[Callers] contras for modern square dancers

Greenleaf via Callers callers at lists.sharedweight.net
Wed Jul 19 07:17:57 PDT 2017

Hi Judy-

Here’s a helpful article written by Clark Baker, a MWSD caller and a contra dancer, and it explains contras and trad squares to MWSDers:

I dance both styles, and I’ve noticed a few big differences:

-MWSDers are not used to long contra swings (they usually just go 2 times around, commonly with an arm around the waist).  The longer contra swing = more centrifugal force, requiring good frame.  MWSDers often get dizzy.

-Contra dancers love their rhythmic balances; the balance is not often used in MWSD, and when it is, it’s usually in an Alamo Ring and pretty wimpy.  Not their fault!  

-Phrasing: MWSDers dance to a beat, not a phrase.  So for them, a ladies chain takes 6 beats, not 8.  They will zip through a  move and stand there waiting for the next call at a contra dance. 

-Contra dancing is more aerobic, even though MWSD is done to a faster beat (average contra is 117-121 bpm, depending on where you live; MWSD can be 128-132 bpm).  

And a reminder to folks on this lest to be respectful of BOTH traditions.  I love ‘em and one isn’t better than the other!

Lisa Greenleaf

> On Jul 18, 2017, at 10:28 PM, Judy Greenhill via Callers <callers at lists.sharedweight.net> wrote:
> Hi everyone,
> I have undertaken to teach some modern square dancers how to contra dance, and I’m wondering if anyone has experience with this and has any dances to recommend? I’m a square dancer myself but most of my contra repertoire is for modern contra dancers- 2 swings, lots of Balance and swing, etc. I’d like more dances with MWSD moves in them and possibly without any, or only 1, swing, and they don’t need to have a partner swing. The dancers I am teaching are all either plus or advanced, so they will tire pretty quickly of the usual simple glossary contras I would normally do in a teaching situation. They can do the moves; it’s the formation that is new to them.
> Thanks,
> Judy
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laleaf at gmail.com

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