[Callers] Advice teaching teens

Liz and Bill staf186 at ext.canterbury.ac.nz
Wed Jun 8 18:51:45 PDT 2011


       At our dance last weekend, 33 young people showed up (ages 12-23) who never
had done any contra dancing (but many have been to barn dances).  Up till then 
most dancers coming have been in the 50-70 year range.

We had a total of  56  so over half were totally new. I changed my plans to 
adapt to  and the evening went reasonably  well. One dance  I chose was a bit 
too hard and a third line with only newbies couldn't cope.

After the dance I had time to chat with some of new dancers. They are keen to do 
more, and
I offered to teach them. They're all from a rural community just north of CHCH, 
and I'll be
going out to them next week and the following for a 2-3 hr session at their 
local hall.

So it looks like there is the opportunity to widen the contra dance community 
here in CHCH.
The advice I'm seeking is how to bring the young people in.  Their enthusiasm 
and energy will
give a boost, but they need to learn how to be gentle with the older dancers.

I want to continue developing contra dancer here and not change it into barn 
dancing. They
have been used to elbow swings.

These two sessions will be dances where I hope they will
     1. Learn how to allemand with a bit of control and sharing weight.
     2. Ditto for swing - learning how to finish with lady on man's right - also 
         how to swing with each other, but how to swing less energetic partner 
(i.e. older).
     3. Get a feeling of how dances progress.

I will send them youtube links of examples prior to next week.
I've found some examples, but can any of you suggest videos of dancers
  in that age range that might help.

Also do you have any dancers in that age range that might like to get in contact 
them (via facebook, skype etc) where they could show them 'personally.'

Any other suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks for you help.
Cheers, Bill
PS - the last dance was a bit unusual. It was Queen's birthday here in NZ and one of
our regular musicians put on a special event for us. Half way thru the dance we had
a Viol Ensemble perform and we were taught to Renaissance dances.


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