[Callers] Callers Digest, Vol 38, Issue 2

Pamela Davis Green fiddlehedz at yahoo.com
Tue Oct 2 18:43:53 PDT 2007


David,
  Greetings from Maine, glad to hear all is well with you...
  We've been presenting some community contradances for non-dancers/beginners this past summer, we are both new callers... We've had great results starting with a Bastringue style circle dance, then a Galopede longways set... Both are easy to call and dance to at the same time, and being right in the dance helps a lot because you're teaching by example... If people don't quite understand your instructions, they can watch and see what you are doing, and then the instruction makes more sense... These two dances, with instruction and walk through and some dancing should take up most of a half hour... 
  After these two dances, we have a good idea whether we should continue on to a contra that progresses, and if so, we do Haste to the Wedding... We only add one new figure with each new dance that gets taught, and we look for that point where the dancers are not picking up anything new... From that point on, we select dances that have all the moves learned up to that point, but different sequences with different music so it feels like a new dance... 
  Have plenty of flexibility in your program so that you can stay at the beginner level with circles & longways sets, and also have some easy duple contras in the event that the crowd gets it and wants to do more... Remember, if the dancers are having a good time, you're doing a great job!
  Good luck, and nice to hear from you...
  Richard & Pam Green
   
  

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Today's Topics:

1. Japan dance and self intro/update
(sharedweight.99.kyoto at spamgourmet.com)
2. Re: Japan dance and self intro/update (Lindsay Morris)
3. Re: Japan dance and self intro/update (Greg McKenzie)
4. Re: Japan dance and self intro/update
(Alan Winston - SSRL Central Computing)
5. Re: Japan dance and self intro/update (Lisa Sieverts)


----------------------------------------------------------------------

Message: 1
Date: Tue, 2 Oct 2007 11:59:28 -0700 (PDT)
From: sharedweight.99.kyoto at spamgourmet.com
Subject: [Callers] Japan dance and self intro/update
To: callers at sharedweight.net
Message-ID: <74363.4139.qm at web38705.mail.mud.yahoo.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1

[n.b. this has been 'cross posted' to the yahoo traditional callers list, in case anyone is on
both lists...]

This post from a llooonnnngg time dancer and first time caller who is
requesting some advice for an unusual situation...but as it is my
first post, I will explain a little about myself, and along the way
that will explain the unusual situation and help guide and refine any
replies.

My name is david crespo, a name some of you no doubt fear -- I mean
recognize -- or would (recognize, that is) (if you saw my ugly
mug) (well, maybe fear...) from my 20 odd (quite odd) years of
dancing and involvement in the dance community in New England, mostly
Vermont (Etna, Norwich, Thetford, to Northern Spy etc.) and Maine
(SMFA (Yarmouth), Falmouth, Bates, Bowdoinham...). As some of you
thus know, about 3 years ago, at a Wake the Neighbors Bates dance I
was met by a cute and not very frightening Japanese exchange student,
Yukie, who with a very little gentle nudging at Deffa a week later,
eventually (rapidly, that is) was able to parlay that happenstance
circumstance into what is now a beautiful and happy marriage. She
returned to Japan shortly after we completed our courtship and about
a year later I followed. We're living in Kyoto.

Alas, there is one tragic note attending this otherwise joyous and
perfect scenario. Japan, you see, is a land thouroughly devoid of one
essential nutrient: contradancing. You can imagine my dismay, tears,
and lamentations. Sadly, then, since my arrival, I have been quietly
(well not so quietly) teaching english while secretly incubating evil
plans to conquer Japan, then Asia, then the world in 64 (drastic)
measures (hmmm--- good name for a dance). This month, my long patient
agony of waiting has begun to pay off. I have been given the
opportunity to indoctrinate a few trusting and innocent souls into
the sublime mysteries of la dance du contra and create an army of
swiftfooted robots, ready and willing to do my bidding at every call.
SOON I WILL CONQUER THE WORLD!!!

ahem.

please excuse me while my medicine kicks in. Ah, yes, thank you. OK,
where was I? The fact is, my wife and I have been invited to lead a
contradance workshop at a local festival on October 20. When we found
out, we began doing as much research as we could on calling and so
on. We found a few basic dances, like Baby Rose and Diane's Visit and
Atonement Reel that we like and figured would be suitable and we have
been practicing calling them. But I really welcome any suggestions...

Actually, above and beyond some decades of doing things proper and
improper, I took a caller workshop or two from Rick Mohr (thanks
Rick) so I have a rough idea of what's involved. And I've learned a
bit from practicing calling and writing a few ad hoc dances on my
own. For example, I learned that being a dancer has habituated me to
act ON the beat, but as a caller I need to act BEFORE the beat,
eh....this flustered me at first. Are there any other typical first
caller pointers we should be on the lookout for?

In addition, there are a few other associated circumstances in this
project that create the aforementioned unique situation. In brief
(HA! fooled you), since I've rattled on too long, here is what I mean:

I don't speak more than the rudiments of Japanese. My wife is still a
beginner dancer, to wit, she isn't a strong enough one to call on her
own. Between us we are trying to teach each other what the other
lacks and hopefully make one good caller out of the two of us. One
question that has come up is is it better to keep the standard names
for the figures, or to Japanify them. (We are leaning to the
former...Japanese has a very high percentage of english loan words,
and they learn english (poooooorly) in school.) Still, has anyone
ever tried to call across a language barrier?

Japanese are touch sensitve. They don't touch, they don't give eye
contact. They don't give weight. (They give wait). They don't hug.
They don't even say I love you. They are very shy. For example, I am
told that this is to the point that standing in a line of men facing
a line of women is likely be uncomfortable, even for the younger
generation, so Yukie feels we should use mixed couples with armbands
to distinguish "gender"--I mean position. As we build a community of
experienced dancers, it would be expected that some of this
inhibition might wear off...). You can see why they need to dance. On
the other hand, they are good followers. Any advice for working with
a shy crowd?

Some or many of the attendees at this workshop, we just found out,
are likely to be children. Depending on the percentage, it may be
necessary to do a kids dance, or at least a dance kids could enjoy. I
am good at working with kids in general, but I would love any advice
for doing a dance with young people. I don't know or haven't been
able to find any children's dances, though I assume the Family Dance
in Yarmouth is still up and I plan to contact Jeff Raymond about it,
because I can't remember the caller's name (Nancy....) (though we
have danced and chatted about dancing and calling several times at
the May Day Festival...gads! say hi if you're listening..).
So, children's dances are one thing I am looking for.

We are working in a small space...maybe two lines of six couples
each. Advice for small spaces???@

We are doing three workshops. If the same people return, we may do
more advanced things, or we may just repeat teh workshop...but I
would like to try different dances each time, for my practice.

The room will be full of beginners, so no experienced dancers to rely
on. Ballroom dancing had a certain following here (and in Kyoto there
is a small set dancing group that we visited...small 14 or so... and
a square dancing group that we plan to visit. ) but not enough to be
helpful, in the sense that there are few cultural supports for
learning (i.e. in the US most everyone knows (even if they don't
admit it) how to at least fake a waltz or ballroom position...not
here.) Think martian territory...

I should add that we are seriously working towards starting a regular
dance here (we've found an available and very suitable space, a
church hall in a nearby church, for example) and this is for us a
tryout and possible stepping stone. We want to whet people's
appetite, and leave them wanting more. We have a half hour to do it...

OK...apologies for the verbose and windy post. Fond regards to all of
you I know, hajimemashite ("nice to meet you" in japanese, literally
"beginning") to the rest and many thanks in advance for your time and
help...cheers...david

nothing rhymes with nostril...


____________________________________________________________________________________
Don't let your dream ride pass you by. Make it a reality with Yahoo! Autos.
http://autos.yahoo.com/index.html





------------------------------

Message: 2
Date: Tue, 02 Oct 2007 15:23:07 -0400
From: Lindsay Morris 

Subject: Re: [Callers] Japan dance and self intro/update
To: Caller's discussion list 
Message-ID: <47029A9B.1020203 at tsmworks.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"

Wow, you're biting off too much.
Teach them community-dance stuff first - circle mixers, easy things to
get them used to touching, allemanding, and giving weight.
If they refuse to take hands and circle left, then I suggest you fake a
heart attack and get out.
Lindsay Morris
Principal
TSMworks
[1]www.tsmworks.com
859-539-9900


[2]sharedweight.99.kyoto at spamgourmet.com wrote:

[n.b. this has been 'cross posted' to the yahoo traditional callers list, in cas
e anyone is on
both lists...]

This post from a llooonnnngg time dancer and first time caller who is
requesting some advice for an unusual situation...but as it is my
first post, I will explain a little about myself, and along the way
that will explain the unusual situation and help guide and refine any
replies.

My name is david crespo, a name some of you no doubt fear -- I mean
recognize -- or would (recognize, that is) (if you saw my ugly
mug) (well, maybe fear...) from my 20 odd (quite odd) years of
dancing and involvement in the dance community in New England, mostly
Vermont (Etna, Norwich, Thetford, to Northern Spy etc.) and Maine
(SMFA (Yarmouth), Falmouth, Bates, Bowdoinham...). As some of you
thus know, about 3 years ago, at a Wake the Neighbors Bates dance I
was met by a cute and not very frightening Japanese exchange student,
Yukie, who with a very little gentle nudging at Deffa a week later,
eventually (rapidly, that is) was able to parlay that happenstance
circumstance into what is now a beautiful and happy marriage. She
returned to Japan shortly after we completed our courtship and about
a year later I followed. We're living in Kyoto.

Alas, there is one tragic note attending this otherwise joyous and
perfect scenario. Japan, you see, is a land thouroughly devoid of one
essential nutrient: contradancing. You can imagine my dismay, tears,
and lamentations. Sadly, then, since my arrival, I have been quietly
(well not so quietly) teaching english while secretly incubating evil
plans to conquer Japan, then Asia, then the world in 64 (drastic)
measures (hmmm--- good name for a dance). This month, my long patient
agony of waiting has begun to pay off. I have been given the
opportunity to indoctrinate a few trusting and innocent souls into
the sublime mysteries of la dance du contra and create an army of
swiftfooted robots, ready and willing to do my bidding at every call.
SOON I WILL CONQUER THE WORLD!!!

ahem.

please excuse me while my medicine kicks in. Ah, yes, thank you. OK,
where was I? The fact is, my wife and I have been invited to lead a
contradance workshop at a local festival on October 20. When we found
out, we began doing as much research as we could on calling and so
on. We found a few basic dances, like Baby Rose and Diane's Visit and
Atonement Reel that we like and figured would be suitable and we have
been practicing calling them. But I really welcome any suggestions...

Actually, above and beyond some decades of doing things proper and
improper, I took a caller workshop or two from Rick Mohr (thanks
Rick) so I have a rough idea of what's involved. And I've learned a
bit from practicing calling and writing a few ad hoc dances on my
own. For example, I learned that being a dancer has habituated me to
act ON the beat, but as a caller I need to act BEFORE the beat,
eh....this flustered me at first. Are there any other typical first
caller pointers we should be on the lookout for?

In addition, there are a few other associated circumstances in this
project that create the aforementioned unique situation. In brief
(HA! fooled you), since I've rattled on too long, here is what I mean:

I don't speak more than the rudiments of Japanese. My wife is still a
beginner dancer, to wit, she isn't a strong enough one to call on her
own. Between us we are trying to teach each other what the other
lacks and hopefully make one good caller out of the two of us. One
question that has come up is is it better to keep the standard names
for the figures, or to Japanify them. (We are leaning to the
former...Japanese has a very high percentage of english loan words,
and they learn english (poooooorly) in school.) Still, has anyone
ever tried to call across a language barrier?

Japanese are touch sensitve. They don't touch, they don't give eye
contact. They don't give weight. (They give wait). They don't hug.
They don't even say I love you. They are very shy. For example, I am
told that this is to the point that standing in a line of men facing
a line of women is likely be uncomfortable, even for the younger
generation, so Yukie feels we should use mixed couples with armbands
to distinguish "gender"--I mean position. As we build a community of
experienced dancers, it would be expected that some of this
inhibition might wear off...). You can see why they need to dance. On
the other hand, they are good followers. Any advice for working with
a shy crowd?

Some or many of the attendees at this workshop, we just found out,
are likely to be children. Depending on the percentage, it may be
necessary to do a kids dance, or at least a dance kids could enjoy. I
am good at working with kids in general, but I would love any advice
for doing a dance with young people. I don't know or haven't been
able to find any children's dances, though I assume the Family Dance
in Yarmouth is still up and I plan to contact Jeff Raymond about it,
because I can't remember the caller's name (Nancy....) (though we
have danced and chatted about dancing and calling several times at
the May Day Festival...gads! say hi if you're listening..).
So, children's dances are one thing I am looking for.

We are working in a small space...maybe two lines of six couples
each. Advice for small spaces???@

We are doing three workshops. If the same people return, we may do
more advanced things, or we may just repeat teh workshop...but I
would like to try different dances each time, for my practice.

The room will be full of beginners, so no experienced dancers to rely
on. Ballroom dancing had a certain following here (and in Kyoto there
is a small set dancing group that we visited...small 14 or so... and
a square dancing group that we plan to visit. ) but not enough to be
helpful, in the sense that there are few cultural supports for
learning (i.e. in the US most everyone knows (even if they don't
admit it) how to at least fake a waltz or ballroom position...not
here.) Think martian territory...

I should add that we are seriously working towards starting a regular
dance here (we've found an available and very suitable space, a
church hall in a nearby church, for example) and this is for us a
tryout and possible stepping stone. We want to whet people's
appetite, and leave them wanting more. We have a half hour to do it...

OK...apologies for the verbose and windy post. Fond regards to all of
you I know, hajimemashite ("nice to meet you" in japanese, literally
"beginning") to the rest and many thanks in advance for your time and
help...cheers...david

nothing rhymes with nostril...


__________________________________________________________________________
__________
Don't let your dream ride pass you by. Make it a reality with Yahoo! Autos.
[3]http://autos.yahoo.com/index.html



_______________________________________________
Callers mailing list
[4]Callers at sharedweight.net
[5]http://www.sharedweight.net/mailman/listinfo/callers

References

1. http://www.tsmworks.com/
2. mailto:sharedweight.99.kyoto at spamgourmet.com
3. http://autos.yahoo.com/index.html
4. mailto:Callers at sharedweight.net
5. http://www.sharedweight.net/mailman/listinfo/callers
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------------------------------

Message: 3
Date: Tue, 2 Oct 2007 17:20:20 -0400 (EDT)
From: Greg McKenzie 
Subject: Re: [Callers] Japan dance and self intro/update
To: Caller's discussion list , Caller's
discussion list 
Message-ID:
<14921673.1191360020494.JavaMail.root at elwamui-cypress.atl.sa.earthlink.net>

Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8


Dear David,

I agree with Lindsay. Contras are hinged to a deep tradition and a well-established ritual. To start from scratch it will take at least a generation to get a "real" contra dance going.

I suggest you put out the word through whatever media you can and try to contact other contra dancers in Japan. You may be surprised to learn how many there are. If you can get a crowd with at least 20% dancers with some contra experience you can make it work...provided your calling is very precise.

I have organized three contra dance tours of the former Soviet Union. One thing I learned is that you don't need a caller who speaks the native tongue, as long as you have a core of experienced dancers. In fact, calling in English is recommended. The new dancers will learn by watching and dancing with those who have done it before. They won't learn from verbal descriptions in any language.

Good Luck,

Greg McKenzie

-----Original Message-----
>From: Lindsay Morris 

>Sent: Oct 2, 2007 3:23 PM
>To: Caller's discussion list 
>Subject: Re: [Callers] Japan dance and self intro/update
>
> Wow, you're biting off too much.
> Teach them community-dance stuff first - circle mixers, easy things to
> get them used to touching, allemanding, and giving weight.
> If they refuse to take hands and circle left, then I suggest you fake a
> heart attack and get out.
>Lindsay Morris
>Principal
>TSMworks
>[1]www.tsmworks.com
>859-539-9900



------------------------------

Message: 4
Date: Tue, 02 Oct 2007 15:20:42 -0700 (PDT)
From: Alan Winston - SSRL Central Computing

Subject: Re: [Callers] Japan dance and self intro/update
To: Greg McKenzie 
Cc: Caller's discussion list 
Message-ID: <01MM1WB2WNNOG8E5SA at SSRL.SLAC.STANFORD.EDU>
Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; CHARSET=us-ascii

I've been watching this with interest, and I just remembered:

There's English Country Dancing in Tokyo (which may be unfeasibly far away from 
where you guys are). The Tokyo Folk Dance Club has brought over callers like
Bruce Hamilton and Sharon Green, and we had a nice visit this June (at the
Northern California Mad Robin Ball) from 16 Japanese ladies and two Japanese
gentlemen, who did just fine in complicated dances which certainly involved
lining up in opposite lines. taking hands, etc.

Also, ECD (and contra) caller Jenny Beer has done a bunch of transcultural
American-Japanese consulting and may have useful things to say on this topic;
you could write to her at jbeer at culture-at-work dot com

(See the website, http://www.culture-at-work.com to find about her expertise on
this issue; see the Germantown Country Dancers page to see about her ECD and
contra expertise.)

If you want to write to Bruce or Sharon about this - and their experience, with
an already-existing club of folk dance enthusiasts who do ballroom-like dance
may not be that relevant - write me off-list and I'll provide their emails.

-- Alan



> Dear David,

> I agree with Lindsay. Contras are hinged to a deep tradition and a well-established ritual. To start from scratch it will take at least a generation to get a "real" contra dance going.

> I suggest you put out the word through whatever media you can and try to contact other contra dancers in Japan. You may be surprised to learn how many there are. If you can get a crowd with at least 20% dancers with some contra experience you can make it work...provided your calling is very precise.


=== message truncated ===

       
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