All About the Mad Robin Ball:

What is it?

Schedule of Events

Frequently Asked Questions

Links to Other Dance Sites

What is the Mad Robin Ball?

The Mad Robin Ball, established in 2002, exists to strengthen the Sebastopol English Country dance group and serve as a bridge to the larger Bay Area dance community. We hope that many dancers from the Sebastopol group will be encouraged to attend this special event and consider attending other balls, dance weekends, and dance camps of the Bay Area group, and that Bay Area dancers will be enticed to participate in more North Bay CDS activities. Each year we invite a widely respected dancing master from near or far with a reputation for devising outstanding dance programs and helping dancers get the most enjoyment out of each dance.

The ball begins with a 3-hour afternoon workshop taught by the dancing master/programmer. This workshop provides an opportunity to learn not only the geography of a dance, but how to dance it really well. Most of the dances on the program are taught in the afternoon, so they feel like old friends when you encounter them that evening. After the workshop there is a dinner break; you are on your own to do as you wish. Many dancers choose to go to dinner together at one of the many local restaurants. A map of restaurants and some sample menus are provided at the hall.

The doors open again at 6:30 to allow time to change into evening attire for the Ball. Separate dressing rooms for men and women are available. The ball proper commences at 7:30 with a Grand March. Everyone finds a partner and the caller leads the procession around the room. The rest of the evening is devoted to the dance program, with a break midway for refreshments contributed by the dancers and elegantly presented by our kitchen staff. Dancing ends at 11:00.

Out-of-town folks and locals alike may wish to make it a weekend. Check our "make it a weekend page" for suggestions of places to stay and sights worth seeing in Sonoma County before and after the ball. On Sunday morning, you are invited to Sebastopol for a potluck brunch at the country home of Jim and Celine Passage followed by the 2:00 Sunday dance at Wischemann Hall with Joseph Pimentel.

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Schedule of Events


Saturday, June 14

2:00-5:00 pm

Mad Robin Workshop at Hermann Sons Hall, 860 Western Ave, Petaluma. Caller: Joseph Pimentel, Music: Chuck Ward, Stan and Susan Kramer, Erik Ievins

5:00 - 7:00

Dinner break


Hall reopens, changing rooms available.


Mad Robin Ball at Hermann Sons Hall, 860 Western Ave, Petaluma. Caller: Joseph Pimentel, Music: Chuck Ward, Stan and Susan Kramer, Erik Ievins. Begins with a Grand March.


Dance program begins


Break - potluck buffet


Dance program continues


Dance ends with closing song.

Sunday, June 15

10:30 am-1:00 pm

Potluck brunch in at the home of Jim and Celine Passage, 8150 Germone Rd., Sebastopol .

2:00-4:30 pm

Sunday Sebastopol Dance at Wischemann Hall, 460 Eddie Lane, Sebastopol. Callers: Sharon Green and Kalia Kliban, Music:TBA . Sponsored by NBCDS.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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I've never attended a ball! How much experience do I need?

You're not alone. Many dancers in the Sebastopol group started English country dance since the last Mad Robin Ball. If you've attended several dances and are comfortable with the basic figures (siding, back-to-back, set and turn single), then the in-depth teaching at the afternoon workshop will make the evening dances feel like old friends. PLUS you'll get a quick walk-through before each dance . . . AND you'll receive a ball program with instructions for each dance so you can study ahead! Need someone to talk to? Contact Tom Colton (ph. 510-528-7953) or any other committee member.

Do I need a partner?

No. As at all of our dances, the norm is to switch partners for every dance, whether you came with a partner or not.

What about shoes?

We recommend comfortable low-heeled rubber- or leather-soled shoes. Please carry in clean dance shoes and change from your street shoes in the hall to prevent wear on the fine wood floor.

What about kids?

We welcome kids who wish to dance with us, even providing a special rate for those under 12 years old. We have no suitable play area for non-dancing children off the dance floor, so ask that you make other arrangements for non-dancing children.

What kind of food should I bring to the potluck?

If you choose not to include a "nibbles" contribution with your registration, please bring finger foods, either savory or sweet, to share at the evening break. Punch and water will be provided during the evening. A Whole Foods market in downtown Sebastopol is a convenient stop to pick something up at the last minute. Here are some popular food suggestions:

deviled eggs
veggies & non-drippy dips
cheese and fruit platters

shrimp or cubed meat platters
small drop or bar cookies
mini quiches

Questions about food? Contact Jim or Celine Passage (, 707-829-9775)

Can I bring my non-dancing partner or friends?

Sure! We offer a special gallery ticket ($10) for those who wish to enjoy the music, spectacle, refreshments, and friendly company without venturing onto the dance floor. And if your guests are inspired, the regular Sebastopol dance is the perfect place to start preparing to attend next year's ball as a dancer!

What does fragrance-free mean?

Some dancers are sensitive to chemicals found in many perfumes, cleaning products, and personal hygiene products. We ask that you refrain from using these products on this special day so that all dancers may enjoy the atmosphere as well as the dance. This policy is common at many Bay Area dance events. For more information, see the Playford Ball or Mendocino English Week web sites.

Where can I get dinner?

There are many restaurants in downtown Petaluma, 5 minutes away by car. A map with info about numerous restaurants will be available at the afternoon workshop.

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Links to Other Dance Sites

North Bay Country Dance Society (NBCDS) -news, dance calendars, and locations of all North Bay events, including the Sebastopol English Country Dance.

Sebastopol English Country Dance - A NBCDS-sponsored English country dance group meeting on first and third Sunday afternoons in Sebastopol. Download a flier in pdf format with details and directions.

Bay Area Country Dance Society (BACDS) - information about regular dances and special events in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Country Dance and Song Society (CDSS) - the national organization promoting English and American country dancing, with information about regular dances and special events all over the country. CDSS supported the first Mad Robin Ball with a generous grant from its May Gadd/Phil Merrill Endowment Fund.

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Last modified 3/18/08 by MRB webmaster