"Lovely facility, wonderful dancers, great energy!" ~Gaye Fifer
Meet the Stellar 2018 staff!
Wendy Graham Settle
A self-described "dance maniac," Wendy Graham Settle (Durango, CO) is thrilled to be back on staff at Stellar Days & Nights to share her passion for music, song and dance. Wendy leads English, American, and a variety of social dances in the southwest, throughout the country, and abroad -- as far away as Alaska, England and Denmark. She proudly served on the Country Dance and Song Society (CDSS) board and is currently on the Lifetime Achievement award committee. Find out more about the perky pants dance factory at www.perkypantsdance.com.
Gaye Fifer is an accomplished contra caller from Pittsburgh, PA. An active dancer herself, Gaye understands the subtleties of making contra dances particularly satisfying for dancers. Her instructions are clear and concise, as she is a teacher by profession. An easy smile and delightful sense of humor are part of Gaye's relaxed, pleasant style at the microphone. Gaye calls contra dances throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Ladies at Play
The Ladies at Play are a high-spirited and musically adventurous contra dance and English country dance band from Oklahoma. Our repertoire includes a wide variety of folk and ballroom-like dance tunes, including jigs, reels, polkas, waltzes, hambos, English, old time, and zweifache. We also play our own spicy and cosmic original tunes, inspired by folk music traditions from around the world. As master seamstress, chef of international cuisine, artist, and innovative musician, Shanda adds her own spice, elegance, and cosmic energy to the trio. Despite being classically trained on piano and violin, she glides from old-time shuffle to salty groove as effortlessly as warm hollandaise on a poached egg. Kathy Dagg is gifted not only in the art of healing and humor, but she's also a creative and most divine rhythmnista!! In addition to serio Miranda, on frolicking flute and whimsical whistle, teaches world music at the University of Oklahoma and performs Irish, Middle Eastern, Latin American, Eastern European and Vietnamese Music. Her playful, flirtatious spirit and passion are an integral part of the Ladies at Play. And she loves to dance!usly and adeptly rocking out on numerous fretted instruments, she keeps the Ladies grounded, steady and in stitches.
Uncle Farmer is Ben Schreiber on fiddle and Mike Skolovsky on guitar. Ben moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2011 and is originally from St Louis, MO. Ben began playing the violin at the age of three and was classically trained. Around the age of twelve, he shifted his focus to folk music. Ben became drawn towards the contra dance community, and eventually formed several local Midwest bands. Now he also plays for English Country Dancing, and was a member of the klezmer band, Yidn. Michael Sokolovsky was born in Russia and grew up in central Massachussetts. While going to college in Providence, RI, Michael took up the guitar and also attended his first contra dance. In 2011, Michael moved to California, met Ben, and Uncle Farmer was born. With an Irish and New England sound at its core, the duo is known for its original dance tunes, modern twists on old favorites, and sets mixed with pop rhythms and improvisational flair. Their performances range from sweet and nostalgic to gritty and energetic, and their sound truly fills both the room and the hearts of dancers.
Matthew Leon, the Food Service Manager and Executive Chef at the Adventure Unlimited Ranches, will be our Stellar Cook again this year. A native of Northern California, Matthew Leon lived on the East Coast with his wife, Elizabeth, before returning to Buena Vista, Colorado, to start a family. Cooking since a young child in his mom’s kitchen, he has never grown tired of culinary pursuits. Matthew has worked in his current capacity for Adventure Unlimited for ten years and prior to that worked with his wife at a Special Education School in New York State that focused on Animal Assisted Therapy. During his time on the East Coast, he also worked as a Ballroom Dance Instructor for Arthur Murray Dance Studios. His favorite dance genre is Lindy Hop and Swing, but also enjoys Rhumba, Cha Cha, and Waltz. Matthew's love of people, food, dancing, and the A/U Ranches shine through in his cooking to provide us delectable and creative fare all weekend.