Linda Cooper is our local (dance) hero

July 01, 2015

Linda Cooper, a founding member of Triangle Country Dancers, has done it all in her over 30 years of contra dancing. The caller, booking committee member, mentor, former Board member and president is a longtime contra dancer as well as clogger who began ballet and tap when she was 5 years old. She danced with the Apple Chill Cloggers, based in Chapel Hill, NC, for 15 years, and performed overseas in five European and South American countries.

She is an advisor to "Contra Dances with Wolves," the student contra dance group at North Carolina State University that began in 2008. One former leader of the NCSU dance group said, "Linda Cooper is awesome. She's been really helpful. She was the caller for my first dance."

Linda explains, "I called their very first dance, was honored they asked me, and have called a dance for them every year since. It's important and rewarding for me to share the fun of dancing with any who are interested. New young dancers, musicians and callers will hopefully help ensure the long-term future of contra dancing in our local community and beyond." She describes herself as "a link in the chain" because she learned to call from Ted Sannella. "I learned about more than just calling from Ted. He opened my eyes to our larger community of dancers and encouraged me to join CDSS. I've always been glad I did and wish I had even earlier."

More behind the scenes than out front, unless she is calling a dance, Linda works tirelessly to bring superb bands to our dance group and to nurture the next generation of dancers. Since she has attended dances across the US and called in our region, she knows many of the musicians and callers who come to the Triangle. On the dance floor her vivacious spirit and consummate expertise are easily recognized and much appreciated by her fellow dancers old and new. She says, "As a dancer, I like to whoop it up. The band and the dancers can all feed off that energy and the dance can become electric."

Linda's continued dedication, vision and hard work keep contra dancing alive and well.

Linda’s response: I am honored to be among other wonderful local heroes. I've had the following quote on my refrigerator for years--it captures my philosophy:

I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can.

I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no "brief candle" to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for a moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations. --G.B. Shaw

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