[Callers] New contra dancers and similar figures

John Sweeney info at contrafusion.co.uk
Fri Jun 21 13:44:24 PDT 2013

Alan said, "I continue to prompt the figures, maybe with more emphasis -
Ladies CHAIN and COURTESY TURN - and it doesn't seem to make any

If there are only lady first-timers I just tell them to walk straight
ahead going right-left and let all the experienced men lead them though
the move.

But if there are some first-timer men then:
- I emphasise that though it is called a LADIES' chain they need to move
straight away

- I tell them to get their right hip and their left hand ready

- I walk the move three times on the first walk-through (assuming there
is just one in the dance) so that they can start building some muscle

_ If they are having problems then I get them to practice the courtesy
turn: "Ladies, stand beside your partner/neighbour, offer your left hand
in front and make like a teapot with your right hand; Men, take the
lady's left hand in yours, put your right arm around her waist. Now
imagine there is a pole between you - the lady walks forward around the
pole, the man walks backwards - try it.  Great - that is called
pole-dancing :-)".

- If I am over-prompting I address it to the men: "Ladies' Chain, Turn
those ladies"

And if there are a significant number of first-timers then I avoid Right
& Left Throughs, especially in the same dance as a Ladies' Chain!  (Or
substitute a half-promenade.)

Yes, I often see people doing a move that starts like the one I called
in all types of dancing.  If their brain is on overload then there is
only so much you can do.  Part of the solution is careful programming to
introduce the first-timers to the moves and then to develop them over a
series of dances.  But it is hard work when you have to keep the
experienced dancers happy as well!

Happy dancing,

John Sweeney, Dancer, England john at modernjive.com 01233 625 362
http://www.contrafusion.co.uk for Dancing in Kent

More information about the Callers mailing list