[apologies for duplicate posting]
Coming up in ten days is the 200th anniversary of Hull's Victory-- August 19,
1812. Callers who have a dance on that weekend might want to mark the occasion
by calling the dance if it's appropriate for your crowd and if the musicians can
play the name tune.
There's a great story that goes along with the details of the battle between the
USS Constitution and the British warship, HMS Guerriere. You can find it told
in "Cracking Chestnuts," available through CDSS. If your dancers are up for it,
you can spin the yarn, or tell it to those interested during the break.
And in A1, I like to encourage dancers to balance forward and back, rather than
the usual right and left; it's a physical remnant of the cannons firing and recoiling.
In response to Kalia and systems for ECD, I have been organizing the ECD
program in Arkansas for the past two years and have a number if defining
criteria for each program and I don't know if a computer system would help.
Please let me know. I still use a spreadsheet for listing which dances were
used in each program, a program lists of dance instructions and music, and
cards for all the dances used to-date. First, our band insists that we only
have 2 new tunes to learn for each monthly dance so I have to track what we
have used in each program and not introduce more than two. Next, I need to
have 8 main dances and two extras for each program. They need to include
easier ones at the beginning and gradually work up to the experienced
dances. I like to have variety in the formation so they are not all
Longways, Duple Minor. Or start with Set and turn single. I try to include
at least one USA dance and I end with a waltz. AND, I try to vary the music
with peppy tunes, minor keys, modern music, and classic music. For each
program I specify the tune, the dance instructions and a video link to a
performance if I can find one. I have 3 additional people who call with me
and we divide up the program so I think it helps if they can see "their"
dances performed and especially if it is taught in the video as well.
Meeting these criteria in each program is a tall order and I could use any
help or suggestions you have. It takes me about 4-6 hours per program to
set one up and then log everything in my personal system of spread, program
list, and cards. Thanks, Carolyn
> Callers mailing list
Callers mailing list
End of Callers Digest, Vol 97, Issue 7
There's another great Square Dance Weekend coming up. If you can't make it yourself.
please spread the word!
The John C Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC presents:
Traditional Square Dance Weekend - October 26-28, 2012
Featuring internationally known callers Kathy Anderson, Bob Dalsemer, and Tony
With amazing music by Sam Bartlett, Claudio Buchwald, Steve Hickman, John Devine
Friday night square dance
Modern New England Squares - Tony
Kentucky Running Set - Bob
Sets In Order: Squares of the 1960's - Kathy
The Singing Squares of Otto Wood - Bob
Lancers and Quadrilles - Tony
New Squares with an Old Feeling. - Kathy
Plus: Great Callers of the Past - presentation by Tony
Stuntology with Sam Bartlett
Saturday evening dance (including some contras) -
Sunday morning Farewell Dance
The Folk School offers good food, comfortable accommodations, and a beautiful
For more information :
Music and Dance Coordinator
John C. Campbell Folk School
One Folk School Road
Brasstown, NC 28902
Phone: 1-800-FOLK-SCH (365-5724) or 828-837-2775
Visit our home page at http://www.folkschool.org
John W Gintell said "Also emphasize that swinging is horizontal not
vertical. I've often noticed beginners bouncing up and down which makes
it harder and more tiring - this isn't Irish Set dancing."
Hmmm... Sorry, but I have never seen any bouncy Irish Set dancing. Have
a look at the swing 0:39 seconds in
- looks pretty smooth to me!
Yes, there is slight vertical movement when they are stepping, but,
since they bend their knees and do it skilfully the movement is tiny.
A much better example for bouncy swinging is English ceilidh dancing.
Especially when the music is a slow hornpipe and you are supposed to
bounce up and down :-)
And of course I agree entirely that a good contra buzz-step swing should
be smooth - I always tell people to relax and bend their knees slightly
to help reduce the bounce.
John Sweeney, Dancer, England john(a)modernjive.com 01233 625 362 &
07802 940 574
http://www.contrafusion.co.uk for Dancing in Kent
My name is Maia, and I'm new to this listserv, though I've been lurking
around for a few weeks. I call college dances at my school in Western Mass,
and every now and then I do an area dance. I've got two questions for your
The first: I'm curious how you all put together programs when calling for a
group of complete beginners. What's generally the progression of moves that
you teach? Do you think dances with the most basic of moves (say, a dance
that's all circles, stars, and long lines, not even a partner swing) are
helpful in getting people oriented to dancing, or are trivial and boring
and will make people think contra is dumb? (People "thinking contra is
dumb" is actually a bit more of a concern for me calling college dances,
where most of the folks to turn out aren't necessarily of the 'contra
mindset' and so it's important to hold their interest and make them think
that what they're doing is exciting and worth their time--they're not
necessarily going to stick with it for the evening, or even for more than
one dance, if they're not immediately into it.)
The second, which ties into the first: how do you teach good contra
etiquette--*especially* how to swing properly--when you don't have
experienced people in the crowd to show the way? At my dances at school,
most of the swings are tensionless and/or an awkward sideways gallop; very
few of us go to outside dances, so the overall experience level seems to be
capped. Have you found an effective way to *teach* proper swinging, besides
throwing a beginner into a crowd of experienced dances so that they
eventually absorb it by osmosis? How can I get swings at my college dance
up to snuff?
I've used my iPad for English gigs, and I'm about to get Ralph Canapa's Dancing
Master program after seeing Gene Murrow with it at Pinewoods. Gene said something
to the effect that it's the greatest invention since "set and turn single."
I'm not planning to go that route for contras and squares, simply because I have
so many already on 3x5 cards going back over three decades, whereas my ECD material
is more recent and is largely stored on my computer as PDFs or word processor
In the past on my iPad, I've had to create new file for each gig and convert that
to a PDF, which is not at all efficient. Ralph's program looks to do exactly what
I want. (I like that it includes a database-- it'll be easy to reformat my own
and import that-- that among other things will let me generate a list of tunes
not in Barnes and will create a set of files that can be e-mailed to musicians.
My Callers Companion program was primarily designed for contras and is in use by over 50 callers at this point. I've added some enhancements specifically for ECD and Linda Leslie (and perhaps a couple of other people) have been testing those changes and giving me additional feedback. You might want to talk with her and compare notes. Callers Companion runs on the iPad using FileMaker Go and I'm hoping to shortly release a version that will run on the new free version of FileMaker Go (based on FileMaker Pro 12) rather than the original version (based on FileMaker Pro 11) that costs $40.
Downtown Amherst Contra Dance
> From: David.Millstone(a)valley.net
> To: callers(a)sharedweight.net
> Date: 09/05/2012 03:21 PM
> Subject: Re: [Callers] Computerized organization systems for dance notes
> I've used my iPad for English gigs, and I'm about to get Ralph Canapa's Dancing
> Master program after seeing Gene Murrow with it at Pinewoods. Gene said something
> to the effect that it's the greatest invention since "set and turn single."
> I'm not planning to go that route for contras and squares, simply because I have
> so many already on 3x5 cards going back over three decades, whereas my ECD material
> is more recent and is largely stored on my computer as PDFs or word processor
> In the past on my iPad, I've had to create new file for each gig and convert that
> to a PDF, which is not at all efficient. Ralph's program looks to do exactly what
> I want. (I like that it includes a database-- it'll be easy to reformat my own
> and import that-- that among other things will let me generate a list of tunes
> not in Barnes and will create a set of files that can be e-mailed to musicians.
> David Millstone
> Callers mailing list
I'm primarily an English country dance caller, just now getting started
as a contra caller, and am finally admitting that I need a better way to
organize my notes than the box of index cards I've been working with all
these years. There seem to be several options out there.
One is Will Loving's Caller's Companion (http://callerscompanion.com/).
This one was apparently extensively beta tested by folks here on this
list, and from what I hear is a superb organizer for contra, but
apparently not as strong for ECD. One thing I've seen is that the
programming matrix has a maximum of 32 elements. My ECD matrix so far
has about 55 elements (granted, some of those are different flavors of
heys, but they need to be distinguished from each other), and that
doesn't include the contra vocabulary. Will, can that matrix be
expanded? In the "Sets" function, is it possible after a dance to
include a paragraph or three of notes about the event ("Great evening,
but major problems with audibility. Bring own mic next time to be able
to get off stage for demos. Make sure band is extra clear about the
transition from B2 to A1 of Companions. Lots of very happy new dancers.")?
Another is Colin Hume's Dance Organiser
(http://www.colinhume.com/download.htm). This is written in something
called Delphi. I looked at it years ago when I was first getting
started with calling, but haven't researched it recently. Anyone have
experience with it?
Number 3 just came to my attention recently, and it's Ralph Canapa's
program, called The Dancing Master
for iPads. This one requires creating your own data entry protocol,
either scanning existing source material or entering it in a consistent
document style. It does link to iTunes files. I don't currently use an
iPad for calling, due to terror of it going "blip" in the middle of an
evening, but might consider it. I know a lot of callers LOVE their pads.
Of those of you out there _who call both styles_, can you offer any
advice on this subject? So far Will's system seems the most evolved
(based on my somewhat rusty memories of Colin's system). If you use
Caller's Companion _and_ you call English, what limitations have you
encountered, if any? If you use something else entirely, what is it?
> Message: 3
> Date: Tue, 4 Sep 2012 16:23:14 -0400
> From: Chrissy Fowler <ktaadn_me(a)hotmail.com>
> To: shared weight <callers(a)sharedweight.net>
> Subject: Re: [Callers] Calling for Absolute Beginners?
> Message-ID: <COL113-W49E48E42FAB0FD6CFEE4528DAA0(a)phx.gbl>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
> How nice to read others' thoughts!
> It is my goal at this event to make it so absolutely fun and accessible that the frosh just can't wait for the first 'regular' dance. This year seemed especially successful on that front. But more importantly, everyone had a great time Then And There. Huge smiles, hilarious dancing, wild cheering for the band, folks watching happily and enjoying the music, etc. (It's 'optional' for them to dance, and usually only a fraction of the 500 students choose to dance. Probably 20-35% were dancing at any one time.) If some of that group come to the monthly series and love it, terrific. If others never dance at all during their college years, at least they had a blast at the lobsterbake. Maybe in their 50s they'll end up at a local dance and have this little hardwired memory of a good time doing this thing back 35 yrs ago.
As an observer / participant I'd add a couple of things:
Less talking / More doing. A quick demo and then letting people try out things like swings works well. I've seen some callers doing an awful lot of talking and new dancers get lost and experienced ones space out.
Also emphasize that swinging is horizontal not vertical. I've often noticed beginners bouncing up and down which makes it harder and more tiring - this isn't Irish Set dancing.
When I swing with beginners, I encourage them to just walk, look at me to avoid getting dizzy, and not look at their feet.