The Sun Assembly

We were so pleased with our first-ever English Country Dance Ball on May 18, 2024. Thanks to all the organizers, volunteers, callers, musicians and callers who made it possible!

In 2025, our friends in Rochester, NY are holding a their iconic Jane Austen Ball, with calling by Beverly Francis and music by Alchemy. Our next ball will be scheduled for Spring 2026. Watch this spot for further details. Meanwhile, you can check out what’s below to get a sense of what happened in 2024.

PerformersProgramScheduleCostRegistrationOther Details

May 17-18, 2024

Expect a variety of dances expertly taught and prompted, music to lift your heart, amiable company, sumptuous refreshment, exquisite decoration, imaginative costumes, and — most of all — delightful dancing by all!

Costumers, please note: Fancy dress of any historical period (past, present, or future) is encouraged, but by no means required.


Registration for the Sun Assembly has reached its capacity.

To ensure there would be enough space for attendees to thoroughly enjoy the dancing, we decided to cap the Ball at 80 dancers. Since we have reached that 80-dancer limit, we are keeping a waiting list.

Waiting list details here


Our Dancing Master will be the irrepressible Dan Blim. Dan is a dancer, caller, and choreographer of English, Scottish, and Contra Dances. Based in Columbus, OH, Dan teaches music history at Denison University and loves trivia, board games, baking, movies, and musicals. Having spent a sabbatical year in Rochester, Dan is well-loved by country dancers in our region!

The Sun Assembly band is:
~~~~ Bellamira ~~~~

Jane Knoeck (piano)
Eileen Kalfass (violin)
Catherine Sloboda (violin/viola)

Jane Knoeck is a founding member of The Groovemongers and Montage, as well as several other superb bands, including Riverbend, and (with Eileen) New Brew and Shandy. She anchors Bellamira’s music with an inventive piano style that is rooted in tradition and eminently danceable.

Eileen Kalfass, the daughter of Syracuse’s own Bob Nicholson, grew up dancing and fiddling for dances. She has played nationally with such bands as Seaglass and Continental Drift, and her award-winning solo recording, “Crossing Bridges” features collaborations with lots of amazing dance musicians. Her sound is big, expressive, and dynamic.

Catherine Sloboda also grew up fiddling for dances with her brother and parents as part of their family band Glenrose, and has recently been playing with many of the best upstate NY bands, including Lake Effect, Ostara, and the Trillium Trio. She is a seasoned teacher of classical violin and brings a classical sensibility and technique to English country dance music. Since 1995 Catherine has studied and performed in various fiddle styles at many camps in the US and Canada with a special interest in Quebecois repertoire.


Dance Instructions PDF
Video Links to Dances on the Program:

The Farmer’s JoySun Assembly
CamberwellRain on the Roof
Handel With CareNoisette
An Early Frost Eastbourne Rover
Emperor of the MoonSapphire Sea
And Good Day to You, Too!Woodshed
The Irish Howle The Invitation
Key to the Cellar Michedonia


Weekly prep sessions (pre-registration NOT required)

The program above includes dances that vary greatly in difficulty level. Come get a sneak preview of all the more complex material. A little practice goes a long way!

  • Saturday, April 20, 3-5 pm *
  • Saturday, April 27, 2-4 pm
  • Saturday, May 4 (Star Wars Day), 3-5 pm *
  • Saturday, May 11, 2-4 pm

* Note: Prep sessions at 3-5 pm are followed by an evening contra dance. Consider having some dinner locally, and then come back at 7:00 for more dancing!

Advanced dance with Bellamira and multiple callers
Friday, May 17, 7:30-10:30 PM:
A panoply of callers teaching a variety of dances not on the ball program
Familiarity with English country dance figures is assumed
Pre-registration NOT required

Ball dance practice with Dan Blim and Bellamira
Saturday, May 18, 1-4 PM:
Pre-registration required

The Sun Assembly Ball with Dan Blim and Bellamira
Saturday, May 18, 7-11 PM:
Pre-registration required


Recommended donation:
$10 for any of the weekly prep sessions
$15 for Friday evening advanced dance
$50 for all day Saturday (includes Ball practice and the Ball itself)

As at all Syracuse Country Dancers’ events, we encourage those with the means to support the dance financially to increase their contribution, and those with limited income to pay less. Contact our registrar if you have any questions about cost.

Where to stay? Where to eat?

The registration form includes a line where you can either request or offer hospitality. If you are interested in staying with a local dancer, please let us know when you register. We cannot guarantee finding beds for everyone who requests one, but if you get your request in early we will do our best to match you with a good host. Information on other local accommodations is available from

Here is a list with several good options for eateries near the dance.

The Sun Assembly is partially sponsored in memory of Gretchen Pearson.