Welcome to Jonathan Sivier's Dance Page


Calling/leading/teaching Dances

I've been involved in traditional dance since 1987 and have been leading dances since 1992. I am active with the Urbana Country Dancers and am one of the leaders of the Central Illinois English Country Dancers. I regularly lead contra, English and square dances in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois and elsewhere. I serve as one of the English country dance editors for the Country Dance and Song Society Newsletter. One of my ongoing projects is the reconstuction of music and dances from New Harmony, Indiana circa 1826.

From 2011 to 2014 I taught dance to senior's as part of a project for the University of Illinois Kinesiology Department looking at the effects of different kinds of exercise on cognition in older adults. In this study I created and taught a class on Contra and English Country Dance. The participants were groups of seniors who attended 3 hour-long classes each week for 24 weeks. In addition to my dance section there were similar groups who walked or did typical exercise classes. Data was collected during the classes and the participants were tested before and after the entire course. Some of the results were published in a paper in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience. This paper was mentioned in the articles at The New York Times, The Denver Post and Colorado State

I've led contra and English dances at various locations in Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Contact me at 217/359-8225 or jsivier@illinois.edu about calling at your dance.

I am able to organize and lead several types of dance evenings, such as:

  • Contra Dance
  • English Country Dance
  • Civil War Ball
  • Regency Ball
  • Dance Parties (for groups of mostly non-dancers)

I also have experience leading a number of different types of workshops and classes, including:

  • Contra Dance
    • Basics of contra dance
    • Challenging contra dances
    • Classic Contras: Early American and Chestnut Contra Dances from 1800 to the 1950's
    • Becoming a better contra dancer (and a sought after partner)
    • Contras with a Twist
  • English Country Dance
    • Regency Era Dances
    • Playful Playford
    • English Country Dancing With Jane Austen: On Screen and Off
    • English Country Dances with Zest and Flow
  • Historical Dance
    • Early American Dance (1700's and 1800's)
    • Civil War Era Dances
    • Dances from New Harmony, Indiana, 1826
    • Cotilions, Quadrilles and Squares: The Evolution of the Square Dance
    • Dances from Abraham Lincoln's Lifetime
    • The Evolution of Social Dance in the 19th Century
    • Traditional Dance Revivals of the 20th Century
  • Square Dance
  • Beginner and Intermediate Waltzing
  • Couple dances such as the waltz, polka, schottische and hambo
  • Irish Ceili Dances
  • Unusual Formations (not your typical contra dance)
  • Basics of dance calling
  • Contra and English country dancing for seniors
Some dances I've written
Dances from New Harmony, Indiana
Notes on dance calling
What makes a good dancer?
Tips on dancing with beginners

lining up calling

Here I am calling at a Halloween family dance.

ACE Award Poster

I received a 2010 ACE Award from the Champaign County Arts, Culture and Entertainment Council for leadership in the local dance community.
Click here for more information on the award.
Download the poster.

Send me a message at:

last updated on June 8, 2017