Longer Bio

I started calling about 25 years ago at the encouragement of Amy (Richardson) Larkin, Kerry Elkin, and Ruth Richards, fine local musicians--and to be ready in case disaster struck and a caller did not show for the local dance that I organized in New Bedford in the early 1990's. I have continued to be an enthusiastic member of the dancing/calling community since that time. In 2004, I added English Country Dance to my repertoire.

I am very lucky to have a resonant, easily understood voice. Feedback from dancers and organizers alike includes compliments  for clear teaching, and inclusive programming. It is a joy to guide and encourage beginners--so I try to offer programs that stimulate easy participation and feelings of success. I enjoy and am comfortable with working with all levels of dancers, from family dances to mixed levels and experienced dancers. I have even called for wheel-chair bound elders! 

A great deal of time is spent on planning programs, so that they are as varied and interesting as possible, and to stress the inclusive nature of the tradition. I enjoy working with all types of bands, and like to emphasize that my goals for the dancers are to provide an experience that emphasizes success, encourages a sense of community with the other dancers, and an appreciation for our rich musical heritage, as well as the artistry of our musicians. 

I am lucky to live in Massachusetts, surrounded by dancing and calling opportunities all over New England. But I am happy to travel to call, and love seeing the following list of locations continue to grow!

My most frequent calling gigs:

  • Concord, MA  Scout House
  • Cape Cod
  • Greenfield, MA
  • Rehoboth, MA

In addition: many more towns and cities in Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine, New York, New Jersey, Washington DC, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Michigan, Louisiana, Washington state, Alaska, Idaho, Arizona, and California. Internationally, add Denmark and England!

Here are the Festivals and Dance camps that have invited me to be on staff:


NEFFA; Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend; DEFF, NOMAD; Champlain Valley Folk Festival; Snow Ball; Dance Flurry; EISTEDFODD; Ann Arbor Dawn Dance; Brattleboro Dawn Dances; Inter Varsity Folk Dance Festival, Essex, England.

Dance camps:

Monte Toyon; BACDS American Week; several LCFD Dance Camps; Dance Awakenings near San Francisco; May Madness in Arizona; Echo Summit; Star Hampshire in New Hampshire; Dancing Bears in Alaska; Pinewoods American Week; CDS July 4th Weekend at Pinewoods; Lady of the Lake in Idaho; Slugs at Sunrise in Seattle, Washington; Fiddling Frog near Los Angeles; Pine Woods First Week-end and Labor Day Weekends; the Silkeborg Convention in Silkeborg, Denmark; as well as the Tommerup Festival, also in Denmark

Workshop offerings include, but are not limited to:

  • Programming ideas for callers
  • Gender role-free, both beginner and advanced levels
  • The Zen of Contra
  • Odd formation contras
  • Beginner contra sessions
  • Becket formation
  • Challenging contras
  • Triplet contras
  • Triple minor contras
  • Beginning waltz
  • Dance analysis
  • Dances that flow
  • The joys of one night stands
  • Organizing dance cards
  • 1,2,3,4, Swing contras
  • Four face Four dances
  • Traditional dances
  • Contras with a surprise
  • The TLC of contra dancing
  • Anything but duple minor dances

It is a joy to be included in celebrations that include contra dancing as a part of the festivities. These include weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, school events, religious groups, reenactment camps, conservation groups, farm days, and retirement homes. 

I share my energy with NEFFA, the New England Folk Festival Association. Since 1999, I have had the good fortune to be Chair of the Program Committee, and to be associated with the other wonderful, talented members of this committee. This means dedicating many hours to volunteer work, assuring that the Festival has a varied and exciting Program of dance, song, and music, from beginner to more advanced levels of participation and enjoyment.

© Linda Leslie 2018