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
I saw a 48 bar dance called Beatrice by Erik
Hoffmann - intrigued me.
I am planning to use it in December --- spoke with the
band about a 48 Bar tune set.
Never called a 48 Bar dance before ----
anything tricky about it - aside from the length
issue - staying focused for that extra section?
thanks for any insights.
Mavis L McGaugh
510-814-8118 (answering machine-leave message)
Get an Online or Campus degree
Associate's, Bachelor's, or Master's - in less than one year.
Thanks to everyone who so generously sent me suggestions for easy dances to use in the fourth slot that I, as a new caller will call at our Toronto Country Dancer's dance that Bev Bernbaum will be calling next Saturday.
I have attached a Word document that has all the dances, some of which are annotated with teaching notes.
I have two requests: I need the details of two dances: First Hey by Paul Balliet, and "Kiss of a Lifetime" bu Peter Stix (I could not find either through an internet search. [A suggestion: Please post the info to the whole list, so once someone has sent the info, others need not bother. Thanks!]
The other request is for suggestions on how to teach a hey. (I am a little bit terrified.)
Please note, that I have not chosen a dance yet, but need to do so by tomorrow, so I cam open to suggestions from the list I sent (including the two above) and any other dances that you think are suitable. [Note: If I am too terrified to teach a Hey, then Bev has graciously offered that I can choose another easy dance, so I am open to suggestions on that front as well.]
Thanks for 'Sharing the Weight', and helping me out! I have learned a lot from you out there in List Serve Land so far, and I am looking forward to more!
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:
Save the date: 5th Hot Squares weekend!
When: July 6-8, 2007
Where: Private home; Atlanta, GA
Who: Dan Sahlstrom, calller
Limited to 20 people
This weekend is devoted to exploring Modern Western (Club) squares in an
intensive but fun environment. Unlike previous years we will not focus
on completing Plus or Mainstream levels (though we will probably do most
of Mainstream). Instead, Dan will pick fun and interesting calls from
all lists (Basic - Challenge). Also unlike previous years, we will have
more than the exact number of people, so not all will be required to
dance every tip.
2007 will mark the 5th Hot Squares event. We are holding Hot Squares
2007 in a homey atmosphere with room for two squares. Genders will not
be balanced. Meals will be home cooked. Fellowship and Camaraderie will
Official registration is not open, but email now to hold your space.
I am calling a dance this coming weekend for a 40th birthday party.
Since the group is mostly non-dancers, I have prepped a number of
simple dances. I am looking for an easy contra that has a smooth and
slow flow... almost English Country dance in the pace/tone. Any ideas
for me? It would also help if you could suggest how you might
describe this dance to the musicians so that they could play tunes to
Thanks very much,
So we're planning for a medley and I had a concern that perhaps
people were aiming too high. So I wrote:
> As you're thinking about dances for a medley, keep in mind that
> there will be no walk-through so you have to plan for the
> excellent words you will use (taking up no more than 8 beats of
> music) for the more complex calls. We shouldn't be late with a
> single call during a medley, since (IMHO) that takes all the fun
> out of dancing the medley.
In response, I heard back that I'd only succeeded in frightening
callers out of their wits (an exaggeration, but you get the point).
> there's an easy answer: call dances that you know inside out,
> forwards and backwards. The medley is not a time to show off fancy
> dances. All we need are good dances that flow.
> You can also practice by trying out your selected dances over the
> next couple of months. If appropriate for your dancers, try calling
> it no walk-through. If you can't do that, then try to use all the
> words you'd need during the first time or two through the dance.
> I'm not saying it's impossible to call hard dances, but iit takes a
> lot of preparation to be able to call dances with non-standard
> moves and we do the dancers a huge disservice if we screw up.
> So pick dances that you love and that you feel comfortable about
> calling, and then practice practice practice.
Am I being too judgmental? BTW, it's not NEFFA that we're planning
for, so we can't assume that every dancer knows every possible move.
And please share any other tips you have for planning medleys.
I wanted to extend my thanks to those who made suggestions on easy
dances that align well with a slow flow. I've made a note of your
advice and I'm planning on using it in the future! As I learned more
about the expected crowd for the dance, I rethought the program and
selected very simple dances. We had 4 year olds to 40+ year olds on
the dance floor with the ratio of children to parents being skewed
towards the younger set. At one point, two young girls under five
formed an arch for all to duck through! What a sight and I really
hope none of the adults strained their backs!
Thanks for your help,
To those of you who wrote so convincingly about the
fun you had a RPLDW in New Hampshire. THANKS
My husband and I just got back from a visit with my
family in Mass. and an absolutely terrific weekend in
Durham, N.H. Friendly, welcoming dancers, a truly
wonderful mix of dances and 3 days of the most joyful,
toe tapping music one could want to listen to. We
loved every minute. It was fun to put faces to
several of the names I have seen on the emails.
Mavis L McGaugh
510-814-8118 (answering machine-leave message)
Don't pick lemons.
See all the new 2007 cars at Yahoo! Autos.
"Lucky Five" is Bob's slight variation on "Lucky Seven:"
Circle Mixer -- Easy
A1: Circle Left, circle right
A2: Forward and back, face partner and do-si-do
B1: Grand right & left, counting partner as one. Swing the fifth.
B2: Promenade the one you swung.
Because you pass four people, this sets you up nicely for a square with a
grand R&L later in the evening. You can of course count aloud "one, two,
three, four, five" but Bob suggested "A, E, I, O, U" with "You!" being the
one you swing.
This can also be used as an easy square break, easy since there's no corner
allemande to set up the grand R&L. In a square I would change the B2 to
eight-count promenade and swing again at home. Or grand R&L all the way home
(16) & swing (16).
> Date: Tue, 16 Jan 2007 10:47:16 -0800 (PST)
> From: Karen Fontana <karen_fontana(a)yahoo.com>
> Subject: Re: [Callers] Thanks for New Years Ideas
> To: Caller's discussion list <callers(a)sharedweight.net>
> Message-ID: <197133.60827.qm(a)web30311.mail.mud.yahoo.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1
> Hi Jerome,
> Thanks for sharing, sounds interesting. I looked online for <<Bob
> Dalsemer's "Lucky Five" mixer>> and wasn't able to find it...
> Would you mind to share it?
> Karen Fontana
> Jerome Grisanti
I wanted to say "thank you" to the many folks who chimed in with great ideas
about orchestrating the midnight "moment" at a New Years Eve dance. I ended
up using several, plus one.
Firstly, I took the approach that there would be a New Years celebration at
the top of each hour, at least in some time zone, so we might as well join
in here too. For midnight local time, we sang "Auld Lang Syne," danced a
mixer (Bob Dalsemer's "Lucky Five"), got back to our partners and shifted to
a waltz. For one of the other times we did a grand march, shifted to a
circle with some ins and outs to get in the shouts, then went into a spiral
dance. This seemed new to a lot of the crowd, so it went really well. For
one of the other "midnights" we waltzed.