This is an archive of the 2016 Mad Robin Ball web site. To learn about the upcoming Mad Robin Ball, see our current ball page.


Give yourself up . . . to these wonderful teachers and musicians!

Our Dancing Mistress:

Joanna Reiner

Joanna Reiner, a Philadelphia-based English dance caller, is known for the clarity of her teaching and her dedication to encouraging people to become better dancers.  Since her debut here at Mendocino English Week in 2008, Joanna has become a sought-after caller in California for dance weeks, dance weekends and balls.    And we’re not the only ones – she is teaching this year in Hawaii, the Virgin Islands, and England before joining us for Mad Robin.  When not on the road, Joanna calls regularly for the Germantown Country Dancers, has taught Scottish country dance and English longsword dance, and has led an English country dance demonstration team.


Charlie Hancock

Pianist and accordion player Charlie Hancock is a star in the Bay Area English and contra dance scenes, and more. From jazz to swing to Irish music, Charlie plays with brilliance, drive, and clarity. Charlie has played for BACDS dances, camps, and balls for more than 20 years, with occasional gigs further afield, including Pinewoods and the Portland (OR) English ball. He is a member of several dance bands: Raggedy Annes, Swing Farm, and the Guppies. He also plays with the Bay Area folk ensemble Euphonia, and has recorded with Sylvia Herold, Holly Tannen, and Cathie Whitesides.  Charlie rescued Mad Robin at the very start when he attended our first ball as a dancer, only to be pressed into service when our pianist took ill. He returned to Mad Robin in 2003 and 2012 as a featured musician. His infusion of high energy and equal facility in accompanying English Country, Scottish, contra, and ritual dancing, make him one of our favorites.

Shira Kammen

Appearing on stage for the 5th time at Mad Robin, Shira Kammen is a multi-instrumentalist (primarily violin, vielle, and viola) and vocalist who has spent well over half her life exploring the worlds of early and traditional music. She is a favorite at dance camps and events around the country, and often appears with the English country dance band Roguery.  A member for many years of the early music Ensembles Alcatraz, Project Ars Nova, and Medieval Strings, she has worked also with Sequentia, Hesperion XX, the Boston Camerata, the Balkan group Kitka, the Oregon, California and San Francisco Shakespeare Festivals, and is the founder of Class V Music, an ensemble dedicated to performance on river rafting trips. She has performed and taught in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Israel, Morocco, and Japan, and on the Colorado, Rogue, Green, Grande Ronde, East Carson and Klamath Rivers. Shira has recorded many albums in a variety of styles of music and has played on several television and movie soundtracks, including 'O', a modern high school setting of Othello and ‘’The Nativity Story’. Some of her original music can be heard in an independent film about fans of the work of JRR Tolkien. The strangest place Shira has played is in the elephant pit of the Jerusalem Zoo. Her website is

Jim Oakden

Jim Oakden started playing piano and clarinet at an early age and stumbled into early music from the classical music scene. After six years performing early music, he discovered the world of traditional and ethnic music. Having diverse tastes, he has played in many bands and performs on an absurd number of instruments, including accordion, mandolin, several styles of bagpipes, recorders, whistle and zurna (to name but a few). A dancer himself, he specializes in playing for dancers in a various bands for ECD, contra, morris, Irish, Breton/French, Greek, and Bulgarian. He has been on staff at myriad dance events throughout this country and England. His recordings include two albums with Persons of Quality and four volumes of Impropriety with the band Roguery.  This year Jim is playing for his 5th Mad Robin Ball.



Last modified 3/22/16 by MRB webmaster