[Callers] The Beginners' Lesson Tips?

Richard Hart richhart49 at gmail.com
Sun Oct 2 21:42:36 PDT 2011

There are a lot of good suggestions for a beginner's workshop here, already,
but I'll add my 2 cents, anyway.

When I do a beginners workshop before a dance, I like to focus on key
concepts and actions, rather than particular calls:

1. Line up and pay attention to the lines. If you are not in line with the
others, you may be in someone's way.
2. Proper & improper formations.
3. Progression: After each repetition of a dance, you dance with the next
4. Lady on the right.
5. Courtesy turns: they're part of a number of different calls.
6. Giving weight with your arms and hands.
7. The swing.
8. Respect for other dancers (who may not move as quickly, or who may be
injured, or disabled in some way, or who may be a beginner who needs a bit
of direction)

That's already a lot to cover. I'd leave out the swing, if there was not
enough time, especially if there will be a lot of experienced dancers at the
dance to do that. The calls can all be explained during the walk throughs,
reinforcing and using what was presented earlier during the beginners
workshop. One problem that all beginners experience is figuring our where
they should be and what direction they should face. I try to help them
figure that out both during the beginner workshop and also when doing the
walk through, and even when calling the dance.

On Sun, Oct 2, 2011 at 3:16 PM, D Bar <davey.bar at gmail.com> wrote:

> Howdy,
> I am going to be calling one of my first gigged contra dances in a week! I
> have a half-hour to introduce newbies on what's what in the dance prior and
> I am wondering what do other callers find has been the most effective use
> of
> that half hour?
> I imagine going over improper formation [ladies on the right etc.], and a
> few of the base moves are good. But I'd like to see if anyone else has some
> good hints I can work with!
> Thanks,
> Davey
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