Dance Your Way Over to the Hudson River Barn Dance!

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Dance your way over to the Palisades Interstate Park on Sunday, September 28 for an outrageous afternoon of barn dancing. A barn dance is a unique kind of dance incorporating traditional or folk music with traditional dancing, occasionally held in a barn, but today, much more likely to be in a suitable dwelling. The term “barn dance” is typically affiliated with family or community-oriented events, usually for people who don’t dance. The caller will routinely use easy dances so that everyone can join in on the fun. A barn dance can be a Celidh, with traditional Irish or Scottish dancing. However, a barn dance can also feature Square dancing, Contra dancing, English Country dance, dancing to Country or Western music, or any other kind of dancing often accompied by a live band and an energetic caller. Dave Harvey, founder of New York City Barn Dance, demonstrates a rich history, knowledge, and love of barn dancing, will call this event. All his dances are described as dance parties not dance classes, and he accomplishes this by keeping his instructions quick, simple and easy for all to follow. To complete the day, a live band, the Backyard Boys, will accompany Harvey.

All ages and levels of experience are welcomed to give it a whirl and no reservations or dance partners are needed to participate. An afternoon of dancing will certainly work up an appetite; thankfully delicious food will be on sale throughout the dance, with proceeds benefitting the ongoing restoration of the park’s Kearney House, a nineteenth-century homestead and riverfront tavern which was badly damaged during Hurricane Sandy, and reopened this past summer for the first time since the devastation. Eric Nelsen, a historical interpreter at the park who oversees the Kearney House, said that there is a long heritage of folk dancing along the river. “It was a big part of American life in the days before mass media,” Nelsen explained. He also pointed out that many nineteenth-century residents of the Palisades fondly recalled the dances they cherished in the tiny riverfront communities underneath the cliffs.

This kind of dancing gained momentum in popularity into the 1900’s. After the Park Commission acquired the riverfront properties, it built several pavilions to serve as dance venues for the crowds of picnickers and campers who descended to the park from New York City and the surrounding areas. The Alpine Pavilion, where the barn dance will be held, built during the depression years, continued that tradition. The second story was set up exclusively for dancing, with beautiful hardwood floors. “You really get a chance to touch a part of America’s past when you give this a try, especially in a setting like this,” Nelsen said. “And Dave is an amazing teacher. He gets everyone out there having fun.” Don’t take our word for it swing by and see for yourself!

Knock on your neighbor’s door at your Bergen County apartment and invite them to join you at the Hudson River Barn Dance. Do si Do from 2pm to 4pm at the Alpine Pavilion, an open-air covered structure, located at the north end of the park’s Alpine Picnic Area, adjacent to Alpine Boat Basin which is accessible from the park’s Alpine entrance off U.S. Route 9W, about a mile north of Closter Dock Road or from exit 2 of the Palisades Interstate Parkway. This happening, co-sponsored by the Palisades Parks Conservancy is free of charge and open to all.

Hudson River Barn Dance

Palisades Interstate Park Commission

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Alpine Pavilion (Rain or Shine)

201-768-1360 ext. 108

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