Git down with the Six Dollar String Band

by Anya Jaremko-Greenwold

Durango’s second underground barn dance is taking place at the Irish Embassy Underground this weekend! The last underground barn dance at the Irish Embassy Underground happened in November, and if you relish the thought of a drunken hoedown, you shouldn’t miss it this time around. The music will be graciously provided by local group Six Dollar String Band, featuring Tony Holmquist on fiddle, Stephen Sellers on bass and Brendan Shafer on banjo. The genre is “old-time,” similar to bluegrass, though bluegrass is sometimes too fast to dance to – and this event is all about the dancing.

The band will regale participants with folk music from a plethora of different countries like England, Ireland, France and Scotland; while the dancing can be described as “Anglo-American folk,” said Wendy Graham, the night’s official “caller.” Graham’s job is to lead and “call” out dance directions through the night. She’ll be teaching participants how to do it all; circles, mixers, square, contra, 2-step, waltz. But Graham promises there will also be plenty of time for freestyling, if you want to do your own thang. Some dances call for partners, others can be done on your own. But “it’s tradition to switch partners,” Graham said, “so you can come alone and still dance with a lot of different people.”

You might have fears about dancing – but leave them at the door. Graham swears there’s no special footwork involved with this; it’s just a fast walking step anyone can learn, even if you have two left feet. The term “barn dance” doesn’t refer literally to the location of the event (Irish Embassy is no barn by any stretch of the imagination); rather, it refers to the spirit of the tradition. “On a Friday or Saturday, after a hard work week, people get together and frolic, do a fun and easy dance, kick up their heels, let loose,” Graham said. “The first one was so much fun, we didn’t want to stop.”


Anya Jaremko-GreenwoldDGO Staff Writer


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