Bill Quern has been a dance musician with FiddleKicks since 2003. He has a degree in Fine Arts from MA College of Art where he studied performance, sculpture and instrument making. He plays for Contra and Square dances, English Country dances, teaches Morris dancing (at Saint Peter's School in Philadelphia), and dances with Kingsessing Morris Men (10 time winners in the Philadelphia Mummer's Parade). He also plays for French and Scandinavian dancing. He has performed in England, Scotland, Holland, China, Canada and at many music and dance festivals and dances across the United States. Along with his wife Sarah, a FiddleKicks dancer, they perform as the duo, Box and String, and are on the staff at the Ashokan Music and Dance camp.
Bob Pasquarello has been a dance musician and composer most of his life. In addition to playing guitar and mandolin for FiddleKicks, Bob is the bass player for Raise the Roof and the pianist for Pieces of Eight.
||Jan Smith joined FiddleKicks
in 2006. Prior to dancing with FiddleKicks she studied Irish
step dancing with Rosmarie Timmoney. Her favorite place to
dance however is on Broad Street on January 1st where she
has marched with the Goodtimers Comic Division for the last
decade. She plays the cello and performs on piano and accordion
with Aunt Jean's Band. She has been an active member of the
Philadelphia Juggler's Club for ten years and clowns around
in her spare time. Tango and contra dancing have been a big
influence on her, and she's found wonderful teachers in all
of these spaces.
Kari D'Amore began dancing
with Fiddlekicks in 2013. At an early age her parents enrolled
her in tap and jazz, and some of her fondest memories growing
up revolved around the Barb Powlus Dance School! In school
she was a majorette and continued through high school as
a competitive cheerleader. Kari has an aunt who is a member
of the Erie
Canal Cloggers and at family get-togethers she began
to teach clogging dances. In November of 2012 they were
at the National Clogging Convention in Nashville, and a
couple of months later she started taking clogging classes
with FiddleKicks. Soon she was asked to become a performing
member of the group! She quickly said yes and has once again
embraced dance as a very important part of her life.
||Kathy Talvitie made her dance
debut at the age of five as a tap dancing starfish. Dancing
and playing music have filled her life with joy ever since.
Her path as a dancer has led her to ballet, tap, international
and modern dance. For the past 20 years she has been active
in the Delaware Valley Contra Dance and English Country Dance
community as a dancer, musician and composer. In addition
to playing guitar with the band Raise the Roof, she plays
piano with Hold the Mustard and A Joyful Noise. “After
playing for just one FiddleKicks performance I knew it was
time to dust off those tap shoes."
Kristina Peacock-Jones joined
FiddleKicks in 2010. She comes from a background of ballet,
jazz, and tap. After taking a break from dance to get her
engineering degree, her good friend Donna, a clogger from
NY, introduced her to clogging. Realizing that she really
missed having dance in her life, she sought out the Fiddlekicks
for lessons and quickly became a member of the group. Since
then, she has danced in several shows and really enjoys
being a part of FiddleKicks
Louise Speirs has been
clogging with Fiddlekicks since 2009 and loves it! She also
performs English Country dance with Germantown
Country Dancers and enjoys other dance forms, including
waltz and contra dancing.
||Pat McGrath, former co-director,
joined FiddleKicks in 1998. With extensive tap training as
a child, it wasn’t long after joining the group that
she began collaborating with Peggy to lead and develop FiddleKicks,
especially artistically. Pat expanded FiddleKicks repertoire
with gumboot, body percussion and advanced Cape Breton dancing.
She has studied dance at Augusta Heritage Center in West Virginia
for Appalachian Clogging and Flatfooting, Pinewoods in Massachusetts,
The Gaelic College of Celtic Arts and Crafts, Cape Breton,
the Swannanoa Gathering and an independent study dance class
at Penn State Abington.
||Peggy Leiby, director, was
a founding member of FiddleKicks in 1996. Upon assuming a
leadership role in 1998, she envisioned that FiddleKicks could
be taken from its informal community dance roots to a quality
performance troupe, whether in a concert setting or community
hoedown. She has extensive experience in the Philadelphia
folk dance and music community as an events organizer and
dance performer in various forms of dance, and thrives in
developing concepts for events and outreach programs. She
brings skills of her past experience as a co-owner of a magazine
publishing company to her passion and drive for traditional
dance and music. Besides spending as much time dancing as
she can, she is a co-founder and organizer of Mostly
Waltz, teaches waltzing and other couple dances, plays
recorders & concertina in a number of ensembles &
bands (for early music, improvisation and contra
country dances), handles bookings for Simple
Gifts and manages phillydance.com.
||Rebecca Faye Powers grew up in a house
filled with traditional music and dance. Departing from the
folk tradition, Rebecca pursued a career in ballet and modern
dance, performing with Dance Matrix and the Russian Ballet
Theatre of Delaware. Returning to her roots, Rebecca now plays
old-time banjo and performs in a variety of percussive folk
styles. She received extensive training under Eileen Carson-Schatz
and Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble, becoming a principal
dancer with the touring company. Rebecca is a performing member
of Fiddlekicks in Philadelphia and a teacher/choreographer
for the City Stompers in NYC.
Gowan was raised in a household where art, music,
dance, and performance were as much a part of daily life as
breakfast. Some of her earliest memories are of the lively
old-time fiddle music and spontaneous clogging sessions in
the yard of her great-grandmother's house nestled in the Smokey
Mountains of Asheville, North Carolina. A performer at the
age of six; she studied piano, cello, singing, and ballet.
She fell in love with the stage when, in a local production
of Oliver!, she was given a one line solo because she could
sing louder than the rest of the 80 kids in the cast. In her
teens, Sarah rediscovered the traditional music of her youth,
leading her to international, square and contra dancing. Sarah
also performs with Mixed Pickles Vintage Dancers, plays guitar
and English concertina with several dance bands, teaches traditional
couple dancing, and composes the occasional tune. She lives
with her two terrific teenagers, Garrett and Emma, who almost
never complain about the clogging, squeezeboxes, and banjos,
although the cats often do.
Sarah Thomas joined FiddleKicks
in 2005 when she was ten years old. She performs various
dancing styles in the troupe’s repertoire, including
Appalachian Clogging, English Waltz & Sword and Cape
Breton. Sarah came to FiddleKicks after five years of classical
ballet. She also enjoys the violin, piano, cooking, and
soccer. Sarah was homeschooled through high school and she
now studies music and psychology at The University of Tulsa.
Anderson is an active dancer, singer, musician,
as well as organizer in Philly’s international folk
dance community. As the leader of the International
Folk Sounds orchestra, she sings and plays many instruments
including gaida (bagpipe), balalaika, violin and tambura.
She is currently on staff at Mainewoods Dance Camp; performs
with Svitanya, a women’s a cappella ensemble that specializes
in the music of Eastern Europe; and runs the weekly Beaver
Folk Dance group group. “FiddleKicks is a blast!!”
We tailor our shows to best meet the needs of an audience and
participants by choosing from a pool of guest artists to present
the most suitable entertainment.
||Jo Wright is the Director
& Kicking, based in Exeter, Devon. Formed in 1989,
A&K performs music and dance at folk festivals and events
throughout the UK from the Appalachian Mountain region of
the USA. Based on the traditional steps of Appalachian clogging,
A&K have developed their own distinctive and exciting
style of Appalachian clog dance, using dances choreographed
by members of the team. In 2003 the group visited Philadelphia
as guests of FiddleKicks, who made a return visit to the UK
in 2004. Since then, Jo has returned to the USA regularly
as a guest performer with FiddleKicks in Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania
and West Virginia. Back at home, Jo provides foot percussion
for the Old Porch Band, an Exeter based string band performing
American and UK music, and also performs solo flatfooting
and Cape Breton step dancing at folk clubs in the area.
Steve Hickman & John Devine are seasoned dance and performance musicians from VA & WV respectively. Both have been members of popular traveling bands and are in great demand as a performance duo. These good ol’ boys know mountain, old time, folk, and swing music, AND how to work together to create a spirited and "with it" sound. Steve is an unsurpassed fiddler renowned for his driving energy, superb hambone, and great humor. John plays crisp back-up guitar that invites dancing, toe-tapping and singing along.
||Rik Bourne plays fiddle, melodeon,
harmonica and guitar. He is a member of folk music trio, The
Coyotes (with Bill Dooley and Wendi Bourne), and is also the
musician for The Kingsessing Morris Men. When not playing
with his regular groups, Rik can be found playing at square
dances with his wife, Wendi, and as a dance musician in other
bands. Rik’s performances include The Philadelphia Folk
Festival, The Philadelphia Mummer’s Parade, and a Tour
of England with the Kingsessing Morris Dancers.
||Rusty Neithammer started playing
old-time music on the fiddle while in college in the 1970’s,
after hearing it on radio station WXPN, at the Philly Folk
Festival, and at some southern fiddle contests. Over the years,
he also took up the mandolin and guitar. Soon after college,
he was drafted to dance with the Mill Creek Cloggers. Rusty’s
playing has been strongly influenced by the fiddling and banjo
playing of Tommy Jarrell. Besides playing in various band
configurations for Fiddlekicks, Rusty plays fiddle with the
Bow Rockers, an old-time band based in the Philadelphia area.
He also plays guitar with the Cliffhangers, who have recently
released a series of CD recordings.
||Wendi Bourne plays guitar
and sings. She is a member of swing bands Girls
from Mars and Swing City as well as The Coyotes. She is
the coordinator for a week-long music & dance “camp”,
Swing Week at Augusta. She has been playing for square dances
with Rik since their marriage in 1978. She has taught guitar
and voice at numerous music camps, and has performed at The
Annenberg Center, The Philadelphia Folk Festival, Bethlehem
Musikfest and at swing dances up and down the east coast.