[Callers] Dance for Tune? Shenandoah Falls

Jeff Kaufman cbr at sccs.swarthmore.edu
Fri Aug 21 08:02:29 PDT 2009

Cynthia Phinney wrote:
> I've noticed on more than one occasion when Sheandoah Falls has
> turned up in a medley that the B-part of the dance falls apart (as
> in things not happening in the right rhythm) and I have to call
> constantly until the tune changes. I've seen this with more than one
> dance. The phrasing in the B-part of that tune is a bit different
> from standard.

Shenandoah Falls is unusual in that some of the B-part is quite
synchopated.  The phrasing is still very regular, with well defined
four beat chunks, but within the chunks the beat might be difficult to
detect for some.

So if you have a band that really wants to play shenandoah falls but
you think that the group might not be able to take it in stride, you
could call something that matches the phrasing well and lets the
dancers reenforce each other's sense of the beat.  Richard's
suggestion of petronellas is good, as would any "balance for four,
move for four" sort of repetition.  Balance and swing would also work
ok, as the synchopated hard to think about part comes in the middle of
the swing.

The bigger problem is that the caller generally doesn't know what
tunes the band intends to play until the band switches tunes.  So you
generally never have an oppertunity to go "oh?  You'd like to play
shenandoah falls?  Let me choose a dance that fits."  Instead the best
you can do is probably tell the band after observing the hall that you
think it would be best if they avoided synchopated tunes like
shenandoah falls tonight.

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