[Callers] YouTube of contra dancing to entice nondancers?

Luke Donforth luke.donev at gmail.com
Thu Jan 3 20:14:39 PST 2013

Hello all,

I'd love to see the discussion of an intro video get anywhere near the
lively discussion of the gender free terms :-) The initial request is
summarized below, and I'm curious about petitioning CDSS to put something
like this together.

I'd really like a 30 second video, functionally an ad for contra, that
could be linked to as a hook, and then a 2 minute video that gives a fuller
story. If things like this already exist, please post the links!

I am not advocating a national ad campaign for contra dances, but I think
having a resource to share with co-workers and friends about contra dancing
would be a fabulous way to facilitate the word-of-mouth that brings in
people to contra. I'm guessing we've all had the frustrating experience of
searching youtube for a contra clip that makes it clear.

I wasn't familiar with "Contra Dances with Wolves" site. Thank you Bree.
The videos there come closer to the request than I usually see, but I think
with CDSS support something better could be put together.

The afore mentioned Childgrove site is a fabulous resource, but it seems
more set-up as a resource for callers trying to figure out a dance:

The Atlanta group did a fabulous job with their videos, and I'd consider
them great for giving people who are afraid to walk in knowing nothing a
comforting sense of what will happen, but I don't think it will actually
hook many people who aren't already looking for more information.

~~~original request~~~

> Looking for a video that would convey the fun of contra dancing, without
> scaring off newbies. Points desired:
> 1. The calls and music are heard
> 2. People are having fun (but not flourishing so much it's intimidating
3. The dancers look a bit "cool" and aren't all on the other side of middle
> aged
4. The quality of the filming and music recording is great
5. Does all of that in under five minutes.

I think 5 minutes is too long unless the person is actively investigating
and trying to find out more. Under 5 minutes was the original request, but
that was an explanatory e-mail to organizers hiring a caller.

What are other folks interested in? Is there enough interest in something
like this to warrant asking CDSS if they can make it happen? If so, what
features should it have?

Modifying the original list:
It should communicate, with excellent filming and sound of dancers, music,
& caller:
1) community dancing without needing to come with a partner
2) no experience required, dances will be taught and prompted
3) people having fun without being intimidating
4) The intergenerational nature of contra
5) That it's not the caricature of square dancing people envision
(if the first 4 are done well, I think 5 happens by default)

I think a 30 second versus and a 2 minute version would be incredibly

I think there should be a link to CDSS for more information; specifically,
a link on how to find the closest contra dance to you. I'd hope that this
works so well that other groups in the CDSS umbrella would get promo videos
soon after.

There are very well produced videos out there; but in my opinion that too
often focus on something local. A band has commissioned something for them,
or a dance weekend is advertising itself. They can be great at what they
do, but they're far from universally applicable.  I think an introductory,
broadly useable video would not actually mention a caller name, a band
name, a dance name, a choreographer name, a videographer, or even a
location. Those things can be vitally important, but are extraneous
information as a first introduction to contra dancing.

I personally would advocate for a video useful for weekly or monthly
regular dance series, because I think such a video (in it's limited time
frame) would still be very useful for folks trying to explain contra for
one-off dance events. Possibly different videos would be useful for those
two different flavors, but I'd rather see one broadly applicable contra
video and another video on a different CDSS supported activity.


Happy dancing!

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