I enjoy shadow swings.
>Chris Weiler wrote:
>> Once again, frigid New Hampshire was home to another warm and special
>> Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend. It was great to see people from all
>> over the country who came to dance and learn. The SharedWeight lunch
>> gatherings were a couple of the high points for me.
>. . . and Chris did an excellent job calling a fun dance he co-wrote. Will you consider posting it on SharedWeight, Chris?
>During the same open mike session, I enjoyed dancing Nils Fredland's "Head of the Bed" to Dave Eisenstatter's calling, and it got me thinking. I've called dances with shadow swings infrequently, because in the back of my head I think about the following excerpt from Cary Ravitz's notes on contra choreography: "Watch out for excessive trail buddy interaction. People don't choose their trail buddy and they are stuck with them for the entire dance. . . . Trail buddy swings are not allowed."
>However, Cary also emphasizes that those are his personal preferences, and others' preferences may vary. So I'd appreciate others' thoughts on this -- are shadow swings as strongly negative an issue for you as they are for Cary? Clearly they were not an issue for Nils when writing "Head of the Bed" or Seth T. when writing "Meg's a Dancing Fool," for instance.
>East of Los Angeles
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>One other thing I might mention about bringing Modern Western Square moves
>into Contra crowds: ...
Then there is also the other, more basic, discussion about both the advisability of this course and the responsibilities it entails.
The contra dance tradition, as it currently stands, is still one of the most effective means of bringing a roomfull of people with widely varying skill levels together in a joyful evening of social dance to live music, without the requirement of separate lessons.
For some of us this is the most attracive quality of contras. An effort to increase the number of calls and the skills necessary to participate at any evening of contra dance is a bold course that could do violence to the traditional role of contras. An effort to do so should be pursued with caution. Each step in this direction should be precluded with a series of questions:
- How will this addition affect the confidence level of first-time dancers in the hall?
- How will it affect their ability to participate and the likelihood that they will return?
- How should I characterize this addition to make it clear that it varies from the basic tradition of contras?
- What is the appropriate venue to introduce this kind of variation? (Dance camps, special events, festivals, or regular contra dance series?)
- Are my variations significant enough over the course of the evening that I have a responsibility to distinguish this event, in the publicity, from a regular evening of contras?
- Would I like to see this variation become a part of the contra dance tradition?
Just a thought,
One other thing I might mention about bringing Modern Western Square moves
into Contra crowds: Contra dancers will try to put balances where they are
used to putting balances, even if you don't call them. For example, most
contra dances using square thrus use a balance, pull by, pull by sequence (8
counts). Repeating the balance, pull by, pull by would complete a square
thru four places. (total 16 counts)
A MWSD crowd would just pull by twice in 4 counts (square thru two), three
times in 6 counts (square thru three) or four times in 8 counts (square thru
four). No balances. Many MW dancers don't know what to make of the balances
that contra dancers love so much.
In the same way, contra dancers are habituated to putting balances before a
Box the Gnat, and I've had to remind dancers in certain dances that there is
no balance before the Box the Gnat.
On the other hand, I have had good luck explaining the swing thru. From a
wavy line of four with the ladies in the middle holding left hands, I teach
neighbors allemande right halfway, men allemande left halfway. I explain
that I will prompt those allemandes as "swing thru."
Find a dance (or adjust it) so that you don't have to teach more than one or
two "new" moves.
Yes, I know "thru" is actually spelled "through."
On Jan 23, 2008 7:41 AM, <callers-request(a)sharedweight.net> wrote:
> Message: 4
> Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2008 13:06:27 -0500
> From: "Tepfer, Seth" <LABST(a)emory.edu>
> Subject: Re: [Callers] [trad-dance-callers] What did he say !??? MWSD
> To: "trad-dance-callers(a)yahoogroups.com"
> <trad-dance-callers(a)yahoogroups.com>, "Caller's discussion list"
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
> One of the cool things about MWSD is that they have singing squares to
> many fun songs of the past 50 years. Beatles, stones, salsa, C&W, you name
> it. The downside is most are using the jargon of MWSD. This is why they have
> 40 weeks of lessons.
> You have two choices - replace the given moves with ones that put the
> dancers in basically that place but with moves they already know, or teach
> all those moves in other dances earlier in the evening.
> Square thru dancers know from contra.
> Swing thru appears in some contra dances (see Manga Tak by Ron Buchannan
> or Southern Swing by Steve Zaikon Anderson) (it's basically - from a wavy
> line - all allemande Right ?, centers allemande left ?).
> Eight chain 4 I've seen in a couple of squares by Colin Hume (check out
> his Squares with a Difference - singing square O Bla Di, Oh Bla Dah)
> Spin the top - um .... Here you go:
> From: trad-dance-callers(a)yahoogroups.com [mailto:
> trad-dance-callers(a)yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Rickey
> Sent: Tuesday, January 22, 2008 12:43 PM
> To: trad-dance-callers(a)yahoogroups.com
> Subject: [trad-dance-callers] What did he say !??? MWSD
> Found two incredible singing squares. One is to Everly brothers' "Dream,
> Dream, Dream" and the other to the Beatles' "Money Can't Buy You Love". We
> might like to try them for our Valentine's Dance, but they use calls from
> Modern Western Square Dancing. So........... What do these terms mean? (I
> tried http://www.ceder.net <http://www.ceder.net/> , but could not find
> Square thru
> Square thru go three (three quarter 'round now)
> Square thru (count it four hands 'round)
> 8 chain 4
> Swing thru
> Spin the top
> O.K. I have done a square through but before I teach it (and any
> in this list), I need review.
> Thanks to those who know.
> I don't.
> Singing in New Hampshire
> Rickey Holt
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
When I asked recently about the transition in the first move of a Beckett
from circle left ¾ and do-si-do neighbor (or pass through and do-si-do the
next neighbor), I was interested in differences in the experience for the
man and the women. Try these two figures. To simplify this description I am
thinking of the couple who are together in the line on the callers left
(i.e. the couple who in setting up the Beckett with Hands four, Actives
Cross over and all circle left one place to the left, started out as the
(1) As the first move in a Beckett again, or at least from that home
position, circle left ¾ and pass through to the neighbors above, or the next
neighbors above that.
(2) Starting as before, circle left ¾ and have the man go down and pass
through and do-si-do the next neighbor below, while the woman goes up and
passes through and do-si-dos the next neighbor above. This last figure I
have worked into a dance.
Still Surprised in New Hampshire.
Found two incredible singing squares. One is to Everly brothers' "Dream,
Dream, Dream" and the other to the Beatles' "Money Can't Buy You Love". We
might like to try them for our Valentine's Dance, but they use calls from
Modern Western Square Dancing. So........... What do these terms mean? (I
tried http://www.ceder.net <http://www.ceder.net/> , but could not find
Square thru go three (three quarter 'round now)
Square thru (count it four hands 'round)
8 chain 4
Spin the top
O.K. I have done a square through but before I teach it (and any variations
in this list), I need review.
Thanks to those who know.
Singing in New Hampshire
Preparing to call, I just walked through a dance where I wanted to know
where each man and each woman would be. It was a move we do very (!) often
now: from Becket formation the first move is circle left ¾ and pass
through. In this case you pass through to new neighbors and do-si-do there.
For the men this is a very smooth move. The circle left ¾ leaves them
facing in the direction they need to go. But it seems that the women have to
turn around (????!!!!) if they are to progress to new neighbors in the same
direction as the men. Women, is this true? Who knew!? The women knew. If
it is true, how do you manage it? When I tried it I was not (!) graceful.
Slow and Surprised in New Hampshire
Once again, frigid New Hampshire was home to another warm and special
Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend. It was great to see people from all
over the country who came to dance and learn. The SharedWeight lunch
gatherings were a couple of the high points for me. We had fascinating
discussions about style, teaching, stubborn minded dancers, stubborn
minded callers, psychology, choreography and so much more.
Both Beth Parkes and Nils Freidland's caller's workshops made us think
and philosophize this year. Beth's on what it means to be a
"professional" caller. And Nil's on why we dance, why we call and what
virtues we want and need to bring to the stage with us.
The retrospective video about Ralph Sweet by David Millstone was great!
Fun and funny and informative, David again shows his talent for
It would be great to hear from other people about their favorite parts.
It was great to see everyone who came!
Hi Chris and all Shared Weights,
It was good to see those folks that I see but once a Year!
Though I was in attendance for Part of the RPDLW,
I did miss the callers workshops.(the outside world
held sway) I would be grateful if folks who were in attendance
would provide a brief synopsis of the workshops.
Aside from the aforementioned Wkshps my favorite parts of the
Weekend are Friday night and Sunday afternoon. Both sessions
are very relaxed esp. Sunday! The session could be called hot
without walkthroughs, and it lacks the manic aspects of a more
Thanks in advance for the workshop synopsis º
See ya Dancing,
mail2web - Check your email from the web at
As a female, I've done that numerous times, and never had a problem
with it, presuming you're going 3/4. Why would I be facing the wrong
way? Maybe your circle is going too slow so you aren't far enough
around before you start? From my vantage, I'm moving around to the
left and I just sort of turn it into more of a spiraling in so that
the circle contracts into a pass through (in my view of the track I'm
on). No problem. Of course, if my neighbor gives me a little weight
to pull against as I move that way it adds to the flow.
On Jan 21, 2008, at 9:00 AM, callers-request(a)sharedweight.net wrote:
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> Today's Topics:
> 1. Really!? (Rickey)
> 2. labor of love (Delia Clark)
> Message: 1
> Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2008 10:37:45 -0500
> From: "Rickey" <holt.e(a)comcast.net>
> Subject: [Callers] Really!?
> To: <callers(a)sharedweight.net>
> Message-ID: <000001c85c43$9229db40$020fa8c0@maxx>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
> Preparing to call, I just walked through a dance where I wanted to
> where each man and each woman would be. It was a move we do very
> (!) often
> now: from Becket formation the first move is circle left ? and pass
> through. In this case you pass through to new neighbors and do-si-
> do there.
> For the men this is a very smooth move. The circle left ? leaves them
> facing in the direction they need to go. But it seems that the
> women have to
> turn around (????!!!!) if they are to progress to new neighbors in
> the same
> direction as the men. Women, is this true? Who knew!? The women
> knew. If
> it is true, how do you manage it? When I tried it I was not (!)
> Slow and Surprised in New Hampshire
> Rickey Holt
> Message: 2
> Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2008 11:41:19 -0500
> From: Delia Clark <delia_clark(a)comcast.net>
> Subject: [Callers] labor of love
> To: Caller's discussion list <callers(a)sharedweight.net>
> Message-ID: <DA736B98-27D1-448C-BDFA-47AAD1A3B07D(a)comcast.net>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII; delsp=yes; format=flowed
> When I mentioned my dream of starting a new dance series in my
> community of Woodstock VT to Jeremiah McLane at Pinewoods a few
> summers ago, the main thing that I remember him saying is "Good luck,
> it's a labor of love." His comment has stuck with me as we've
> muddled along up to this point but, hey...
> Friday night we had OUR FIRST DANCE in the "Third Friday Woodstock
> Dance Series" and it was an awesome success, far exceeding our
> expectations!!! I thought I might share some of what went well and
> ask for your thoughts on starting new series in case you can help us
> to maintain momentum.
> The committee that finally came together with enough energy to make
> this happen included several parents of young children, Waldorf
> School parents, parents of kids with developmental disabilities and
> members of a newish contra band that has been performing irregularly
> over the past couple of years plus me as caller (my husband and son
> are in the band). Here's what we came up with
> Gradual Build-Up
> We held two private parties in this venue this fall and early winter
> that included members of the same band and me calling. Both
> attracted big crowds and we promoted our dance series at both, at
> least in concept. One of the parties was to celebrate my high school
> son's new film and a ton of local HS kids came, which helped build up
> a base of interest there and they turned out in force on Friday.
> Family Friendly
> We decided to make this a very family-friendly dance. We came up
> with a program that includes:
> 5:30 - dinner of vegetarian soup and bread.
> 6:30 - family dance
> 7:30 - break and pot luck desserts
> 8:00 - contra dance
> Notes on dinner: the soup is made by committee members using veggies
> bought from a local farmer and bread is donated by a local bakery.
> We gathered up a bunch of mismatched cups, bowls and spoons and we'll
> keep them together and use them each time.
> We are currently charging $5 per adult, with children and teens
> free. The cost includes both parts of the dance and dinner. We made
> enough on Friday to pay for the food ingredients plus enough for seed
> money for food for next time, some money to pay the guy who helped
> cook, plus a modest amount for each band member -- we were thrilled
> at how the finances came out, because of the large turn-out. Still,
> we think we might try putting out a donation bucket for extra
> donations next time to pay band members better (it's a big band),
> donate to local non-profits, and and maybe invest in better sound
> equipment over time.
> Local Business Sponsor
> One of our committee members owns two local businesses that recycle
> and make compost. He offered to sponsor the dances, covering the
> cost of the hall for the first five dances, which is $100 per night,
> which is a reduced rate from their usual $150. We promoted his
> businesses on all the posters and announced it at each part of the
> dance, encouraging folks to give his hand a squeeze as they passed
> him in line.
> We also plan to try choosing a local non-profit to co-host each
> dance, promoting it with their constituency and receiving a share of
> the proceeds.
> We advertised all five dances in the series on one poster, but I
> think we will also announce each separately again. A lot of the
> promotion happened through local organizations, churches, and schools.
> - I can't make all the dances so I will need to find a substitute,
> which feels sad for me, but maybe it's a more sustainable pattern,
> given how much I travel for work.
> - A lot of the families with younger kids stayed through the break
> and were still there at 8:00 so it was a little challenging to meet
> their needs and still make all the high school students and adults
> who had come feel like this wasn't a little kid event. They mostly
> danced one or two dances, which I made appropriate for their level,
> though, so it worked out fine.
> - We jury-rigged our sound system, which was imperfect. More money/
> attention needed for that as we go.
> Do you have any suggestions for us about starting a new series?
> We're all ears!!
> Sorry to miss you at Ralph Page -- I'm sure it was wonderful.
> Delia Clark
> Delia Clark
> PO Box 45
> Taftsville, VT 05073
> Callers mailing list
> End of Callers Digest, Vol 41, Issue 10