Bob Isaacs Caller Workshop Scheduled July 27


For all the newer and more experienced contra dance callers in our local area, as well as interested folks from further afar, PICD is bringing contra calling mentor mastermind, Bob Isaacs, to town to teach us some intermediate-to-advanced skills.

Are you a caller interested in improving your skill?


Saturday, July 27, 2019


Hosted at the Event Barn at Turkey Hill Farm, Cape Elizabeth, Maine

$35 advance registration required

Limited to 12 participants

Click here for more information and to register.

The Pic'd Up Orchestra Rides Again April 25

The Pic'd Up Orchestra 12/20/18

The Pic'd Up Orchestra 12/20/18


The last open band night on December 20, 2018 was so awesome that we wanted to schedule the next one soon. The open band is everyone’s opportunity to play music for live contra dancers on stage. It’s the warmest, fuzziest thing we’ve ever done.


Next open band night: Thursday, April 25, 2019

Piano - Neil Pearlman

Fiddle - Clara Stickney

Fearless Leader - Emily Troll

Other Instruments - YOU!


In an open band, everyone is welcome!


The goal is simply to have fun together playing music for dancers. There is room for new, intermediate, and experienced musicians alike. Fearless Leader, Emily Troll, makes the group work for everybody.

Invite folks who play instruments that you don’t normally see at contra dances. Invite folks who haven’t been to a contra dance before.

Fearless Leader, Emily Troll, along with the lead rhythm player, Neil Pearlman, and lead melody player, Clara Stickney, will host a practice party about a week or so ahead of the dance. Attending this party is not required for participating in the open band on April 25, but it is recommended. 

To find out about the date and location of the practice party, email Emily at


PICD Winter Ball 12/20/18. Music by the Pic'd Up Orchestra (Emily Troll conducting, Clara Stickney lead fiddle, Neil Pearlman lead piano, and 28 volunteer musicians). Calling by Dugan Murphy.


Go Ice Skating With Us!

Ice Skating Banner

Our dance floor is being refinished on Thursday, February 21, 2019, so let’s go ice skating instead! Meet us at The Rink at Thompson’s Point (10 Thompsons Point) in Portland.

Admission is $8 for ages 6 and up ($5 for ages 5 and below), plus $3 if you got to rent skates. Drop in anytime between 7:00 and 9:00PM. The rink closes at 9.

FMI about The Rink at Thompson’s Point:

Your Help Needed to Keep Joy Emanating!


To dance is to live.

To donate is to make dance possible.

Tax-deductible donations from loving folks like you make our dance community the best thing ever.

Admissions collected at the door pay the rent and the performers, but we rely on financial support from donors like you to:

  • Keep dancers secure with liability insurance

  • Spread the news with high-quality promotions

  • Adorn your shirts with those cute buttons

  • Create special things for special events

  • Maintain sound gear, air circulators, and other equipment

  • Contribute to venue repairs to protect dancer experience

  • &c. &c. &c.

We'd love to send you a letter (for your tax records) thanking you for your generosity. Everyone likes getting mail!

You can also mail a check made out to "Portland Intown Contra Dance" to PO Box 784, Portland, ME 04104. 

PICD Check

This heartfelt request comes from the PICD Board of Directors.

Can't wait for another year of revelry and connection.

The Pic'd Up Orchestra's Next Gig in December

Fearless Leader, Emily Troll, conducting The Pic'd Up Orchestra 12/14/17

Fearless Leader, Emily Troll, conducting The Pic'd Up Orchestra 12/14/17


Have you heard of or seen the open band at Portland Intown Contra Dance? Have you thought maybe that you’d like to play your instrument for dancers, but weren’t sure how to get a place on the stage?

Here’s your chance to get involved.


Open Band Night - December 20, 2018

Piano - Neil Pearlman

Fiddle - Clara Stickney

Fearless Leader - Emily Troll

Other Instruments - YOU!


In an open band, everyone is welcome!


The goal is simply to have fun playing together for dancers. If you’ve been playing fiddle for two days, come and saw away on your D string. If you’re a more experienced player, come share your music with the community. A good time is guaranteed for all. 

A great open band has a diverse array of instruments. Fearless Leader, Emily Troll, would especially love to recruit some trombone and trumpet players, so please spread the word, even to your friends who don’t dance yet. Think outside the box.

And for those folks wanting a little preparation, we will have a practice party to get ready on December 8, 10AM-12PM. 

So are you in? If so, please email Emily at for more information about the location of the rehearsal and about joining the band. 


New Words for Dance Roles

Drawing by  Angela DeCarlis

Drawing by Angela DeCarlis

On Thursday, June 14, PICD will celebrate the two-year (two years already!) anniversary of our growing, vibrant dance community with the second open band night.  We are also taking the opportunity to switch the role terms we use from "jets" and "rubies" to "larks" and "ravens."  Larks (replacing jets) start the dance on the left of their partner; ravens (replacing rubies) start on the right.

What's up with these new terms, you ask?

  • Larks = Left and Ravens = Right makes a lot of sense, especially if you're learning.

  • A lot of people say that "jets" and "rubies" have masculine and feminine connotations that incorrectly imply that the two roles are attached to gender. "Larks" and "ravens" have less connection to gender.

  • Over the last two years, pretty much all the contra dance communities around the country that use gender-free roles have switched to using these words, so now we're aligned with them.

  • Because we're aligning with all these other dances, it will be easier for callers who travel to other dance communities. (There's a lot of mechanical stuff for callers that goes into choosing role terms. These factors are summarized well in this graphic analysis by Ron Blechner from Massachusetts, if you're curious.)

Anyway, it's just dancing.  See you soon!

Happy Dancers Dance Outside

Free dances for regulars and walk-ups.

Contra Dancing in Congress Square Park 2017

Have you ever walked down the street and wondered what it would be like to share the joy of contra dancing with the folks walking next to you?  When we dance outside downtown, people stop and notice.  Then we ask them to dance! 

Thanks to a collaboration with Friends of Congress Square Park, PICD will be offering free outdoor dances on third Wednesdays June through September 2018! All dancing will be from 6 'til 8 PM in Congress Square Park, located on the corner of Congress and High Streets downtown.



We have an awesome lineup of talented folks:

June 20: Darlene Underwood calling with Wild Rumpus

Wild Rumpus (Deborah Colón, Karl Colón, and Bobby Douglas) from Ohio will be performing, joined by caller Darlene Underwood, also from Ohio. They'll also be performing for us for our regular Thursday-night contra dance on June 21.

July 18: Dugan Murphy calling with The Riff Raff

Local favorite, Dugan Murphy, will be calling with music by The Riff Raff.  They are Jesse Ball (accordion), Everest Witman (guitar), Matt Kenney (drums), and Clara Stickney (fiddle). Here they are (with Julie Metcalf on fiddle) caught on video being awesome.

August 15: Dugan Murphy calling with Maivish

Dugan Murphy is calling again, this time with Maivish, playing tunes from the British Isles, Ireland and America with a mix of original compositions. With Jaige Trudel on fiddle and Adam Broome on guitar, their performances are infused with lush vocal harmonies, inspired interplay, and captivating spirit.

September 19: Shari Shakti calling with Emily, Glen, and Julie

Rising star, Shari Shakti, recently exploded onto the Maine-New Hampshire calling circuit and is quick becoming a regional standard on the mic. She is joined by Julie Vallimont from Boston (piano, accordion) and local favorites Emily Troll (fiddle, accordion), and Glen Loper (mandolin, banjo, percussion).

See you in the park!


9-Hour Fundraiser Dance Extravaganza in May

We the organizers of Portland Intown Contra Dance have been doing a great job paying the bills and performers and raising money for needed costs when they arise (remember raising over $4,000 to purchase a sound system or when we raised $200 for an extra air circulator?), but that always leaves us with little money in the bank for a rainy day.  Nobody would want our dance to go away just because of a few slow evenings, right? 

Of course not.

Announcing The Portland Triple-Decker!

Let's get some money in the bank so we can run this ship with confidence!  It will start with a 30-minute waltz lesson by master Alex Hennings, then 9 hours of contra dancing with 3 bands and three callers.  We've got:

Calluna (Jesse Ball, Eileen O'Grady, and Gus Cantieni) from Western Massachusetts
Orono Contraband (Anthony Viselli, Ryu Mitsuhashi, Sam Furth, and Paul Riechmann) from Maine
Joy Compass (Jamie Oshima and Clara Stickney) from Maine


Dave Eisenstadter from Western Massachusetts
Quena Crain from New York City
Angela DeCarlis from Boston

Oh, and since it is a fundraiser, we figure we should have a 50/50 raffle.  How about that!

Bring a few extra bucks to play the 50/50 raffle!

Bring a few extra bucks to play the 50/50 raffle!


See the event page for more details, invite your friends on Facebook, and download the flyer to share the news!