Cascade Contras Registration will begin on July 15, 2024

Cascade Contras on the River is an urban contra dance weekend in a lovely venue beside a park and the Willamette River in Springfield, Oregon. You will enjoy 14 hours of terrific contra music by two outstanding bands.

The Engine Room includes Noah VanNorstrand, Kelsey Wells and Alex Sturbaum. Contra Sutra includes Marni Rachmiel, Brandon Vance, Dave Bartley and Ness Smith-Savedoff. We’ll have two great callers, Cis Hinkle and Laurel Thomas. It will be a terrific weekend!

The Eugene Folklore Society values equality and mutual respect. We appreciate the diversity of gender, age, race, ethnicity, national origin, range of abilities, sexual orientation, gender identity. and gender expression. We actively cultivate a climate of purposeful inclusion of all. Gender neutral calling will be used for all dances.

As in other urban dance camps, dancers will need to arrange their own lodging and meals for the weekend.. When you register you’ll get a link to the camp roster listing dancers’ who are interested in sharing rides or lodging.. We’ve also posted discount hotel information below.

Questions about camp? Send an email to the Cascade Contras Committee.

The Engine Room

The Engine Room includes Noah VanNorstrand, Kelsey Wells and Alex Sturbaum

The Engine Room is an energetic contra dance band hailing from both coasts and places in between. Featuring Kelsey Wells (fiddle, banjo), Alex Sturbaum (guitar, button accordion), and Noah VanNorstrand (fiddle, mandolin, foot percussion) the Engine Room will lay down a driving, nonstop groove that is sure to get you moving.

Contra Sutra

Contra Sutra includes Marni Rachmiel, Brandon Vance, Dave Bartley and Ness Smith-Savedoff.

Dave Bartley Dave, on guitar, mandolin and cittern, combines a broad musical background with
the rhythm sense of a drummer to provide an exciting and solid drive for contra, English
Country, ballroom and international folk dancers. He has played with the groundbreaking
contra and couple dance trio KGB for 30 years and in other bands too numerous to list
here. He also has written almost 400 contra, English and couple dance tunes, many
of which are now in circulation. In addition to USA and Canada, Dave has played in England, France
and Australia. He has played in Balkan bands, swing and jazz combos, performed with the
Seattle Symphony and Opera, performed traditional Greek music in concert in Greece, and at
age 16 opened for Paul Revere and the Raiders. There’s more about him at

Ness Smith-Savedoff Ness is a Los Angeles-based musician and podcast producer. Ness began
playing for contradances at Oberlin College with his group Gallimaufry, eventually
recording two albums, and touring around the United States. Ness continued performing for
contra dances, joining Contra Sutra for the first time in 2016, as well as performing
other genres of music. You can find out more about his music and podcasts on his website

Marni Rachmiel Marni has been playing for contra and English country dances since 1990. She’s
closing in on the halfway point of her goal to play in every US state, and recently added
the UK into the mix after spending a few years based in Cambridge. Bringing soaring
harmonies and funky groove on the flute & sax and matching tunes to dances for maximal
dance ecstasy are her happy place. Her improvisational CD “Violet” with Reverie, including
two of her waltzes, is available on Bandcamp. Besides the various incarnations of Contra
Sutra with Dave Bartley, The End Effects with Anita Anderson, and other contra/ECD
configurations, Marni plays with the Fremont Philharmonic and Ballard Sedentary Sousa

Brandon Vance Internationally acclaimed Scottish fiddler and violinist, Brandon, is the recipient
of Scotland’s 2017 Royal National Mòd “Sutherland Cup” in Scottish Fiddle, Charleston,
South Carolina’s 2021 “Dan Rory MacDonald Memorial Prize in Fiddling” sponsored by the
Clan Donald Lands Trust,  as well as being the youngest to win the U.S. National Open
Scottish Fiddling Championship in both 1999 and 2001. Learn more at


John Oorthuys

Photo of John Oorthuys
John Oorthuys

A great contra dance needs a great sound engineer, and we have one! John Oorthuys has handled the sound board for many, many dances, balls, camps, and special events across the Northwest. Highly regarded by dancers, musicians, and callers for his high-quality sound work, John will apply his skills at Cascade Contras on the River and his wizardry will make the sound fantastic.

Cis Hinkle

Cis Hinkle

Cis has delighted contra and square dancers since 1985 with her skilled teaching, welcoming manner, playful enthusiasm and masterful selection of dances. She is in great demand at music and dance festivals all over the U.S., England and Denmark, and is currently president of Atlanta’s Chattahoochee Contra Dancers. When not on the road, Cis teaches tai chi classes in her native Atlanta, GA.




Laurel Thomas

Laurel Thomas

Laurel has been calling contra dances (and the occasional square) since 2008. Since then, she has called at dances all over the Pacific Northwest, and has made several appearances on the East Coast. Dancers appreciate her clear teaching, articulate calling and her ability to choose fun, lively dances that have good flow. Her carefully crafted programs build skill level throughout the evening and aim to satisfy a mixed level crowd of beginning and experienced dancers.

Schedule will be posted this summer!

We have set registration fees for 2024 Cascade Contras on the River to recover camp costs while providing discounts to encourage young adults and teens to come dance to our nationally-known bands and callers.

Adult 30+ year – $170

Adult 18 to 29 years – $120

Youth 13 to 17 – Free

Children under 13 – Free

Cascade Contras on the River brings dancers together from many areas across the US and Canada. Because the risks of COVID infection varies from one area to another, we will be applying the following health safety protocols to reduce the chance of COVID exposure.

MASKS –Masks will NOT be required and will be optional at the choice of the individual dancer. 

VACCINATION – Vaccinations are not required at this time. We will update the website if we have reason to change this policy.

COVID TESTS – Test strip or dated photo of same-day home rapid COVID test showing negative results will be required upon initial arrival.

THIS POLICY MAY CHANGE BETWEEN NOW AND THE EVENT DATE. If this policy is changed after you register for Cascade Contras, you will be able to cancel and receive a refund if you are not willing or able to comply with the revised policy.

Refunds may be requested for any reason prior to September 1. In this case $25 will be retained and the balance of the fee paid will be refunded.

After September 1, fees paid cannot be refunded except as described below. In these cases $25 will be retained and the balance of the fee paid will be refunded.

>> ILLNESS – Anyone who is ill or has COVID symptoms, or has a person in their household who is ill or has COVID symptoms, and so is unable to attend the event, will be provided a refund.

>> POSITIVE COVID TEST – A refund will be provided if at the time of the event a registered dancer or a member of their household has a positive COVID test.

>> CHANGE IN COVID POLICY – If the Cascade Contras COVID policy is changed after a dancer is registered, and the dancer will not agree to comply with the changed policy, a refund will be provided.

>> EVENT CANCELLATION – If Cascade Contras on the River is entirely cancelled, all registered dancers will be provided a refund.

REGISTRATION LIMIT & WAITLIST– We are limiting the number of registered dancers to 135 to prevent overcrowding on the dance floor. Once this limit is reached a waitlist will be maintained and waitlisted dancers will be notified when a cancellation occurs.

COVID TESTS – Test strip or dated photo of same-day home rapid COVID test showing negative results will be required upon initial arrival.

BADGES – Cascade Contras will provide a badge for each registrant with your first name and city.. Prefered pronouns can be included on badge if the dancer indicates this on the registration form.

SNACKS – We will provide simple snacks at Cascade Contras. Dancers may also bring their own snacks but refrigeration will be limited.

SHOE & CLOTHING EXCHANGE – We’ll provide an area to display dancing shoes and clothing that you may bring for sale or exchange.

Willamalane Adult Activity Center

Located in downtown Springfield alongside a wonderful park and the Willamette River, the Willamalane Adult Activity Center is a beautiful, modern facility featuring a comfortable lounge area and outdoor patio overlooking the river and Island Park. The center’s lovely setting, spacious interior, stage, and dance floor are ideal for our contra dancing weekend and can accommodate up to 200 people. Ample parking is available at the Center and on adjacent streets.

We will be dancing in the McKenzie Room, a 2,300-square-foot multi-purpose room suitable for large gatherings and special events. Key features include an excellent wood floor and performance stage. This room connects to the Cascade Room, an 800 square foot room that will be our cloakroom and provide social and relaxation space. During most of the weekend, we will also have full use of the large, comfortable lounge area and patio for socializing and relaxing.

The property is operated by the Willamalane Park and Recreation District. Terms of rental do not allow alcohol, tobacco and marijuana in any form on the Activity Center property. Dogs and other pets are also not allowed in the Activity Center.

Simple snacks will be provided, but dancers will be responsible for their own meals. There will be breaks for lunch and dinner on Saturday, and a lunch break on Sunday.

Photo of downtown Springfield
Main Street, Springfield Oregon

If you want to purchase a meal, there are multiple pubs and restaurants in Springfield’s historic downtown within a few minutes walk of the dance venue. Additional eating options are within a 5-10 minute drive. You could also pack a lunch or dinner and eat at the Activity Center or in scenic Island Park along the river.

Cascade Contras is an urban dance camp and dancers will be responsible for their own lodging plans. There are abundant Airbnb, Vrbo and motel options in Eugene-Springfield. We encourage dancers to use the camp roster (to be distributed beginning in August) to contact other dancers to make shared lodging arrangements to reduce costs.

Discounted lodging options will become available soon! Check this page to find out what hotels are available hopefully by May.