[Callers] Implied Messages in First-Timer's Orientation

David Millstone David.Millstone at valley.net
Thu Sep 1 08:09:48 PDT 2011

Following up on posts by Greg and Michael, I, too, don't focus on figures. Careful  
introduction of figures during the course of the dance allows new dancers to learn  
gradually the vocabulary of figures.

More important than figures at such a pre-dance session is:

Welcome! We're delighted you're here!

followed by some tips that will help folks have a good time.

I try to keep the tone light, with lots of humor.

"At some point in the evening, probably near the start, you'll find yourself being  
asked to dance by someone you don't know. You first instinct may be to protest,  
'I don't know what I'm doing!' Believe me, they already know that. [inevitably  
leads to a laugh from the dancers] That's why they asked you to dance. That's  
how we all learned. No one in this hall was born knowing how to do this."

"It's possible that some of you are thinking, 'I don't want to ruin it for everyone  
in the hall.' All I can say about that is that you must have a pretty strong ego,  
to think that you have the power to ruin this for everyone else!"

"At some point in the dance, you may get completely lost. This happens to all  
of us at some point. Here's my three-step guide for what to do when that happens:  
Smile. Keep your head up and your eyes open. Hold out both hands like this. [demo]  
That makes it easier for the folks around you-- your partner or your neighbor--  
to help you get to where you need to be."

David Millstone
Lebanon, NH

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