The Sun Assembly

PerformersProgramScheduleRegistrationOther Details

The Syracuse Country Dancers are pleased to announce our first-ever
English Country Dance Ball

Scheduled for May 17-18, 2024
YOU are cordially invited to attend

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.


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
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.


Dances will be chosen from the following list.

CamberwellThe Irish Howle
An Early FrostKey to the Cellar
Eastbourne RoverMichedonia
Emperor of the MoonNoisette
The Farmer’s JoyRain on the Roof
And Good Day to You, Too!Sapphire Sea
Handel With CareSun Assembly
The InvitationWoodshed


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, 2-5 PM:
Pre-registration required

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


Registration will open on March 15, 2024
You do not have to beware the Ides of March; just be sure to register early, because to assure comfortable dancing, the Ball will be capped at 80 dancers.

Recommended donation:
$15 for Friday evening advanced dance
$50 for all day Saturday (Ball and prep session)

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.