For over 25 years Liz Stell and Bill Matthiesen have been researching, recording, and performing all types of dance music: contra and English country, 19th century and ragtime, waltzes and couples dances, tangos and milongas. They've played for concerts, contradances, Mostly Waltz events, milongas, and Victorian and other period events in over 20 states and provinces. In October of 2000 they traveled to Buenos Aires for research and met with music collectors and "guardia vieja" (old guard) musicians.
Bill's Waltz Books have become classics for dance musicians, harp players, and jam sessions. Years of research on ragtime-era tangos culminated in a solo piano recording, Tango Viejo, plus a concert at the Kennedy Center and two books for Mel Bay Publishing: Argentine Piano Tangos for Keyboard and Habaneras, Maxixes & Tangos.
In 2006 Liz and Bill published a collection of mid-19th century sheet music, The Civil War Ballroom Band Book. In 2011 they published Patri Pugliesi's dance manual, Pugliese's Dances for the Civil War Ballroom, followed by a companion DVD of Patri teaching couples dances of the Victorian era. They've also produced six recordings of dance music.
Dance Camps, Weekends & Festivals include:
or call 413-442-9172
return to Spare Parts home page
some of our favorite SPARE PARTS:
North Adams' Eric Buddington switches effortlessly between fiddle and violin. He excels at Argentine tangos, waltzes and milongas; he also joins Spare Parts for Regency balls, Ragtime balls and English country dances as well as contras and concerts. He performs with us on The Regency Ballroom and Returning Heroes CDs. Formerly (and occasionally still) with the Flying Garbanzos, Eric also performs with several other ensembles.
Naomi Morse lives in Brooklyn and plays gutsy violin on everything from French Canadian Reels to English country dance to ragtime. She joins voices with husband Emmet McGowan to perform as The Poor Cousins. Naomi fiddles and sings with a variety of musicians and as part of Housetop and Night Watch.
Seattle-based Ruthie Dornfeld plays contras and couples dances with Spare Parts. She created wonderful orchestrations for our Returning Heroes CD; she also performs ragtime music with us on Now Tango. Fluent in a wide range of styles from Celtic and old-time to Scandinavian and Eastern European, Ruthie has performed and taught for 30 years at festivals, schools, and camps throughout the U.S. and abroad. Ruthie also plays in the French cabaret band Rouge. (photo: Anne Hamersky)
Frank Orsini of Glens Falls, NY, has been fiddling for contradances in New York state and New England since the 1970s. Popular for his fiddlistic improvisations and wonderful harmonies, his versatility extends to swing, bluegrass, cajun, English and various Celtic styles. Frank also plays with the Whippersnappers, Walt Michael and Co., Saratoga Faire, the Upstate Bluegrass Band and others. He performs with us on The Civil War Ballroom CD.
Seattle fiddler Cathie Whitesides joins Liz and Bill for couples dances and contras on their almost-annual Seattle tour. She spins out fiddle traditions from Eastern Europe to East Texas. Cathie also performs with Laurie Andres and Bob McQuillen, the Balkan Kafe Orchestra, and Hank Bradley. (photo: Ted Crane ©2002)
Famous for dynamic fiddling,
has been entertaining contradancers and concertgoers since the late 1970s.
His playing is strongly influenced by Cape Breton and French Canadian styles
A multi-instrumental virtuoso and singer, he also performes with
Fennig’s All-Stars, the Whippersnappers, Selma Kaplan and Taconic Tonic.
Liz and Bill appear on his Northern Harmonies CD.
Mark Bagdon of Delmar, NY, switches effortlessly from from fiddle rags to Strauss waltzes. He has performed Ragtime and Gilded Age balls with Spare Parts, as well as contras and English dances and even Argentine tango milongas. (photo: Ted Crane ©2001)
Returning Heroes CD More music for the Civil War ballroom
The Regency Ballroom CD
English Country Dance music from the era of Jane Austen
Dancing by the Shore CD
Victorian Music from Nahant
Now Tango CD
ragtime dance music:
rags, waltzes, one-steps, blues, foxtrots, and tangos
Civil War Ballroom
Dance Manual and
Dance Instruction DVD
Tango Viejo CD early Argentine piano tangos
1, 2, 3 and 4
Argentine Tangos for Keyboard
Habaneras, Maxixes & Tangos