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Parrish Art Museum To Host Traditional Contra Dance With Caller Dave Harvey And Dunegrass

Gwen Clarke

A recent contra dance on the East End. (Photo: Michael Heller)

"I choose my dances both to best suit the skills and interests of the dancers and to allow the musicians to showcase their strengths while playing music that closely matches the character of the dance," said Dave Harvey, the founder of New York City Barn Dance.

On Friday, June 5th, from 6 to 8 p.m., the Parrish Art Museum is presenting an evening of traditional American contra dance, or barn dance, with professional caller Dave Harvey and the East End bluegrass group, Dunegrass. The outdoor event was created in celebration of the Town of Southampton's 375th Anniversary.

Andrea Grover, Century Arts Foundation Curator of Special Projects, and Amy Kirwin, the Visitor Services and Museum Programs Manager, operate as the series co-organizers at the Museum. "The East End has long celebrated the changing of seasons with contra dancing in barns," noted Kirwin and Grover. "We can't think of a better way to celebrate the rich history of Southampton than a traditional barn dance on the Mildred C. Brinn Terrace. Caller Dave Harvey will be guiding guests through the moves, so even if you have never taken part before, you can feel confident that you will have a ball."

The contra dance is derived from Anglo, Irish, and Scottish traditions. Harvey has been leading the events for participants of all ages and experience for more 20 years. As the band plays, Harvey creates the dance by "calling" the steps that may include do-si-do, allemande right, ladies chain, circle left, pass through, and promenade.

East End bluegrass band Dunegrass has been playing at festivals, concerts and contra dances throughout Long Island for more than a decade. Dunegrass performs original songs and instrumentals, as well as bluegrass arrangements of familiar tunes by artists such as Patsy Cline and the Beatles. The group features Lisa Shaw on guitar, keyboard and vocals; Sandra Chapin playing upright acoustic bass; Tom Hashagen on mandolin, guitar and vocals; and Dan Skabeikis on fiddle.

This event is one of several offered by the Parrish to celebrate the 375th anniversary of Southampton Town, which was settled in 1640. The yearlong celebration includes a variety of events, including a rededication of the monument at Conscience Point where the settlers landed.

Sounds of Summer concerts are featured at the Parrish on the first Friday of each month. All concerts are free with Museum admission and do not require advance reservations.

Parrish Art Museum is located at 279 Montauk Highway in Water Mill. For more information, visit www.parrishart.org.

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