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FiddleKicks performers

Bill Quern is a dance musician and has played for FiddleKicks since 2003. His father filled the house with instruments for his 10 siblings to explore, so Bill developed into a multi-instrumentalist. Fiddle, banjo, concertina, mandolin, harmonica and bodhran became his selection as an adult. 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 Scandinavian dancing. He dances with Kingsessing Morris Men (7 time winners in the Philadelphia Mummer's Parade) and plays for English Rapper and Longsword dance teams. Other performances include; Enscaded Festival in Holland, on Chinese television, the New England Folk Festival, the Butterball Dance Festival, and the Heritage Dance Festival.
 

Evann Gastaldo started clogging in California as a teenager in the 1990s, eventually joining and performing with an exhibition team of precision cloggers that also combined a number of other styles of dance in its choreography. After drifting away from the dance community after college, she met her future husband, moved to Pennsylvania where he grew up, and got married. In 2011, realizing how much she missed dancing, and looking for a way to get more involved around her new home and make friends, she found FiddleKicks and has been having a great time ever since!

 

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.
 

Jessica Keister began dancing with Fiddlekicks in 2014.

 

Justine Duffy began dancing with Fiddlekicks in 2014.

 

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 and contra & English 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.
Sarah 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.

Susan 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!!”

Artist Roster
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.

Bill Dooley has been a perennial favorite in the Philadelphia folk music scene since the 1970s. In addition to his skills on guitar, banjo, and harmonica, he is a warm, engaging singer with “A talent for reaching into his vast repertoire of traditional and vintage songs to pull out an unknown gem.” (City Paper). Bill is highly regarded for his arrangements of jazz and popular standards for solo guitar as well as Hawaiian “slack-key” guitar. He is an adept songwriter, skilled old-timey musician, and is known for his unique repertoire of songs and tunes “from the hills and Bob Wills to doo-wah-ditty and back to the city.”
Ellie Grace: Singer, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and percussive dancer, Ellie grew up traveling across North America performing professionally as part of her family band and now carries on her family's musical tradition, touring and teaching nationally and internationally (frequently with her sister, Leela)! Ellie has done extensive recording and studio work and several years ago released a celebrated CD with her sister. Not long ago, Ellie left Columbia, Missouri, where she was running her own school of music and dance and headed east to her new home in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Recent years finds her performing as a member of The Dirk Powell Band, being on faculty as a percussive dance instructor at the University of North Carolina at Asheville and touring overseas. website
  Jane Rothfield
Jo Wright is the Director of Alive & 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.
  Laura Robertson
  Mat Clark
Steve Hickman & John Devine are seasoned dance and performance musicians from VA & WV in the Washington, DC area. Both have been members of popular traveling bands and are in great demand as a performance duo. These folks 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.

 

 

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