Registration is open!
One Exceptional Dance Weekend Where Two Cultures Meet
Just north of the Vermont border in the eastern townships of Québec, Ooh La La offers a rich summer dance weekend experience with a warm community spirit. Nationally renowned bands and callers, a fabulous sprung wood floor, locally grown organic food prepared by our own chefs, and plenty of dancing, workshops, and singing have made Ooh La La an annual pilgrimage for many.
You can expect nothing but the finest, most festive bands and callers at Ooh La La!
Sarah VanNorstrand has been calling, organizing and teaching contra, square, and family/community dances for over ten years. She has a clear and engaging teaching style and a great repertoire of dances to share. Instantly hooked from her first contra dance as a teen, Sarah’s love of social dancing and her joy in sharing it is evident and infectious. Above all, her goal as a caller is to make sure the dancers are having a wonderful time connecting with the music and each other.
After humble beginnings calling a dance series he started in college, Dave Eisenstadter has gone on to call some of the largest dances in the country alongside some of the most talented musicians playing the circuit. Hoping to bring energy to each dance he calls, Dave can often be found dancing along to the music from the stage.
Clara Stickney and Jamie Oshima are a Maine-based duo known for their expressive and groovy music for contra dancing. Surrounded by traditional music all of his life, Jamie delights dancers with his genre-blending and dynamic use of rhythm instruments (guitar, piano, and foot percussion). Drawing from her classical background and love of traditional tunes, Clara Stickney provides melody lines both playful and compelling on the fiddle and the lever harp. Together they co-create a sound that dancers respond to with joy and stomping feet.
Donald discovered traditional music and dance more than 20 years ago, and has been sharing the joy of folk dancing for over a decade now as a caller.
Over time, he added storytelling to his practice. He likes to mix these different traditions for people’s enjoyment & so that these art forms continue to make us vibrate and to be part of our lives.
His experience as a facilitator and master of ceremonies allows him to reach a wide audience in a variety of circumstances and he is constantly working to integrate these arts into his performances with the intention of making his audiences discover & develop an appreciation for them.
For him, the gathering around folk music and traditional dances remains one of the best ways for people to celebrate and have fun.
Grandes Rencontres… seminal encounters.
The meeting of two musicians, each perfectly attuned to the other. A blending of two musical genres. A tale of two duos, a few decades apart.
In 1984 Sabin Jacques attended a concert that was to change the course of his musical life. The performer was Philippe Bruneau, and the impact of his rich, expressive playing on the teenage musician was colossal. Sabin’s strong connection with Bruneau’s music, and his deep bond with the accordion were forged on that unforgettable night in Pointe-au-Père.
In 1997, during the catastrophic ice storm that hit large areas of Quebec, Rachel Aucoin turned on the radio, little suspecting that the course of her life would be changed by what she was about to hear. What she heard was Sabin Jacques, accompanied by Dorothée Hogan, paying musical tribute to Philippe Bruneau. Rachel was transfixed. Two years later, at La Grande Rencontre festival in 1999, Rachel met Sabin and made the connection with her memory of the radio broadcast. With her classical piano studies just finished, and with her rich Acadian family tradition, she naturally found her place in a world of people as generous and genuine as the music they carry.
Sabin and Rachel have been musical and life partners since that seminal encounter. The profound complicity they have developed shines through this, their first recording as a duo. In recording these selected compositions of Philippe Bruneau, their aim has been to weave strands of tradition and newness into a rich, strongly colored fabric. Some will recognize versions put together by Bruneau and Dorothée Hogan. Other pieces will take listeners to a different place, somewhere between a night of dancing and a grand classical concert.
Maivish will be the house band again for this year’s Ooh La La Dance Weekend.
Maivish is a collaboration between American fiddler Jaige Trudel, British born guitarist Adam Broome and Virginia native Mathew Olwell on flutes, percussion and step dance.
Jaige and Adam have been performing together since 2001 for dances, festivals and concerts throughout North America and abroad, predominantly with the band Crowfoot. Matthew has been performing and teaching as a dancer and percussionist at festivals and theatres across North America and Europe since 1996. These three musicians have joined together to explore and cultivate traditional and original music for dancing and the concert stage. Their sound has been described as mercurial, powerful, uplifting, and eminently danceable. The name Maivish comes from an English colloquial term for the Song Thrush.
An important part of the overall vision for Ooh La La is to encourage and support youth participation by providing opportunities to explore connections with traditional music and dance forms. We attempt to achieve this goal in a variety of ways:
This outreach gives participants a chance to network and to hone their skills in a dance weekend setting, provides exposure to an extended dance community, and offers committed young talent an opportunity to meet and work with experienced staff.
New this year: We are aware that college students and other youth may be in the process of lining up summer engagements and may be unsure this early in the year whether they can commit to a volunteer spot at Ooh La La. We have adapted our registration policy so that youth volunteers who are in this situation will have a grace period, extending until May 15, during which we will hold their spot without payment. We ask that you let us know as soon as possible as your summer plans solidify so that we may fill your spot if you can’t come.
Ooh La La takes place at the “Centre Ste-Famille” in the charming town of Richmond, Québec. The dance hall is bright, spacious, and has a fantastic sprung floor!
Find directions on Google: 155 Rue Craig, Richmond, Québec
Dancers are responsible for their own lodging during the weekend. Motels and B&Bs are available in the area as well as some beautiful camping areas. Stay an extra night – explore Québec’s Eastern Townships!
Check out the 2018 schedule to get an idea of how the weekend works.
Registrants will receive the 2019 schedule via email sometime in June!
We ask for approximately six hours of volunteer time during the weekend; most tasks occur outside of dancing time. Activities include: dishwashing, kitchen work, and food preparation, floor sweeping, setting up tables, helping with snacks and final clean up on Sunday. Chatting, singing and friend-making encouraged while volunteering! Volunteers attend at a reduced rate ($105 CAD/$85 USD).
**PLEASE NOTE** as of 2.15.2019 all of the “non-youth” volunteer spots have been filled. If you are over 35 and wish to be placed on a waitlist for a volunteer spot you can let us know on the registration form.
In an effort to encourage and enable youth participation at Ooh La La! we are reserving a certain number of these volunteer slots exclusively for young people. Even though we’re all young at heart, for the purposes of these positions, we will consider “youth” to include folks who are 35 or under. If you qualify, please let us know on your registration form and we will follow up with you.
*New this year: We are aware that college students and other youth may be in the process of lining up summer engagements and may be unsure this early in the year whether they can commit to a volunteer spot at Ooh La La. We have adapted our registration policy so that youth volunteers who are in this situation will have a grace period, extending until May 15, during which we will hold their spot without payment. We ask that you let us know as soon as possible as your summer plans solidify so that we may fill your spot if you can’t come.
Please contact our volunteer coordinator, Mary Wesley, with any questions: email@example.com
Photos by Lina Giguère and Marie-Claude Simon
The price for Ooh La La 2019: $220 CAD // $170 USD
Already registered and need to pay? Click here!
Learn more about volunteering. Please contact our volunteer coordinator, Mary Wesley, to join the waitlist or if you have any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ooh La La is organized by a devoted group of volunteers spread across borders. Adam Broome, Jaige Trudel, Marjolène Forest & Mary Wesley comprise the core committee, working throughout the year to prepare for the big weekend! Our faithful ‘Super Volunteers’ this year include Eugene Lawrence who is ready to jump in at that critical time when everything must happen at once.
If you have ANY questions about our dance weekend, please don’t hesitate to get in touch! Email us at: email@example.com
You can also keep up with Ooh La La news on our Facebook Page