October 21-24, 2021
Evening Star Grange
Dummerston, Vermont

Details coming soon!

If you are a Pourparler Alumni, please follow our listserve, for future details. If you have never attended Pourparler, send an email to and request to be added to our email Alerts list.

So, save the date and if you have any questions, suggestions, or are interested in participating please write to 


If you want to meet and enjoy wonderful callers, teachers, and dance and music enthusiasts while singing, dancing, sharing teaching techniques, discussing important dance or music-related issues, and creating enduring friendships, you should attend the Pourparler. This is one of the best community dance experiences in the United States! It is warm, lively, and supportive, and you will dance and sing your way home with more new material that you thought one weekend could possibly produce!

The name Pourparler comes from the French word “to speak,” and connotes a get-together, a chat. Since its inception in 1997, Pourparler has taken place in Illinois, Utah, California, Massachusetts, Washington State, Vermont, West Virginia, Oregon, Maryland, Texas, and Wisconsin.

Pourparler is a yearly gathering of dance and music educators from North America who are dedicated to teaching folk/ethnic/world/traditional dance in schools and/or community events. The brainchild of Sanna Longden, internationally respected dance educator from Evanston, Illinois, this weekend is a unique blend of dance and song sharing, discussion and networking. Experts in the field, teachers and musicians known across the continent, join with relative newcomers to share their best dances and tips for successful school residencies, family dances and other events that build community through cross-cultural dancing. Pourparler is a gathering of colleagues, where we are all leaders and participants, and there are no hired “experts.”

The content each year is different, reflecting the needs and skills of the people who attend. In the past we have learned dances from many traditions including Balkan, Mexican, East Asian, Central Asian, Scandinavian, Israeli, French, English Country, square dancing, contra dancing, sword dancing, line dancing,Maypoles, old-time couple dancing, singing games, and many others. We discuss teaching techniques, repertoire, costuming, music, school curricula and self-employment.

Dance Sharing
Dance sharing is the heart and soul of PP, the focus for discussions and the major way we learn from each other. All participants are encouraged to present a dance, whether or not they have attended previous Pourparlers. It is also okay not to, if preferred.

Syllabus/videos/music/Google Group
After each year’s Pourparler, participants are given access to a Dropbox folder containing a full syllabus of instructions for all dances presented at the event, videos of all material presented, and recorded music for many of the dances. After a year has passed, the materials from that event become available to anyone who has attended a Pourparler in the past. These archival materials are tremendously useful, as much of what we learn from each other at Pourparler has not been published elsewhere.

In addition, thanks to Margaret and Jeff Bary, the Pourparler Google Group continues to connect us between gatherings.  Anyone who has ever attended a Pourparler (but, again, not for those who haven’t yet joined us), may ask for advice, share happy and/or horrible stories, and get immediate feedback from colleagues around the continent.

Here’s what previous participants had to say about Pourparler:
“It’s hard to say which part of Pourparler I value most…spending a weekend dancing in a charmed place with charming people… or that these people know exactly the challenges I face and have six ways to solve every issue… or returning to my students with a deeper understanding of traditional dance.”

“The memories of our Pourparler weekend linger on. I cannot put into words the wonderful feeling I had of camaraderie and joy in dance.”

“Somehow, every year Pourparler seems to get better and better…. As always, I come away with a mellow high from associating with such wonderful people through the medium of music, dance, and simple childlike play.”

“This conference fills me up!  I learn, I share, I laugh, I get stretched, I create, I meet new and longtime friends.  It is just the best place to be refueled and to continue to carry forth bringing community dance to young and old.  We all have equal value and experiences that our colleagues can learn from–there are no peacock feathers here. The materials you provide . . . make it easy and rich to take home. Pourparler has been a great gift in my life.”

No Cologne Zone
Because many of us are sensitive to scented products, Pourparler is a fragrance free event. Please come without cologne, or scented lotions, after shave or conditioners. You’re sweet enough as you are.

Contact the Pourparler Board

Pourparler is a function of the National Folk Organization (NFO)
and receives additional funding from the Country Dance and Song Society (CDSS)


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