[Callers] New Years Eve favorites

Frederick Park via Callers callers at lists.sharedweight.net
Sat Dec 19 11:00:32 PST 2015

Dear All,

The event of any dance is an opportunity to investigate options for the art of programing.
I use the work “art” so that you, gentle reader, may take time to ponder the roll of each aspect of “event”.
As the one most are relying upon for guidance ("the next dance is…”, “the next move is . . .”) the dance leader, the “caller”, is in a unique place to treat himself or herself to the larger ramifications of the programing.

If “art form” is a real consideration for deciding how to lead the experience of an evening dance, perhaps the larger considerations of the art world may come into play here.
What does that mean? I’m suggesting that it is art. What does art do? All art shares only one single consideration: a statement is made which is commonly called the “artist’s statement”.
We see this in visual art, in theater, in music, in poetry and occasionally such a broad dynamic breaths new life into other human endeavors - such as presenting an event of social dance with live music.

When deciding to “step into the deep end of the pool” and accept traditional dance as “art form” each element takes on new “weight”. Programing is one element.
So, what are the dancers’ expectations? How can we create a “heightened” experience? What sort of presentation made by one is available to all present and may be “seen” by another within a new light and “borrowed” (as is the case in all art forms - artists are really grand “borrowers”), morphed in a creative moment and reused later BECAUSE the outcome is understood to create a response! It is this “response” that drives the action of the artist. 

To address the earlier question, dancers expect “community” to simply happen on some level. They expect an “aesthetic” experience, on some level. They expect the midnight hour, the actual moment of the stroke of midnight to carry some weight, some additional “significance". It matters not whether tis with their “partner” of choice or not so long as the experience is memorable! The decision of what to choose for the moment of change-of-year is the root of Sue’s original search. 

I hope many will share options from their own experiences of the “New Year” at a dance. My personal approach to the “form” of year ending/year beginning is tempered by a desire to fulfill the “need” many have to stand with their sweetie while allowing any and all - even those with no partner - to join in. (Community considerations include all present. That is a “given”.) 

There are serious expectations for some within the contra dance community that a “contra dance” will NOT include any dances BUT contra (addressed by many for years now though not germane to this topic specifically). La Bastringue is a good choice for those willing to try a circle mixer. Like so many older dances, it has always been associated with the tune of the same name.
Below is a YouTube link to four couples doing a very fine version. Note that while one man only is present in this YouTube presentation, his “original” partner is the lady to his Left! Timing the dance for four couples could easily lead all present into a short dance within a “community of eight dancers” so that as the fifth time through approaches it is suddenly MIDNIGHT! Hurrah! Swing your Partner!

Similarly, an enticing option is for the same dance in one single circle which is how it is presented usually. (Being in a circle is the oldest common “community” dynamic ever!) And bridging the gap into midnight could “give way” to ending the dance with your Original Partner too - no matter how large the circle! Use of the Right and Left Grand to Original Partners is also an option (though contra dancers may have to “learn” that one single figure)!

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Another Option: “Oh How Lovely Is The Evening”
a singing round, with concentric circles for “as many as will” join in! (Hopefully ALL!)
Singing? “We don’t do that” some will say. But once you’ve taught this round (with or without a Partner) THEN you may introduce the dance. It’s simplicity of a high order here.

Oh how lovely is the evening, is the evening
	(Circle Left)
When the bells are sweetly ringing, sweetly ringing
	(Circle Right)
Ding Dong, Ding Dong, Ding Dong . . .
	(In place, all swing joined hands up and down in the arch of a bell ringing three times)

NOTE: The “leader” will want to make a prearrangement for the inner most circle to follow their lead so that after a few time (or until it’s MidNight) the Round continues only as many times as there are circles. The ending is started thusly: 	the inner circle continues with the last line and it’s associated movement of ringing the bells
								the second circle also will continue with the final line - now there are two circles leading all toward conclusion
								the third circle (and so on) will “pick up” on the use of the final line sung in unison (three more times)
								ending with a loud harmony resolve the last time!

Here is another YouTube example in full daylight! Imagine this with the prearrangement of the band in the center with candles…

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While many may respond with other dance options for consideration, use your creative “juices” and follow your own inspiration. Be creative. Go for it. The more time and effort you put into it, the more “content” will come out via the dancers connecting with each other, with the whole. This, gentle readers, is the desire we all share for such a time: Memorable!

Monday, December 21st is the Solstice. To all my friends, Happy New Year!
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Original Post for this thread: 
Hi -
No need to remind you that 2016 is fast approaching.   
What are your favorite dances to program before/after the midnight hour at your New Year's Eve events?

Sue Gola
On Dec 19, 2015, at 10:17 AM, Bill Olson via Callers <callers at lists.sharedweight.net> wrote:

Good point, I suppose there's always going to be someone "put out", but I have never had any complaints. New Year's Eve dances usually go on PAST midnight, so they are longer than normal and plenty of time to dance with "the one they're going home with". I just like the community aspect of the mixer.. everyone seems to "get" that.
Date: Sat, 19 Dec 2015 07:08:20 -0800
To: callers at lists.sharedweight.net <mailto:callers at lists.sharedweight.net>
Subject: Re: [Callers] New Years Eve favorites
From: callers at lists.sharedweight.net <mailto:callers at lists.sharedweight.net>

On Sat, Dec 19, 2015, Bill Olson via Callers wrote:

I got this one from David Kaynor and have used it several times: “La
Bastringue", timed so everyone is going into the center with a big
hoot at the stroke of midnight.

Just to be clear, La Bastringue is not a contra, it's a circle mixer.
Which means some people might be put out by not having their partner at
midnight, have you ever had complaints about that?
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