I've called many a wedding and/or event dance on grass and have never had a
problem. Like Beth, I agree with most everything that's been said,
particularly Rich's comment about using elbow swings, Tom's comment about
using mixers, and her comment about wedding timing. All absolutely true in
I don't like the idea of dancing on cardboard boxes taped together. [I can
just see Lindsay rolling his eyes at me right now! <wave>] That strikes me
as potentially slippery (especially if women are wearing heels) and more
dangerous than just dancing on the grass. But your mileage may vary.
In my experience at weddings, women are often wearing high heels. I
typically walk around on the grassy area of the dance to look for
particularly uneven terrain in order to try to steer clear of it. And
assuming the grass is clean or debris and other potential assorted
muckiness, I often suggest that women dance barefooted rather than in heels.
If the grass is soft, they have a tendency to get stuck/caught anyway.
Laurie, I'm calling the dance in Lansing this Saturday. Come to the dance
and we can chat more about this.
About caller insurance, I heard about it a couple of years ago, and it may
have even been on this list. My recollection is that it's offered by or
related to CallerLab, the modern western square dance folks in the US. I
also seem to remember that the link to the forms was on the CDSS website.
I'm certain I got the forms and emailed someone then to find out the answers
to some questions, and never got any. Perhaps you folks can answer them.
I'm a Canadian caller. Can I even apply to get this insurance?
Will it cover me if I'm calling dances in Canada?
Will it cover me if I'm calling dances in the US, even though I'm Canadian?
Are there any Canadians on this list that have purchased it?
Has anyone had to actually use it (e.g. make a claim)?
I have insurance for just about everything else car, condo, life, you name
it. I wholeheartedly believe in getting insurance if it's available. But I
couldn't seem to find out if I could actually get it. And then it just
slipped off the radar and I forgot about it. Ultimately, I believe that
Canucks are less litigious than you 'Mericans, so I hadn't gone back to
follow up. But every time someone mentions it, I wonder about it...
The CALLERLAB policy that Bev mentioned does not appli to Canadian or overseas
callers. CALLERLAB says, "We urge Canadian and overseas callers to contact their
local organizations for their insurance needs."
Alas. It's a good deal. Purchased through CDSS, it costs $48/year:
And no, I don't know of anyone who's had to file a claim. However, I often have
had to present a certificate of insurance to be able to hold a dance in a town
hall or a school building, and it's worth carrying the policy just for that.
That was my understanding of ONS and MUC. Could it be anything else??? Obvious.
-------------- Original message --------------
From: Greg McKenzie <gregmck(a)earthlink.net>
> Some people may not be familiar with the jargon we use. Just to clarify:
> ONS stands for "Old Ninnie's Shuffle" a dance done at retirement
> homes in southern New Mexico.
> MUC stands for "Mucilaginous Uphill Crabwalk" which is a popular
> dance amongst college students on the East coast.
> Just thought that might help.
> Greg McKenzie
> At 12:43 PM 6/17/2008, you wrote:
> >Dancing on grass works just fine. Stick with an elbow swing, which
> >I usually do for a ONS dance anyway.
> >I'm assuming that this is a dance with mostly novice, one-time
> >dancers. We did play for a MUC dance once that was in the grass and
> >the dance seemed to work just fine too, except for the mosquitos.
> Callers mailing list
Some people may not be familiar with the jargon we use. Just to clarify:
ONS stands for "Old Ninnie's Shuffle" a dance done at retirement
homes in southern New Mexico.
MUC stands for "Mucilaginous Uphill Crabwalk" which is a popular
dance amongst college students on the East coast.
Just thought that might help.
At 12:43 PM 6/17/2008, you wrote:
>Dancing on grass works just fine. Stick with an elbow swing, which
>I usually do for a ONS dance anyway.
>I'm assuming that this is a dance with mostly novice, one-time
>dancers. We did play for a MUC dance once that was in the grass and
>the dance seemed to work just fine too, except for the mosquitos.
Dancing on grass works just fine. Stick with an elbow swing, which I usually do for a ONS dance anyway.
I'm assuming that this is a dance with mostly novice, one-time dancers. We did play for a MUC dance once that was in the grass and the dance seemed to work just fine too, except for the mosquitos.
-------------- Original message --------------
From: Laur <lcpgr(a)yahoo.com>
> Hell all, looking for support and any suggestions for calling an outside wedding
> Since I am dealing with a wedding dance I don't have to worry about fast
> dancing. Although I keep thinking about that unsteady dancing thing that is
> already present with non-dancers, and their over exuberance. I also think about
> letting that caller insurance lag this year.
> I'm open to anything anyone can offer. Wedding is Sunday. Trying to rethink
> today and tomorrow.
> Thanks - Laurie, Grand Rapids, MI
> ~ What the heart has once owned.....it shall never lose. ~
> ~ Henry Ward Beecher~
> Callers mailing list
> any suggestions for calling an outside wedding dance
The all-purpose KISS principle ("Keep It Simple, Stupid!") certainly applies
One other thought, given the circumstances-- inexperienced dancers and uneven
footing-- is to encourage two-hand turns for any swings in the dances you
choose. Dancers will have more controlover their own bodies if they're not
locked into someone else's embrace.
A tip for future dance choreographers: train yourself to dance both the
M & F roles so that you
Can get a feel for what each dance partner is required to do. I find
that it's both fun and a real
learning experience to dance the opposite genders role.
In United We Dance, by Bob Isaacs, I am curious how you tell people to
re-form the long wavy lines after the star in B2, to continue the dance. To
set up these lines from an improper formation before the dance starts it
seems sufficient to me just to tell the men to turn and face out and take
their neighbors right in their right. It is the transition from the star
left that ends the dance to that long wavy line that puzzles me some for
the women. It seems that the men can naturally end that star facing out,
but it seems that the women will end that star also facing out and will need
to take an extra turn to face in to set up that long wavy line for the
continuation of the dance. How do you tell folks to make this transition?
Other comments are, of course welcome, but it is this transition that, for
the women, I am wondering about. The full dance is below. Thanks,
Starting formation: Right hand long wave with neighbor. I take this to
mean two such waves, down the sides.
(A1) Balance and ROM slide Right / Balance and ROM slide Left
(A2) Balance and swing Neighbor
(B1) Circle left ¾ / Swing Partner
(B2) Ladies Chain / Star Left.
New title: Not Always Right (much better, thanks!)
I haven't had a chance to actually "dance" it yet, but I would (gently)
remind the gentlemen that we ladies have gotten accustomed to a certain amount of
institutionalized awkwardness (I suppose we could call it the Ginger Rogers
syndrome) so a little turnabout seems fair. In squares, for instance, to
allemande one's corner is easy for the men -- you use the natural (outside)
hand. For the ladies, however, the natural hand to use would be the right hand
-- that's OUR outside hand. We ladies must turn 45 degrees and reach across
with our INSIDE hand to allemande our corner smoothly and gracefully --
something which many callers I've danced to fail to point out for the beginners on
the floor. And of course in virtually all contra corners dances with a
"cast off" figure, the man's free hand, as he comes into the center, is his right
hand, so he's ready to begin the contra corners figure. But the lady
"castee's" right hand is around the waist of the lady "caster." I've seen many
women beginners try contra corners and "not get it" repeatedly because they
try, over and over, to start with their natural hand -- the left (free) hand.
(I was a source of considerable "prop wash" the first time I tried contra
corners. A helpful neighboring woman dancer kept repeating "RIGHT hand" in my
direction until I finally got it "right"). Having spluttered on defensively
however at far too much length, I agree that the dance should flow smoothly.
B1: Half a hey on the LEFT diagonal, ladies chain across to the new
neighbor (16 counts).
B2 Balance the ring, Petronella LEFT (8) one place. Balance the ring,
Petronella LEFT one place, turn around and form a new left hand star with the next
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I have been hired to lead some dancing for a recreation of the Mormon Trek
that took place from 1840 to 1860. Apparently they believed in dancing and
danced during the trek itself. It would be fun to include any historically
accurate (or roughly historically accurate) material that I can. There will
be close to 100 dancers mostly teenagers I believe, most or all with no
prior experience with traditional dance. Any suggestions for easy dances -
circles, sets or maybe contras (although I know better than to expect them
to do contras unless we turn the contras into Sicilian circles) would be
very welcome. I might even take on a square or two. The dance will take
place outside, perhaps under a tent, but I believe without a wooden floor.
Your suggestions will be happily danced.