[Callers] easy ONS dances where partner is kept? - report

Tina Fields tfields8 at yahoo.com
Wed Apr 27 20:24:52 PDT 2011

"Let us know how it goes!" Alan Winston requested, after so many of you kindly 
expounded on your favorite ONS dances that are not mixers. 

So here's the report:

The "Me and My Cowboy" Girl Scout father-daughter dance was unlike anything else 
I'd ever called before. The hall was packed with 130 parent-child couples 
wearing nominal cowboy gear (bandanas, cowboy hats/boots, checked shirts). It 
was decked out like old west movies, with hay bales, cow horns, and a "Wanted!" 
booth where you could stick your face in for a photo. (That was great - our 
fiddler, Jon Berger, looked like a rabbi on the lam.) 

The band was one I've worked with numerous times before - fiddle, piano, & 
horns. It was so wonderful to be able to provide employment for my friends! Our 
planned sound man couldn't make it, but he loaned us the equipment anyway. I 
transported it and our pianist set it up & ran it, having been a professional 
sound engineer for 6 yrs in times past. 

The participants were really into it. I felt touched by the sight of these dads 
gleefully dancing with their daughters. What a blessing in these girls' life. 
And they earned a badge! (I want a dancing badge now, don't you?)

I opened with a little hash circle dance which I led from the floor, to get them 
out there and teach them the basic moves. The program then went:
	1. Circassian      Circle (altered to be a Sicilian keeper)
	2. Sicilian      Circle of Fun  

	3. Weaver      Jig (longways set)

	4. I Want      to Be Near You (singing square)

	5. White      Mt Reel (longways set)
            Break (had a few brief ones already too)
	1. Sasha!  (scatter mixer)

	2. Four      Around Four   (longways set)
	3. Le      Brandy  (longways set with a goofy component)
I had originally planned to also include Galopede, Do Si Three, and/or Virginia 
Reel in the second half. The program wound up being shortened and simplified,  
as (1) they needed more short breaks than I'd anticipated, and (2) problems 
ensued: my mic sound left something to be desired, plus (3) the dancers, 
excited,  kept talking through the teaching and dancing both, which made it 
rough  to move the dance forward and to keep them together. For example, one of  
the longways sets lost the sequence of moves, and even though I kept  calling, 
they wouldn't do what I said; they just floundered around  making up a new one. 
They had fun and likely never even knew they were screwing up, but I felt 
somewhat frustrated by my inability to get them back on track. In  hindsight, I 
wish I'd simply made the overt point that it's very important to  still listen 
to the caller after the dance begins. That's my biggest  takeaway for future ONS 
gig improvement. They really might not have  known to do that.

Ultimately, the evening was a success. The girls and their dads all had fun. The 
Girl Scouts organizers were happy with us, and to show it, they gave us a very 
sweet tip - each of the envelopes containing our pay were taped to boxes of Thin 

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