Sautee Nacoochee Center to host dance weekend this spring

The Sautee Nacoochee Cultural Center will host its first-ever Spring @ Sautee three-day dance weekend March 24-26, 2023.

The Sautee Nacoochee Center welcomes the dance world to its first-ever weekend of live music and dance: Spring @ Sautee. The three-day event is open to the public, beginning Friday evening, March 24, and continuing until Sunday afternoon, March 26.

The weekend will feature fun and interactive dance sessions, workshops, yoga classes, and energetic live music from local and regional bands.

All ages and experience levels are welcome.

“Folks from as far away as Connecticut will attend this three-day event of live music and dancing,” says Jennie Inglis, marketing and development coordinator for the Sautee Nacoochee Community Association (SNCA).

Activities will be held in the Historic Gymnasium and Community Hall at the Center on Highway 255 near Helen, Georgia.

Dream come true

Part of the inspiration for the name Spring @ Sautee came from local author Emory Jones’ book, The Valley Where They Danced.

Dancing of all kinds has gone on at the Center since the early 1980s.

“It has been a dream of the dance organizers to host a weekend event, and Emory’s book title evokes the beauty and magic of dancing in the Sautee and Nacoochee Valleys,” says SNCA Executive Director Mel Whitehead.

Two bands will anchor the dance weekend, Playing With Fyre and Contraforce.

Event organizers describe Playing With Fyre as a “unique, dynamic trio that plays within the unparalleled passion of the moment.”

With their unique blend of jazz, old-time, and blues, Playing with Fyre takes dancers on an “emotionally driven dance journey,” says Inglis. Band members include George Paul on piano, Rob Zisette on fiddle, and Steve Kemble on percussion.

Charleston, South Carolina-based quartet Contraforce is deeply rooted in traditional folk music. The group composes and records its own tunes and does not shy away from musical experimentation. Members include fiddler Andrae Raffield, percussionist/handpan/saxophonist Joey Dorwart, guitarist Jimi “Two Nails” Peirano, and Vocalist Karin Mcquade.

Callers Deanna Palumbo and Terry Doyle will lead dancers through the figures and dances.

DJ Tacoshel will provide the mix for a late-night Techno Contra Dance on Saturday. Epic First Dance will teach a swing workshop prior to the afternoon Swing Dance on Saturday with the Toccoa Jazz Band. Waltz sessions will be offered on both Saturday and Sunday mornings.


The cost to register for Spring @ Sautee is $125. A full schedule and registration information are available at

The Sautee Center is located at 283 Hwy 255 North in Sautee. The Sautee Nacoochee Community Association is a member-based organization serving White and Habersham Counties and all of Northeast Georgia. Its mission is to value and nurture individual creativity, along with the historical, cultural, and environmental resources of the Sautee and Nacoochee Valleys and surrounding areas.

For more information, visit or call 706-878-3300.

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