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 am looking for an easy dance that uses groups of 3 dancers - either 3
facing 3, or 3 all facing the same direction. I especially would like one
where the dancers in each group of 3 have a chance to play with which one of
them is in the middle. No country corners please. I already have 3 Meet,
from the old Community Dancing Manuals. Any other suggestions? Dances that
do not require a specific tune but fit within a standard 32 bar contra tune
would be best.
In response to Rickey Holt's message:
> I am looking for an easy dance that uses groups of 3 dancers - either 3
> facing 3, or 3 all facing the same direction. I especially would like one
> where the dancers in each group of 3 have a chance to play with which one of
> them is in the middle. No country corners please. I already have 3 Meet,
> from the old Community Dancing Manuals. Any other suggestions? Dances that
> do not require a specific tune but fit within a standard 32 bar contra tune
> would be best.
> Rickey Holt
> Fremont, NH
I wrote this dance several years ago when the local dance conflicted with the Dance Flurry and I had to stay home to call. The 1st star can be wrist grip (snowflake star), or whatever is easy for folks. The 2nd star should NOT be wrist grip - I point out that whoever is on top of the pile will have something special to do in the next part of the dance (lead the 2 people on his/her right to another line of 3). Any bouncy, silly tune will work.
Find You at the Flurry
Type: Scatter Mixer
Formation: 3 facing 3 to start
opposite allem L
opposite allem R (or swing)
all six circle L
star L (6 hand “snowflake”)
star R (hands piled on top of each other)
person on top lead 3-some to new 3-some (other 3 stay)
lines of 3 forward & back (if time)
B2 can be led by bottom person, tallest, shortest, most hair, least hair, person showing most leg, most facial hair, most jewelry, etc.
One of my absolute favorites, even with international folk dance groups, is this
which I *think* I got from Ralph Page. He commented that the tune is claimed by
the English, the Scots - and that therefore it most probably is French <g>.
three facing three in big circle, best with original tune
A 1 1 - 8 all six circle left
A 2 1 - 4 middle person with person on right:
balance, allemande right
5 - 8 middle person with person on left:
balance, allemande left
B 1 1 - 4 teapots* right, once around
5 - 8 teapots left
B 2 1 - 4 groups of three forward and back
5 - 8 pass through, meeting new group of three
* teapots right: middle person + diagonal right person + own right person RH star
teapots left: middle person + diagonal left person + own left person LH star
This email address will expire shortly. Please update your address book to my new address:email@example.com
I just came across some old scribbled notes I wrote down for a dance, but don't recall if it's a musing or something I saw. In any
case, I didn't jot down any name or author. Does anyone recognize this?
(Improper, start facing across)
A1 1-4 Long lines fwd & back
5-8 Balance neighbor; roll away women (L-to-R)
A2 1-4 Women chain to partner
5-8 Women lead 1/2 hey right-shoulder (actually more like 3/8 into...)
B1 1-8 Partner balance and swing
B2 1-4 Men allemande left 1-1/2
5-8 Neighbor swing
Thanx in advance,
(I was thinking about driving minor-key jigs in English dancing, where there
are only a few that really have a sense of headlong motion, and I ended up
drafting a contra dance to to show what I was talking about. Then I thought
about calling the dance and had to rejigger it a bunch to provide things like a
recovery point, etc. Now it has less obvious novelty than it did, is probably
danceable - but I don't know that it's unique. Anybody recognize the
Alan recommends driving minor-key jigs
- "Sailor's Wife", "Jack's Health/Bolt the Door", "Female Saylor", etc -
or slinky reels.
Form:BK Figs: YearnL,CL.75,NG,NS,WH4+,PG&S
A1:1-4: LL forward (and usually to the left to a new couple), and back
5-8: CL 3/4 to face neighbors up and down
A2: 1-4: Neighbors gypsy Rsh
5-8: Neighbors swing
B1: 1-8: Hey for four over and back (women pass rsh)
B2: 1-4: Women pass wide right into partner gypsy
4-8: Partner swing on the side, open facing in.
END EFFECTS: Inactive couple wait on the long 2nd diagonal (left side as
you face up or down the set).
Alan Winston --- WINSTON(a)SSRL.SLAC.STANFORD.EDU
Disclaimer: I speak only for myself, not SLAC or SSRL Phone: 650/926-3056
Paper mail to: SSRL -- SLAC BIN 99, 2575 Sand Hill Rd, Menlo Park CA 94025
This dance is "The Elegant Trogan" by Kathy Anderson
> (Improper, start facing across)
> A1 1-4 Long lines fwd & back
> 5-8 Balance neighbor; roll away women (L-to-R)
> A2 1-4 Women chain to partner
> 5-8 Women lead 1/2 hey right-shoulder (actually more like 3/8
> B1 1-8 Partner balance and swing
> B2 1-4 Men allemande left 1-1/2
> 5-8 Neighbor swing
> *Deb Comly
> Flagstaff, AZ
I don't recognize this specifically, but it's similar to a dance a group of us put together during a session at BACDS Spring Weekend
a couple years back. Musically, the idea was to have something that could start easy with jig tempo and then switch to a reel once
the dancers were comfortable with it. Dance wise we wanted a mostly smooth flow.
Cary House Shuffle (CW Becket), written Mar, 2010 (a collective effort at BACDS Spring Weekend)
A1 1-4 Long lines fwd & back
5-8 With new Nbrs (diagonally left across the set), circle L 3/4
A2 1-4 (Same) Nbr DSD (or gypsy)
5-8 Nbr swing
B1 1-8 Hey-for-4, gents start L-shoulder (GL,PR,WL,NR)
B2 1-4 Gents give-and-take (bring Ptr to original side)
5-8 Partners swing (end facing across)
I notice some differences from Solar Noon. We used the A1 1-4 long lines as an easy recovery after the ending swing, and then
"hid" the progression in the A1 5-8 circle (a move we borrowed from a lot of other becket dances <G>). The B section has the men
actively lead the L-shoulder hey since it was already the direction they were traveling in coming out of the A2 5-8 swing. We ended
up with a split decision on A2 because most the group REALLY liked the DSD for jig time, but also REALLY liked the gypsy-meltdown in
reel time. :-)
Thanx, Ric Goldman
P.S. If you like, I can try for more feedback at the next February Woodshed dance (For those not familiar with the BACDS Woodshed
series, we try out new dances or calling techniques and get feedback from the dancers about what they like; callers chip in to cover
cost of the hall and dancers get in Free!).
> -----Original Message-----
> From: callers-bounces(a)sharedweight.net [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of Alan Winston - SSRL Central
> Sent: Friday, January 27, 2012 7:25 PM
> To: callers(a)sharedweight.net
> Subject: [Callers] Is this a dance already?
> (I was thinking about driving minor-key jigs in English dancing, where there are only a few that really have a sense of headlong
> and I ended up drafting a contra dance to to show what I was talking about. Then I thought about calling the dance and had to
> it a bunch to provide things like a recovery point, etc. Now it has less obvious novelty than it did, is probably danceable - but
> know that it's unique. Anybody recognize the sequence?)
> SOLAR NOON
> Becket contra
> Alan recommends driving minor-key jigs
> - "Sailor's Wife", "Jack's Health/Bolt the Door", "Female Saylor", etc - or slinky reels.
> Form:BK Figs: YearnL,CL.75,NG,NS,WH4+,PG&S
> A1:1-4: LL forward (and usually to the left to a new couple), and back
> 5-8: CL 3/4 to face neighbors up and down
> A2: 1-4: Neighbors gypsy Rsh
> 5-8: Neighbors swing
> B1: 1-8: Hey for four over and back (women pass rsh)
> B2: 1-4: Women pass wide right into partner gypsy
> 4-8: Partner swing on the side, open facing in.
> END EFFECTS: Inactive couple wait on the long 2nd diagonal (left side as you face up or down the set).
> -- Alan
*Short story: I wanna play fiddle with Laurie, not call. Want my gig? You
can use it to break in new material...*
The East Putney dance has been happening last-Saturday-of-the month for *
decades*, and by gum this Saturday will be no exception.
It's a great local dance - a real core following of warm, idiosyncratic
local people who will gladly dance any dance in any formation.
Plus there's the always popular outhouse.
This month I'm on the docket to cover calling; it's also an "All-Comers"
open band night, with Laurie Indenbaum on fiddle and Carol Compton on piano.
Usually that brings out a slew of local sit-in musicians, and all their
Here's the deal this month:
down in Greenfield they're having a big Extravadance so that's where the
hardcore supertwirlers are going to go.
in Brattleboro, it's the big Northern Roots festival weekend, so all of the
usual All-Comers will be at the culminating concert.
So it's my turn to be loyal and keep the home fires burning, and I'm happy
to do it.
It's going to be small but convivial and we'll probablyl have a short but
good time -- probably go straight through without a long break until
ten-ish and then head home.
Here's the rub, though - I loooove playing twin fiddle harmonies with
If I'm going to make lousy money having a good time, I'd rather have an
even better time and make REALLY lousy money.
So if you want to call the whole night while I play, great!
Want to pull out a bunch of French Canadian five-couple dances and use us
as guinea pigs? Sound's terrific!
Practice your Ted's triplets, or chestnuts like Moneymusk, or sing a
square? We like 'em all.
Want to call half the night, and do only squares, and dance with your
sweetie inbetween while I call the circles and contras? Sure!
email me back or call my cell phone 802-222-7598
*PRE-DANCE "potluck" at my house beforehand, let's pool our resources and
check out the TAKE-OUT CHINESE from the newly-revived General Store!*
Jim posted his dance here about a month ago, it was a subject of some
discussion for a while. The ending is as Richard Fischer had said.
Here is Jim's post:
Date: Wed, 28 Dec 2011 07:31:08 -0600
From: Jim Hemphill<arcadian35(a)gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Callers] Groundhog Day
I'm fairly new to Calling and fascinated with Contra dance choreography.
Below is my attempt at a Groundhog day dance. The groundhog starts his
day by looking for his shadow and so does this dance.
Groundhog Daze Becket
A1 Gypsy your shadow
A2 Circle left 3 places
Balance the circle, 1's make an arch, 2's dive thru
B1 Next neighbor balance and swing
B2 Long lines forward and back
Ladies allemande right 1/2, partner allemande left 3/4
I know there are thousands of dances out there so if this is not an
original, please let me know the true name.
Thanks, Jim Hemphill
> From: Dave Colestock<contradancerdave(a)yahoo.com>
> Subject: Re: [Callers] Shadow Dances?
> Looks like the B2 is incomplete.? Do you have the last move of the dance, Bob?? It doesn't work as written, nor with a repeat of the long lines f&b.? Thanks,
> Dave Colestock
> Harrisburg, PA
> --- On Wed, 1/25/12, Bob Green<bobgreen(a)swbell.net> wrote:
> From: Bob Green<bobgreen(a)swbell.net>
> Subject: Re: [Callers] Shadow Dances?
> To: "Caller's discussion list"<callers(a)sharedweight.net>
> Date: Wednesday, January 25, 2012, 12:39 PM
> Here's one that would be totally appropriate for the occasion
> *Groundhog Daze*???by jim Hemphill???Becket
> A1 Shadow Gypsy once around
> ? ???Partner Swing
> A2 Circle left 3 places
> ? ???Balance the circle, 1's arch, 2's dive thru
> B1 Next neighbor balance and swing
> B2 Long lines forward and back