I can only speak with reference to calling at NEFFA, as I have never applied to DownEast. As some of you may know that Linda Leslie is NEFFA's program chair, I will note that the program chair does not select performers for contra sessions.
Regarding NEFFA 2007, the following notice is now posted at http://neffa.org/perf_app.html - The Program Committee is not prepared to take your application at this time, since it is too late to apply for this year's NEFFA Festival. Please note that the application to perform is always available during the month of September, with a deadline in October. If you'd like to get an e-mail notice of application availability, send a blank e-mail to NEFFA_Performers-subscribe(a)yahoogroups.com
So you can note on your calendar that September is a good time to check the NEFFA web site, and also arrange for a notice to pop up in your e-mail.
The NEFFA application invites you to come up with a briefly-described theme for your session, with a title of 20 characters or less. IMO, use your own judgment as to how important the theme is. If you are offering a concept that's really meaningful to you, don't be afraid to describe it. If what you really want to do is just call some hot contras, then IMO I wouldn't go overboard on the theme.
Unlike Northwest Folklife, callers and bands apply SEPARATELY to the New England Folk Festival. And I believe that this is a very good thing for beginning callers who hope to have a chance at getting onstage. This mix-and-match policy gives a fresh perspective for experienced performers, and can be an eye-opening experience for newcomers who may get to work with seasoned veterans. I will never forget calling at NEFFA with Northern Spy, a band that has worked with caller David Millstone for 25 years. And where was David during this session? Out on the floor, happily dancing to the music of his own band. NEFFA's selection process made that wonderful hour possible for me.
For what it's worth, the first year I successfully applied I asked for a "Festival Orchestra" slot, which means that instead of calling a themed, hour-long session I called two dances in the Main Hall with the assembled orchestra and then got off the stage as the next Festival Orchestra caller had a turn. IMO, the key here (as well as in submitting a session proposal) is to choose dances that you know by heart, can teach well, fully believe in, and love to share with a crowd. You don't want to have second thoughts as you approach the microphone.
If you're wondering why performer applications are required so far in advance of a festival, note that NEFFA may have 1700 performers, many of whom perform in multiple sessions (perhaps performing alone, and with a participatory dance group, and also with a concert performance group!). You can't doublebook a performer (or larger groups to which she may belong), you have to give her time to move from one venue to another, plus a bunch of other scheduling etceteras that would drive me loony to contemplate further. How scheduling was done in the days before computers is beyond me.
Robert Jon Golder
164 Maxfield St
New Bedford, MA 02740
We still have some space left if anyone has been putting off registering.
Call me if you have questions, or respond via email with your registration
info (copied at bottom of message).
>From: "Chrissy Fowler" <ktaadn_me(a)hotmail.com>
>Four of us are putting on an interactive workshop here in Belfast, in
>conjunction with the 1st Friday Belfast Flying Shoes Dance Series. Callers
>and Musicians: Making Connections! Open to 25 intermediate level callers
>and musicians, and facilitated by Amy Richardson Larkin, Shirley White,
>Linda Henry and Chrissy Fowler.
>We're all very excited about it, as it's an unusual opportunity for BOTH
>callers and musicians to join in an extended workshop about band-caller
>collaboration, communication and cooperation (and some of the various ways
>we do that for the benefit of all of our community -- musicians callers and
>perhaps most importantly, dancers!)
>We're very committed to making this an experiential workshop, meaning that
>we plan to do a lot of experimenting, dancing, playing and hearing tunes,
>sharing ideas, testing theories, taking some risks, and so forth. There
>will be some sitting in a circle and talking as well, but we hope to do
>more doing than talking. (If we were putting this in a college course
>catalog it would be described as some lecture, with a substantial lab
>If out-of-state folks want to come, we would heartily welcome you and I
>could help you track down hotel rooms, b&bs, or even local hospitality!
>:-) Belfast is pretty groovy, and in November most of the tourists have
>If you have any more questions, let me know. I'll also post a .pdf flyer
>in the next few days.
>Thanks! :-) Chrissy
>Here are some of the details:
>Fri, November 3rd evening dance
>Sat, November 4th daytime sessions
>To register, contact Chrissy Fowler
>207-338-0979 or ktaadn_me(a)hotmail.com
>Workshop presented by North Twin Education Programs with support from The
>Country Dance and Song Society (CDSS)
WORKSHOP REGISTRATION FORM:
Dear Callers and Musicians,
Hooray! You have indicated that you plan to attend the upcoming workshop in
Belfast on November 3 & 4. It looks to be an interesting group so far, with
varied experience and from various places. (There are still some spaces, so
if you know anyone who is hoping to come, have them get in touch with me
I'll send out some more information in October.
Please complete the following information and mail a check (payable to North
Twin Education Programs) to Chrissy Fowler, 93 Kaler Road, Belfast, ME 04915
Are you a caller, musician or both?
If musician, what instrument(s)?
About how long have you been calling/playing for dances?
Please describe (1 sentence or so) your caller/musician experience.
If you are applying for a scholarship, please indicate how much you are
If you would like help finding hospitality, please let me know any special
needs (e.g. pet allergies)
What amount are you sending?
___ full amount $50
___ deposit $25
** IMPORTANT FYI **
My email use is sporadic.
If time-sensitive, please call:
thanks!! :-) chf
Here's one I've used a lot over the years, wonderful flow. I usually call this
one to jigs. Enjoy!
Delphiniums and Daisies
by Tanya Rotenberg (Philadelphia)
duple improper contra
A1 Allemande left neighbor 1-1/2
Ladies chain over
A2 Hey for 4 (women start passing R shoulders)
B1 All swing partner
B2 Circle L 3/4
Allemande R same neighbor 1-1/2
Hi folks! I am just getting signed up to the list, after a busy couple of months since the Caller's course at the American Music and Dance Week at Pinewoods. I know some of you out there in list-serve-land, and look forward to getting to know others.
One of our local callers, Bev Bernbaum, has graciously offered to let me call a dance at the Saturday, November 11th dance of our Toronto Country Dancer's series. I will call dance #4 of the night, and Bev has requested that I call something with a Hey for 4. In the interests of building community, as well as my dance repertoire, I was wondering if some of you have some suggestions. You can reply to me here on the list, or to me directly at jillian(a)permaculture.net .
Thank you very much!
Facilitator of Sustainable Community Planning and Design
The Sustainable Living Network
& Sustainable Living Books
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
416-410-7581; fax 416-654-8917
Draft Web Sites:
Dear fellow callers,
I recently posted a notice here about the upcoming Ralph Page Dance Legacy
Weekend, scheduled for Durham, NH, on January 12-14, 2007. At that weekend,
Dudley will be honored for his more than 50 years of involvement in the world
of traditional country dancing. We'd love to see all of you at the weekend, but
some of you may not be able to attend, and in any event, it would be nice to
have some written greetings. So...
We're making arrangements for people who would like to send a card, an
appreciation, a few lines of doggerel, a note of thanks, an anecdote, an old
photo or souvenir, or anything else that will help commemorate the occasion.
This needn't be a polished essay-- it's the thought that counts. We'll compile
any and all such contributions into a scrapbook that can be presented to
Dudley-- we might even be able to incorporate some of your tales into the
Please send your contributions to:
21 Prospect Street
Portsmouth, NH 03021
It'll take Patrick time to compile your submissions, so sooner is better. Let's
aim to have things to him by the end of November, just a month away.
If you have questions, you can reach Patrick here: pstevens21(a)comcast.net
Do tell others about this as well. Dudley's influence truly is nationwide, and
it would be great to hear from dancers, callers, musicians, and organizers from
around the country.
I will third (or fourth?) the Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend endorsement.
As a former committee member, I know the work and thoughtfulness that goes
into producing this weekend. I've heard top class performers say that it's
the only dance weekend that they would actually pay to attend even if they
weren't performing (and I guess the percentage of callers and musicians
among the regular attendees speaks to that.)
If you are the sort of dancer (or caller) who doesn't particularly enjoy
participating in well-connected dancing, visiting with community spirited
attendees, basking in the style and grace of lifelong dancers, laughing as
Bob McQuillen shamelessly interrupts a walkthrough to shout out some
humorous yet relevant anecdote, and celebrating the roots and branches of
our collective dance family tree, well... it may not be for you. But, wow,
if any of those things seem appealing, it's really really really fun.
And, about lunch. NOTE: You don't have to be on the meal plan to join the
lunch gatherings. (The Saturday banquet is a different matter, as it's in a
different dining hall) But I never buy the meal plan (too choosy about what
good foods I eat!), and happily enjoy bringing my feast to the table of
Will look forward to seeing many of you there!
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Lisa Sieverts wrote:
>I'll second David's endorsement. This will be my 4th year attending
>the Ralph Page weekend -- I consider it a "can't miss" opportunity.
>Nowhere else do I get so much fertilizer for the little plant that is
>my love of calling.
And here's a third. On top of what David and Lisa wrote, and beyond the
opportunity to connect with other callers, I find that Ralph Page
consistently has the most supportive dance community of any dance series or
weekend I attend. I'm amazed every year by how much care and courtesy the RP
dancers have for each other and for the tradition itself. It's the epitome
of unselfish dancing.
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Dear caller friends,
Apologies if you've received this already. I'm trying to get the word out to
I'm hoping that some members of this list might be enticed to join us in New
Hampshire on January 12-14, 2007, for the 20th annual Ralph Page Dance Legacy
Weekend. Here's the website with details:
The two callers most associated with traditional New England dancing are Dudley
Laufman and Ralph Page, so it is particularly apt that Dudley's accomplishments
are being celebrated this year at the Ralph Page weekend. Ralph preserved the
traditional dances of the Monadnock region and shared them with a new audience
especially in the post-WWII years, and Dudley extended that audience
dramatically in the late 1960s and 1970s. Indeed, "Dudley dancers" from that era
were responsible for spreading interest in traditional New England dancing to
all parts of the United States, from San Diego to St. Louis to Seattle, from
Knoxville and Bloomington to Houston and Lansing. The list goes on and on...
>From his first calling experiences in the late 1940s, through the heyday of his
years as leader of the Canterbury Country Dance Orchestra, from performances at
the 1965 Newport Folk Festival and the National Folk Festival at Wolf Trap, from
his rigorous schedule of dances throughout New England, from Boston area high
society weddings to countless New Hampshire schoolrooms, from his influential
recordings to his current busy schedule (250 gigs a year) with Two Fiddles-- for
fifty years, Dudley Laufman has been an influential dancing master and musician.
Given the number of dance communities that were inspired by Dudley dances, a
case can be made that Dudley is the single individual most responsible for the
fact that folks in America enjoy dancing contras today.
He has been recognized for his contributions in many ways, including the 2001
New Hampshire Governor's Award in the Arts for Folk Heritage and a nomination
for the 2006 National Heritage Fellowship.
Folks on this trad-dance-callers list certainly have enjoyed his strong
opinions, his perspectives, his stories, his dances, and his poems. Now it's
time for the dance community to honor him. The Friday night dance at the Ralph
Page weekend will feature music of Dudley's Canterbury Orchestra. Saturday's
program includes the world premiere of a new documentary about Dudley by David
Millstone, and a Retrospective dance session focused on Dudley's long career.
Staff callers for the weekend include Tony Parkes and Carol Ormand, with stellar
music being provided Friday by the Canterbury Orchestra and on Saturday and
Sunday by two bands: The Old Grey Goose, a Maine band with long connections to
Dudley, and a trio comprising Bob McQuillen on piano, Laurie Andres on
accordion, and Vince O'Donnell on fiddle. The weekend includes opportunities for
musical jams, there are calling and music workshops, there's an open mic for
callers, and there's plenty of good dancing to be had. Of all the dance weekends
I know, this one does more than any other to pay tribute to our rich dancing
heritage while also celebrating the lively contemporary dance scene. It's also
the only dance event I know of where dancers expect a generous number of duple
proper and triple minor dances in the program, and where you can count on
dancing Money Musk at least once, as well as numerous other chestnts.
Over the years, this dance weekend has attracted a particularly large number of
callers, both old hands and relative beginners, who come to share in the dancing
and to talk shop. It's a great time, and I hope you can join us. Please spread
I am planning to attend the RPDLW this year as well (relunctantly had to
miss last year, but have benefited hugely from attendance the previous
three years - not to mention the just plain fun of it)! And the lunch
gathering would be great (I'm not planning to buy the meal plan, but
could change that if everyone else was).
I realized last night that I had let the deadlines pass for the
performer applications for Down East and NEFFA this year. I also
realized that part of the reason that I let them pass was because I
wasn't sure what was expected on the forms. Here are the questions I
should have asked weeks ago:
Generally the festivals provide 1 hour slots. Do you put a theme with a
short description onto the application, or can you just request a slot
and figure out the theme later? How much do callers try and do something
totally original or do they pick a theme that hasn't been done in a
while? Do you work out something with a band before, or does the
festival scheduler pair you up?
I would enjoy hearing how some of the callers with festival experience
approach the application process.