[Callers] Arms Folded in Dosidos

Erik Hoffman erik at erikhoffman.com
Fri May 31 13:46:32 PDT 2013


For those of us who are used to twirls, spins may make a Do Si Do 
easier.  This idea of the challenge of "back-up" vs "spin" is intriguing.

I've never noticed it particularly hard to back up and miss.  And 
occasionally a shoulder might bump.  "Nice running into you!" is what I 
say.  And one learns to glance over a shoulder.  As far as positional 
awareness and spinning goes, this takes practice.  For the novice this 
awareness is not automatic -- it can become more so to the seasoned 
dancer.  Many newcomers complain -- in the spinning world of fast-swing 
and twirling contra dancers -- of dizziness. For them, spinning may be 
eons away, if they decide to return.

And, as I stated in an earlier email, a Do Si Do starts on a spot, 
facing a direction, and ends on that spot facing that direction.  Or it 
ends "a quarter more" from that spot, or "one and a half" from that 
spot, facing the direction one started in -- it's a directional move.  
Often, when people spin, they loose this sense of direction. This is 
true of many somewhat "experienced" dancers.

At a one-night-stand dance, since the Do Si Do is something people 
actually "know," as the arms cross and the smiles of "knowing" appear, 
and since that sense of "knowing" brings such joy that I would never 
"correct" it from this version of "correct!"  Again, an arms crossed Do 
Si Do is not incorrect, it's just gone out of fashion in the contra 
dance world.  And, anyone who comes to a contra dance and returns will 
quite quickly stop crossing their arms, as it's not the style there.

At a contra dance, I teach the directional details of the Do Si Do, and 
demonstrate the spin that they'll see.  I actually object to teaching 
beginners to spin, as I consider that a modern flourish (that I actually 
do -- about half the time), and find that adding that flourish confuses 
more beginners than helps.

John Sweeny writes:
>  Why teach the dosido spin? Because it helps people to know which way to
>  spin, and because there are elements like catching your partner's eyes
>  between the spins that people won't necessarily pick up without some
>  guidance.

Hmm, I think this might be a good idea to show this after someone's been 
coming for a while.  Most of the people I know who solo spin were never 
taught these things, and seem to have successfully learned them.  As far 
as eye contact goes, don't forget that, as many of us over-emphasize the 
importance of eye to eye in the contra dance world, many newcomers find 
this a bit too intimate at first, and need to get comfortable with it.  
I always let people know that they don't have to make all that eye 
contact if they don't want to. And there are lots of opportunities in 
just about every contra dance for eye contact, it need not be so 
ubiquitous...

As far as teaching twirls and spins, I'd focus much more on cranking 
leaders, and strive to teach how it is the leader's invitation, the 
follower's choice, and the importance of how small the leader's motion 
actually is: No Cranking!!!  This is something many "experienced" 
dancers need a lesson in.

~erik hoffman
     oakland, ca


On 5/31/2013 12:48 PM, Aahz Maruch wrote:
> [been offline almost two weeks, so responding late]
>
> On Tue, May 21, 2013, Donald Perley wrote:
>> On Tue, May 21, 2013 at 4:28 PM, John Sweeney <info at contrafusion.co.uk> wrote:
>>> Why teach the dosido spin? Because it helps people to know which way to
>>> spin, and because there are elements like catching your partner's eyes
>>> between the spins that people won't necessarily pick up without some
>>> guidance.
>> There may be an easier way to spin (easiest is not spinning, so you
>> are already beyond worrying about easy), but no mandatory direction.
> Actually, I find that spinning is easier than not spinning, partly
> because of the point someone else made about backing up and also because
> the spin puts my feet naturally into the right positions for each spot.




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