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All-Ages Folk Dance

Join in the fun of an old-fashioned barn dance for all ages with live music and professional calling. All dances are taught; no experience or partners are necessary. Great fun for the whole family, from toddlers to grandparents!


There is always live music, and it is often provided by the Mixed Age Dance (MAD) band, which you can join! Musicians of all ages and abilities are welcome to play in the MAD band. There is a rehearsal immediately prior to the dance. Find out more about the MAD band below.

Admission for Dancers and Mad Band Musicians is $10 per person, or $25 per family of 3 or more. For those with limited income: $5-$10 per person and $15-$25 per family

This fall, there will be All-Ages Folk Dances on the following dates:

  • Sunday, September 15, 3-5 PM

  • Sunday, October 13, 3-5 PM

  • Sunday, November 17, 3-5 PM

All dances are held at the Suzanne Patterson Center, 1 Monument Drive, Princeton, NJ 08540

About the Mixed Age Dance (MAD) band

The band plays easy-to-learn tunes for the All-Ages Folk Dance. Participants range in age from elementary school to senior citizens. Anyone of any age, on any instrument, is welcome to join in. It’s a great way to learn a new instrument or learn to play with a live band. You don’t need to go to lots of rehearsals; just show up early on the day of the dance for a practice! But you do need to know some of the music. Learn only as many as you are comfortable with. Some people like to play just a few tunes and dance the rest of the time. The whole point is to have fun. And you don't need to know every tune to play in the band!

​The band leader will lead a rehearsal before the dance for those wishing to play in the band. Both rehearsal and the dance are in the Suzanne Patterson Center (on Monument Drive behind the police station, at the corner of Rt. 206 and Nassau St., Princeton, NJ 08540).

Please note:

  • Musicians should print out and bring their own music for tunes that they wish to play.

  • Children must be accompanied by an adult during both the practice and the dance.

  • Please bring your own music stand. It is a good idea to write your name on the stand--address labels are helpful for this.

Music for musicians

The music is divided into three levels of difficulty. You may play one or all pieces or levels, or any number of notes in a given piece. The half measure will be ~ metronome marking 108. Bandleader Louise McClure recommends learning at least one or two of the “easy” pieces first.  The point is to have fun and not stress out.

Some tips for faking: play the first note of each measure, or of each group of three (In 6/8 time) or four (in 2/4 and 4/4 times) notes. If you can follow the printed notes with your eyes, even if you can’t play them yet, you’re halfway there. Some people learn best just by listening to the tune several times through before starting to “fiddle” with it, or even by watching someone else’s fingers.

Click here for the collection of All MAD Band tunes for 2023-2024.

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