[Callers] Japan dance and self intro/update

Alan Winston - SSRL Central Computing winston at slac.stanford.edu
Tue Oct 2 15:20:42 PDT 2007


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.

> 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 <lindsay at tsmworks.com>
> >Sent: Oct 2, 2007 3:23 PM
> >To: Caller's discussion list <callers at sharedweight.net>
> >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

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-- 
===============================================================================
 Alan Winston --- WINSTON at SSRL.SLAC.STANFORD.EDU
 Disclaimer: I speak only for myself, not SLAC or SSRL   Phone:  650/926-3056
 Paper mail to: SSRL -- SLAC BIN 99, 2575 Sand Hill Rd, Menlo Park CA   94025
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