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Houston Area Traditional Dance Society

Houston Area Traditional Dance Society

A Short History of HATDS

Contra dancing was first brought to Houston in the late 1970s by Dorcas Hand and her husband Barry Cooper. Dances were held in whatever space they could find, including driveways!

Dorcas Hand
Dorcas Hand

The dance series that eventually became HATDS was started by Mike Head in 1986 at the Heights Woman's Club building on Harvard Street. Cheryl Cleary (now Patterson) worked the door and several volunteers help move tables and chairs. Barry Cooper's band, Resurrection Avenue String Band, and a pickup band started by Mike, called Jaded Tunes Pickup Band, played for the early dances. Mike, Keith Holmes, and Liz Benjamin were the initial callers.

Mike Head
Mike Head

In 1989 Mike turned over the many producer's chores to a group of eager volunteers. That group, known simply as “The Committee”, gave the new organization its name, started a monthly newsletter (the first issue was published in August of '89), and held the first Holiday Ball that December.

About that time the series outgrew the small Woman's Club building and moved to a larger venue at Central Congregational Church (now First Lutheran Church).

It was soon decided that incorporation and non-profit status had some real advantages. Spearheaded by attorney and CPA Jerry Sokolow, Articles of Incorporation and inital bylaws were created and, along with the other necessary paperwork, filed with the state. The Texas Secretary of State recognized HATDS as a corporation in September 1990.

HATDS shirt, design by Mike Head
Early HATDS graphic, designed by Mike Head

30th Anniversary

In September 2020, HATDS celebrated 30 years as a legal entity. Visit the HATDS 30th page for details and a slideshow from that celebration.

Party Time!