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,
[Not on the internet and apologies for a semi-commercial plug]
I'll put in a word (thanks, Karen) for my 20-minute video, "What's Not To Like?
A Community Contra Dance." It's a portrait of my home dance, includes some dance
footage, plus interviews with musicians and dancers about why they love this
particular kind of activity. Lots of toe-tapping music, and a nice picture of
different ages and abilities dancing together.
"Together in Time" and my own "Paid To Eat Ice Cream" both are somewhat more
specialized, in my opinion, offering more historical background than the casual
non-dancer might want. TiT attempts to explain the history of the last 350 years
of country dancing in its 30 minutes, plus giving a picture of the current dance
scene. "Ice Cream" is 70 minutes long and looks at the last 60 years of contra
dancing, with a focus on Bob McQuillen.
My newest video-- The Other Way Back / Dancing with Dudley-- is also more
historical in nature, again something aimed more at folks currently involved in
the dance community. I'll write up a short blurb about it and will post that
soon, though some on this list already saw it at the premiere at the Ralph Page
weekend and they may wish to chime in.
P.S. For folks wanting to order Contra Connections, which contains "What's Not
To Like? and "Ice Cream," in addition to Great Meadow Music, Contracopia, and
CDSS, you could order it directly from the author, in which case I make a little
more money to finance future projects. Cost is $25 plus $3 S&H. Send a check to
176 Farnum Hill
Lebanon, NH 03766
I'm trying to start a contra dance series 90 miles from the nearest regular
contra dances. When someone asks me what contra dance looks I know that
verbal descriptions can only go so far, and even snapshots don't really tell
the story. One person has trusted me enough to make the 90-mile drive, but I
know most folks aren't willing to do that.
What I'd really like is to point them to a contra video that is simple and
clean, showing one line from a caller's perspective. A contra with good
lighting, good music and simple calling. And I'd love for that video to be
freely available on the Internet.
I've found a few contra videos on YouTube, but most are shot from the floor
and so it's very hard to get a feel for the set. The few I've seen shot from
a balcony have a very jerky, hand-held feel.
I know I may be asking for something that does not exist, in which case
perhaps a contest could be held for a video that "captures" contra for a
person who has never seen or danced contra.