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Dave Colestock

Contra and Square Dance Caller

Email: ContraDancerDave {at} Yahoo {dot} Com


Dave Colestock calling at Frederick dance 1/24/2004


I am a contra and square dance caller and the booking coordinator for the Harrisburg, PA contra dance series, known as the Locust Lane Contra Dance. I am a founding member of the Harrisburg Area Contra Dance Association (HACDA), created in August 1999 as a registered non-profit organization to run our then 8 year old local contra dance series at Locust Lane. I served as President for its first 8 years, and I am currently its Vice President. I also do the booking of bands and callers for the dance series. I started calling dances myself in early 1999, prior to the creation of HACDA, calling my first half-evening of contras in May of 1999 at the Locust Lane Contra Dance, and I have been calling and teaching dances ever since. Soon after I started calling contras I decided to try my hand at calling square dances, and and quickly found a love of traditional and singing squares. I also enjoy teaching other American Folk dancessuch as triplets, circles, mixers, and longways set dances in addition to contras and squares.

I was a staff performer as a caller and workshop leader at the Heritage Folk Festival in Philadelphia each year from 1999-2005, and at the NOMAD Festival in Connecticut from 2000-2007. I also have called at the Ralph Page Memorial Dance Weekend in New Hampshire in 2003, 2004 and 2008 during the Open sessions, and have had several of the dances I have written published in the syllabus from each of those years. I have written quite a few dances, many of which can be found on this website. I have called at dances and festivals in 13 states. Some of the dances at which I have called include Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; Long Island, NY; Chatham, NJ; Baltimore, MD; the Gender Free Dance in New York City; the Thursday Night Dance in Cambridge, MA; Charlottesville, VA, the Scouthouse in Concord, MA; and the Friday and Sunday night dances at Glen Echo, in Washington, DC. In 2007 I created the "Frolic in the Fall", held 9/22/07, which was a 12 hour dance event featuring an hour-long non stop dance medley, 2 bands and 2 caller, and was held at a wooded camp in the foothills of the mountains in Harrisburg, and I am working on making that an annual event.

I called at Glen Echo on 8/29/2003 in the newly reopened Spanish Ballroom with Mostly Mortal Wombat, one of my favorite bands from Baltimore, and I recorded that dance, and I make the recording available upon request as a demo cd. There is also a cut from that demo on this website. In addition to calling at regularly scheduled contra and square dances, I also have done a number of private parties and other events, including weddings, birthday parties, corporate functions, father-daughter dances, girl scout dances, church events, and fundraisers, and I am available for hire as an American Folk Dance teacher and caller.

I am a member of CDSS, the Country Dance and Song Society, and also a member of the Central Pennsylvania Square Dance Callers Association. I attended Caller's Week at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, North Carolina in June of 2003, where I got the opportunity to hone my calling skills under the instruction of veteran caller Bob Dalsemar.

I am a dance historian, and am dedicated to promoting the tradition of contra and square dancing as a fun activity for people of all ages. I have quite a library of dance related publications, recordings and materials, and have taken to choreographing a few dances of my own (many are on this website). I travel a lot, usually for calling gigs and attending folk festivals - I've gone to up to a dozen dance festivals in one year - and I am always observing and learning.

I have called to many bands, and have even played with several of them. I am a percussionist, playing feet, bones, spoons, hand drums including the djembe, doumbek, and bodhran, and the washboard, as well as various other percussive instruments. Some of my favorite bands that I have performed with include Fiddlestyx (with Steve Hickman and John Devine), the Contra Rebels, and Calliope, as well as several open bands. I have enjoyed calling with many different bands, all of which are listed in my schedule on this site.

In my "off" time, I work in the computer industry as a DSL Support Technician for for a local phone company. I am a native of the Harrisburg, PA area, and I consider myself a true dance gypsy! I love to dance, love the music, love to travel, and love the people. American folk dance is my passion, and one I enjoy sharing with others everywhere I go.

If you would like any more information, please feel free to contact me. You can contact all of my references through Ted Crane’s dance database at or contact me for their email and/or contact info, which I do not post for security reasons.

Greg Frock, Baltimore MD caller and dance organizer
Bob Isaacs, Princeton NJ caller and choreographer
Todd Clewell, York PA musician, member of the Contra Rebels
Perry Shafran, Annapolis MD dance organizer and caller
Bob Dalsemer, Brasstown NC caller and teacher
Henry Koretsky, Harrisburg PA musician, member of the Contra Rebels
Kiran Wagle, Massachusetts caller & contra dance website host
Nils Fredland, New Hampshire music teacher, musician and caller
Bob Hofkin, Delaware caller and dance organizer
Steve Hickman, Virginia musician, member of Fiddlestyx
John Devine, West Virginia musician, member of Fiddlestyx

These pages last updated Mar 02, 2013.