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

beth at hands4.com beth at hands4.com
Thu Apr 28 07:15:55 PDT 2011

Girl Scout Father daughter dances are absolutely my favorite dances to call. Here are some comments.

I "teach" people to listen to me during the first dance. I start with a big circle. I teach the group the following: Walk to the left, walk to the right, go into the center 3 steps, come back and do-si-do. After that I start the music and call hash of those. I also add promenade on the fly during the dancing. I once had a caller say to me "I would never patronize a group by teaching them circle left and circle right." But he didn't really get the point: I'm not teaching circle left and circle right. The purpose of the first dance of the evening is to teach them to listen to the caller.  Since the dance is hashed, they never know what is coming and they must listen. Saying "listen" doesn't work, you teach them to listen with your voice. Making them listen is the key. If you get them on board at the beginning the evening everything else will go well.

Tony in his book on Contra Dance Calling, says that the most important thing for a one night stand is "Keep them moving and keep them winning." As the top student in the "Tony Parkes School of Private Party Calling," I can tell you he is totally correct. Any dance chosen for a private party needs to be simple, well-taught, well called and put to excellent music. People who dance regularly can make up for a lack of any of those. Private party dancers cannot (and should not) do that. Short teaches are important! It's all about having fun doing something together.

If you are looking for other really great dances for families, you can't do better than Marian Rose's books. Every dance I have tried from those has been good. http://www.marianrose.com

Great fun, great excitement, great pay. You can't do better than a hay bale gig. Unless, of course, you have an attitude of "you need to learn *real* contra dancing or *real* square dancing and it's not this cowboy stuff." It is obvious from your post that you don't have that attitude! Enjoy!

Beth Parkes
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Tina Fields
> 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.)
<more good stuff snipped>

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