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Flurry Festival Update 12/17/21

Flurry 2022 will NOT take place over Presidents Weekend.

The combination of the current Delta wave and an expected increase in cases caused by vaccine-resistant Omicron means that even vaccination and testing/screening requirements cannot guarantee a low risk of viral transmission at the festival. We are exploring options for holding an outdoor version of the Flurry in the spring, and will post updates as they come.

We encourage those of you with hotel reservations to consider hanging on to them for a wintertime Saratoga getaway. The Hilton will honor our group rate for any reservations you’ve made through Flurry, and Discover Saratoga is offering discounts around town that weekend for Flurry guests (visit Discover Saratoga – Flurry Festival 2022). Best of all, we’re planning to present some of our Flurry All-Stars for a special concert at Caffe Lena on Friday night! The Hilton will not be cancelling your existing reservations, so if you choose not to come to town please be sure to cancel them yourselves

A message from Discover Saratoga:

Though we will certainly miss the Flurry Festival event this year, we wanted to let you know that Saratoga is open and ready to safely welcome guests. We invite you to keep your reservations and to plan a fun weekend exploring all of Saratoga’s wonderful winter experiences. Visit a museum, soak in a mineral bath, or try some outdoor winter fun, like snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. The Saratoga region truly offers something for everyone! We will be sharing information just for Flurry guests that will feature special discounts around town for you to enjoy (more details to follow). In the meantime, we encourage you to visit Discover Saratoga – Things to Do for a complete listing of our region’s activities and attractions. We hope you choose to visit Saratoga this February and we look forward to hosting the Flurry in 2023!

– Darryl Leggieri, President of Discover Saratoga

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The Flurry Festival is one of the largest folk dance and music festivals in North America, and draws roughly 4,500 attendees and 400 performers.

WHEN:

February 18-20, 2022

WHERE:

Flurry Headquarters: Saratoga Springs City Center / Hilton Hotel, 522 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
Other venues may include: Saratoga Music Hall, Excelsior Springs Event Center, Caffe Lena, Parting Glass Pub, and other nearby locations.

TYPES OF EVENTS:

Dances and Workshops — such as Contra, Swing, Latin, English Country, Squares, Vintage, Clogging, Hip-Hop, Cajun, Zydeco, Irish, Scandinavian, Middle Eastern, Asian, European, American and International Folk, Yoga and Body Movement, and more! Beginner to experienced sessions.

Make Music and Sing — in sessions such as Irish, Quebecois, Southern Old-Time, African, Scandinavian, Adirondack, Gospel & Community Singalongs, Folk, Fiddle, Guitar, Banjo, Flute, Harmonica, Ukulele, Voice and more!

FESTIVAL PLANNING COMMITTEE

Open Committee Positions:

If you’d like to join the committee, click on the items below to review our current needs. If interested in a position, or if you’d like to know more about working on the Flurry committee, please contact our Flurry Admin Director.

A volunteer committee of roughly 30 individuals work with Festival Directors and are committed to producing a welcoming event of traditional dance, music, instruction and entertainment for all ages.

Our philosophy: to present a high-quality, eclectic, feel-good festival of traditional social dance and music. Because most of the original (and current) organizing committee entered the world of dance through contra dancing, a significant portion of our program has been devoted to contras. Over time, additional dance styles have been added.

The Flurry serves as a showcase for the wealth of talented dance leaders and musicians from our area and beyond, as well as a venue to further develop their skills in a festival atmosphere.

We are committed to our local talent. This is the backbone of our dance community. We fill many session slots with local and regional performers but also bring in a limited number of “special guest” performers from outside of our region.

The Festival is committed to encouraging and supporting our performers as much as we can within the limits of our human resources and budget. The festival happens because hundreds of people volunteer their time to make it work. We cannot afford to pay performers what we think their services are worth, but we are working toward that goal.

 

WE’RE SPONSORED BY THE DANCEFLURRY ORGANIZATION

The DanceFlurry Organization (originally the Hudson-Mohawk Traditional Dances, Inc.) is a non-profit organization dedicated to connecting and inspiring people through traditional music and dance. The DanceFlurry Organization is a 501(C)(3)tax-exempt organization, and are registered with the Charities Bureau of the State of New York Office of the Attorney General.

Check the DanceFlurry Organization website for information about local dances, support, membership and Adirondack Dance Weekend.

You can help by becoming a sponsor, volunteer, or a member of the DanceFlurry Organization, and by buying the music and books at the performers’ sales table at the Festival.

FESTIVAL HISTORY

It was pure luck that the Dance Flurry Festival (now called “The Flurry”) came into being.

In 1987, Nancy Gretta and Paul Rosenberg were car-pooling to the Brattleboro, Vermont, Labor Day Dawn Dance. As they drove, they reminisced about how wonderful the one and only Old Songs Winter Dance Fest had been. In the Autumn of 1986, the 2nd annual Winter Dance Fest was in the planning stages when the director stepped down, and Nancy had just learned that the 1988 festival was also canceled. She asked Paul (partially in jest) if he would organize a replacement festival.

The wheels began to spin, and Paul thought a smaller, one-day winter dance festival could be a logical extension of the Schenectady contra dance series, which he had developed earlier in 1987. This series was (and its successors still are) unique because it was totally dedicated to the showcasing and development of callers and musicians from within the Capital District of New York State.

The Hudson-Mohawk Country Dancers (later known as Hudson-Mohawk Traditional Dances, Inc., and now as the DanceFlurry Organization) was formed as a not-for-profit chapter of the Country Dance and Song Society (CDSS) around 1987, which allowed for grants and the ability to obtain liability insurance.

The first February Dance Flurry was a one-day festival held at the Westmere Elementary School in Guilderland, NY, on February 13, 1988. Over 300 dancers attended a highly successful event, staffed entirely by 38 local and regional performers, including Jay Ungar, Molly Mason, George Wilson, Selma Kaplan, Pat Rust, Mary Cay Brass, Van Kaynor, and the St. Regis String Band.

The Festival evolved to become a three-day extravaganza, which was held for several years at the Farnsworth Middle School in Guilderland. In 1994, just two-and-a-half weeks before the Flurry, very cold weather burst water pipes in the school’s gymnasium and ruined the floor. The Flurry organizers scrambled to find an alternative venue, and managed to cobble together a festival held at several venues in the city of Saratoga Springs. The location was a perfect match, and Saratoga Springs has been the home of the Flurry, ever since, and the attendance — including over 400 performers and 300 Flurry staff and volunteers — has climbed to over 5,000.

Around 2010, the “Dance Flurry” festival name was changed to reflect both dance and non-dance events (an often said reply to being asked about attending the “Dance Flurry” was: “Oh, I don’t go, because I don’t dance”).  And so, “The Flurry – A Festival of Traditional Dancing and Music,” became the proper name and motto, known now as “The Flurry.” The organization retained the “DanceFlurry” name and hosts The Flurry, as well as a fall Adirondack dance weekend, and an assortment of dances throughout the year.