David Millstone started contra dancing with Dudley Laufman in the early 1970s and has been calling dances for more than thirty years. His monthly dance since 1980 has been with the band “Northern Spy” in Norwich, Vermont, making this one of the longest series in New England. With an American repertoire ranging from traditional New England chestnuts to high-energy recent compositions, he calls contras, squares, and interesting dances in odd formations. He is also an experienced caller of English country dances. He is known for his clear and supportive teaching style, the breadth of his repertoire, his sense of humor, and his ability to pick dances that offer the right level of challenge for all audiences.
As a dance leader for younger or less experienced dancers, he has called for hundreds of family dances, weddings and private parties throughout the Northeast. He has been a staff member at week-long family dance camps run by the Country Dance and Song Society. A former elementary school teacher, he also taught country dancing, sword dancing and Morris dancing to students.
David has called dances throughout the United States and Canada, as well as in seven countries in Europe. He has made five calling tours of Denmark, including conducting a daylong callers’ class, and he has led dance tours to Prague and the Czech Republic on four occasions. Recent (2013) gigs took him to Nashville, New Mexico, Ottawa and Montreal; his summer schedule includes a trip to Macedonia with Village Harmony, Harmony of Song & Dance Week and then Labor Day Weekend at Pinewoods, with dance weekends in Minnesota and Arizona on tap for the fall. The end of the year finds him on staff at Winter Dance Week at the John C. Campbell Folk School, Brasstown, NC,
He is also a dance historian and a videographer. He is co-author of Cracking Chestnuts, a book about classic American contra dances published by CDSS. He also wrote the contra dance history chapter of Dance a While (tenth edition) and the liner notes on dance history for the “Contra Roots and Branches” CD. He coordinates the Square Dance History Project, a major initiative that is building a digital library —moving images, audio clips, photographs, and text — exploring all different styles, past and present, of square dance.
David Millstone served for six years on the Governing Board of the Country Dance and Song Society, the nation’s major organization supporting traditional English and Anglo-American music and dance, and he is now CDSS President.