[Callers] Wedding dances

Linda Leslie laleslierjg at comcast.net
Thu Jul 30 16:32:57 PDT 2009


Dear Luke,
Your biggest challenge is figuring out exactly how many guests have  
done contra dancing before, but this may not be the group that you  
wish to focus on! For me, the much more important folks are all of  
the family members and friends who have never been to a contra dance  
before. If children are at the wedding, it is also great to make sure  
the dances can be done by them, as well. Welcoming these folks into  
the world of dancing, and making the dances fun and fool-proof is so  
rewarding when accomplished!  Those who have danced before will  
understand what you are trying to do, and won't expect dances that  
they might normally do at a monthly dance.

We take progressing and identifying actives and inactives for  
granted. However, these concepts can be a bit difficult, especially  
for a group that includes many novices. And you can bet that the  
novices WILL be dancing together!  Another challenge may be that  
there are more women, or more men present. or same sex  
couples....adding another layer of complexity to improper dances that  
might be called. To deal with all of these challenges, I tend to call  
longways dances (Galopede; Boston Tea Party, Le Brandy, variations of  
the Virginia Reel);  circle mixers (you have chosen La Bastringue;  
there are others with shorter swings); Sicilian Circles (especially  
those that can be called without regard for gender), and other  
formations, which work very, very well. An example:
Do Si Three
Formation is a line of three dancers (facing down the hall), facing  
another line of three dancers (facing up the hall) in a contra-type  
set (imagine contra couples, each with an extra person)
A1  (Take hands in a circle of six)   Circle left
        Circle right
A2  Ends of the line  Do si do your opposite  (only the four people  
who are on the ends of each line)
        Middles of the line do si do your opposite  (only the two  
people in the middle of the lines)
B1  Ends of the line Two hand turn your opposite ( and return home)
       Middles of the line Two hand turn your opposite (and return home)
B2   In lines of three (another words, with your partners) go forward  
and back
        "say goodbye to these neighbors"   And pass through to the  
next line of three

I put this dance together especially for this type of celebration. So  
many potential problems are solved!  Lines of three can be any number  
of men, women, or combo. Children easily understand the dance (as  
long as they are not too young). Even young children, if trioed up  
with adults, can be included. The progression to a new group is very,  
very easy. At the ends, I remind dancers that they wait out one time  
through the dance, turn around as a line, and get back in the dance.  
I never have to talk about actives/inactives, but I do mention that  
after each dance move, the dancers go "home", and home changes at the  
ends only. I don't teach a contra swing....I encourage a two hand  
swing (the experienced dancers will naturally go into a swing with  
each other, the others will have a great time with the two hand  
swing). The dancers have lots of surprises.....who they swing, how  
they might get back to the same neighbors (from the first time  
through the dance), how successful they are, and how much fun  
everyone has doing the dance!

I recognize that I might be promoting dances that are much too easy  
for your particular group of wedding guests. I also realize that much  
of what you plan to do highly depends on what the bride and groom  
wish to have happen, since it is their day! However, I also want to  
give you lots of "permission" to call a simpler program if the  
situation warrants it.  Those of us who have literally called  
hundreds of weddings/birthday parties/benefit dances/etc. have shared  
thoughts about programming at conferences, dance weekends, etc., and  
we all agree that simple, easily taught, gender role free, accessible  
dances will add immeasurably to the joy of the occasion.

Have a great time!
warmly, Linda Leslie

On Jul 30, 2009, at 12:00 PM, callers-request at sharedweight.net wrote:

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>    1. requesting wedding program feedback (Luke Donev)
>    2. Re: requesting wedding program feedback (Dave Colestock)
>
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> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Message: 1
> Date: Wed, 29 Jul 2009 18:56:58 -0400
> From: Luke Donev <luke.donev at gmail.com>
> To: callers at sharedweight.net
> Subject: [Callers] requesting wedding program feedback
> Message-ID:
> 	<243d1eda0907291556m46086a4qeea5c3033fb2b271 at mail.gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
>
> Hello,
>
> Some friends have asked me to call some contra dances at their  
> wedding.
> There will be lots of dancers in the crowd, but not everyone will be
> familiar with contra.
>
> I've put together a schedule for my portion of the evening, two  
> contra sets
> bracketing the cake cutting and some international folk dance and  
> Klesmer
> (I'm only responsible for the contra).
>
> I'm planning on ~ 5 minutes to find partners and teach dances, and  
> running
> the dances for ~10 minutes. The exception being the circle mixer  
> after the
> snowball waltz, where folks keep there last waltz parter and move  
> into a
> circle and teach the circle mixer quickly (~2 minutes) to keep  
> people on the
> dance floor.
>
> The program is available as a google document at *http:// 
> tinyurl.com/mqlwa6.
> *I'd appreciate any feedback folks want to share, and would request  
> comments
> to me off-list to avoid clogging inboxes. (I'll add know that Star  
> Trek was
> specifically requested by the bride.)
>
> Thanks!
>
> -- 
> Luke Donev
> http://www.lukedonev.com
> Luke.Donev at gmail.com
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 2
> Date: Wed, 29 Jul 2009 16:08:12 -0700 (PDT)
> From: Dave Colestock <contradancerdave at yahoo.com>
> To: Caller's discussion list <callers at sharedweight.net>
> Subject: Re: [Callers] requesting wedding program feedback
> Message-ID: <160877.17671.qm at web52607.mail.re2.yahoo.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
>
>
> Hi Luke,
>
> Just one quick observation -
>
> You may want to allocate 10 minutes for teaching the dances (make  
> them simple but fun) and 5 minutes for dancing.  10 minutes of  
> dancing 1 dance may be a bit much for the non-contra dancers who  
> will be participating, since they are not used to dancing, and more  
> teaching time may also be required.  Havent had a chance to look at  
> the program, but wanted to make you aware of what I have already  
> found in calling wedding dances myself.  Unless it is all dancers,  
> keep it simple and short.  If you do the Fan Dance you can run that  
> a long time.  That one traditionally runs long.
>
> Dave Colestock
> www.davecolestock.com
> www.frolicinthefall.freeservers.com
>
>
> --- On Wed, 7/29/09, Luke Donev <luke.donev at gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> From: Luke Donev <luke.donev at gmail.com>
>> Subject: [Callers] requesting wedding program feedback
>> To: callers at sharedweight.net
>> Date: Wednesday, July 29, 2009, 6:56 PM
>> Hello,
>>
>> Some friends have asked me to call some contra dances at
>> their wedding.
>> There will be lots of dancers in the crowd, but not
>> everyone will be
>> familiar with contra.
>>
>> I've put together a schedule for my portion of the evening,
>> two contra sets
>> bracketing the cake cutting and some international folk
>> dance and Klesmer
>> (I'm only responsible for the contra).
>>
>> I'm planning on ~ 5 minutes to find partners and teach
>> dances, and running
>> the dances for ~10 minutes. The exception being the circle
>> mixer after the
>> snowball waltz, where folks keep there last waltz parter
>> and move into a
>> circle and teach the circle mixer quickly (~2 minutes) to
>> keep people on the
>> dance floor.
>>
>> The program is available as a google document at *http:// 
>> tinyurl.com/mqlwa6.
>> *I'd appreciate any feedback folks want to share, and would
>> request comments
>> to me off-list to avoid clogging inboxes. (I'll add know
>> that Star Trek was
>> specifically requested by the bride.)
>>
>> Thanks!
>>
>> -- 
>> Luke Donev
>> http://www.lukedonev.com
>> Luke.Donev at gmail.com
>> _______________________________________________
>> Callers mailing list
>> Callers at sharedweight.net
>> http://www.sharedweight.net/mailman/listinfo/callers
>>
>
>
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>
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> End of Callers Digest, Vol 59, Issue 10
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