[Callers] Estimating space and couples

Alan Winston winston at slac.stanford.edu
Fri Oct 19 18:36:54 PDT 2012

On 10/19/2012 6:06 PM, Leslie Gotfrit wrote:
> I am a new caller trying to log calling hours by hosting kitchen contra parties (with live music, beer and food). Could anyone tell me how many linear feet I need per couple? My friends' home is about 24 feet on the diagonal: how many couple in a longways can I (safely) accommodate?  And what's the minimum number of couples in a contra line so that is still fun? Thanks for any advice.
First, good for you!  Setting up house parties is the way to get practice!

I think you want 17-20 square feet per contra dancer.  I'm having some 
trouble understanding what the "24 feet on the diagonal" measurement 
You're making me do algebra and geometry here.

If you have a square room then the area is  diameter**2 /2 (result in 
square units).  So your 24-feet on the diagonal is 288 sqft  and you can 
fit 14-17
dancers into it.  However, that has to be modified by figuring out where 
you stand, whether the musicians take up space, whether there's any 
furniture, etc.
It would be more helpful to have a length measurement and a width 
measurement of the danceable area after subtracting some room for caller 
and band.
But assuming optional distribution, it seems like you can have a 7 - 8 
couple set.

If you don't have at least five couples in a duple minor set then you do 
a high percentage of standing out compared to dancing, and the ratio 
gets better
as the set gets longer.  (If the dancers are major dance geeks, you can 
do contras with four people, never stopping, and either change number 
and gender
every time through, or change partners and head of the set every time 

(I'm not going to push you to call squares rather than contras, because 
you're trying to practice contras.  But it sounds like you're setting up 
a classic
squares environment!)

Good luck!

-- Alan

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