you'd like to receive breaking news in MAND emails (1 or more per month) or have something to share with the gang, send Jenny an email. And please sign up as a member and RSVP for events at our Meetup site, http://www.meetup.com/Mid-Atlantic-Norwegian-Dancers.
17. CONTACT US: MAND’s intrepid facilitator is Jenny Foster. Email is pi-at-xecu-dot-net (no access when out). Or call 8am-11pm. Home 301~371~4312. Cell (not always on but will be during event) 240~344~0066. No texts, please.