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
> Date: Wed, 11 Dec 2013 18:01:13 -0800
> From: Alan Winston <winston(a)slac.stanford.edu>
> To: callers(a)sharedweight.net
> Subject: Re: [Callers] Fw: Creating a CDSS dance depository
> Message-ID: <52A918E9.6090708(a)slac.stanford.edu>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
> On 12/11/2013 5:35 PM, Chris Lahey wrote:
>> You're absolutely right that something like that could go up fairly
>> quickly. I'm just afraid that it would take away from the possibility
>> of something much more useful, though harder to obtain. I don't think
>> it's forking the discussion to discuss whether this is a good idea.
> Fair enough.
> I've witnessed a number of volunteer web things things that never got
> off the ground at all because the requirements snowballed to the point
> where it would be really hard to get started. I've now come around to
> the position that sometimes, given limited time and resources, and when
> one isn't working on life-critical projects, it's worth figuring out
> what the minimum effort to do something useful would be, with the idea
> that once something is useful it will be easier to find more resources,
> and if you get bogged down you've at least got something useful.
> So that's my bias in this discussion.
> -- Alan
Good point Alan.
It would be worth asking CDSS whether they are interested in officially supporting this effort in some way, perhaps even with resources - an intern??
Also it is worth thinking about the purpose of this database. I see two different distinctly different important ones:
- one is to provide a comprehensive historical archive of dances.
- the other is to provide good information to new callers to help them become better callers. I believe that Contra Dancing is going to get to be more popular and as a result there is going to be the need for more callers. A good database with demos, notations, etc. would help.
Compatibility with Caller's Companion would be valuable for this purpose.
Confused here. There's a dance that I thought was called Canadian Barn
Dance, often done around this time of year. I was told last night that it
was actually called the Caledonian Barn Dance. Google isn't definitive yet,
so any ideas?
>From John Tuck
That is, in a pinched space. I don't know how else to phrase it. Is it possible to wait out an extra turn or two at the bottom so that the number of couples actually dancing is smaller than the number of couples in the contra line? (I couldn't look up the question in the archives because explaining it is wordy.) Has anyone tried it?
Are there other methods for dealing with not enough room?
Background: I'm calling a house party contra with room for one contra line of 16-18 dancers but need 24 paying participants (to cover the band and me). Given that some people will be late, others chatting around the food, there won't be four extra couples dancing but maybe one or two or maybe none. There is a "waiting area" off to the side that doesn't take space away from the contra line.
thanks, this forum has been invaluable to this newbie caller
The Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend committee is happy to announce
that the 2014 weekend will happen on MLK weekend in January at the
University of New Hampshire. We are also happy to welcome Dudley
Laufman and Susan Kevra as our featured callers, along with music by
Calliuope and Maivish. The Friday night dance will include calling by
Lisa Sieverts and Trip to Nelson, along with Susan and Dudley at the
Details at the website: http://www.ralphpage.neffa.org/
Here is a link to my dances. They are more difficult to visualize than they are to dance or teach
I generally only call at dance weekends or weeks with open calling
Here are the ones from the above link I call most often
George's Neat Reel
Not Quite Fifty
Maybe You Should Write an Easy Dance
A Proper Potpourri
Hoots and Shouts
The Great Urbana Barn Dance
Mr. Johnson's Jig
One Shy of Twenty
The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Doubly Good Ideas
Promises and Pearls
Say Go to the Do-Si-Do
Rory O Star
Third Easy Dance
Where is Tim's Cup?
Dave Found the Missing Coffee Cup
E.J.M.J.F. in Cincinnati
And Thinking About Coffee Cups
Michael Fuerst 802 N Broadway Urbana IL 61801 217-239-5844
Links to photos of many of my drawings and paintings are at www.ArtComesFuerst.com
Exciting! I'm pretty new to the calling game, but here are some of the
advanced dances in my box that I'm extra excited to be able to pull out
when the time comes.
The Magpie and the Seal // David Zinkin // double improper
A1: Star right below (8)
Star right above with old Ns (8)
A2: DSD 1.25 to wave of four (ladies take left, Ns take right) (8)
Balance wave, (4) alle N by R 1/2, gents pull by L (4)
B1: Bal/swing partner (16)
B2: Ladies chain (8)
1/2 hey (ladies start by R) (8)
Dr. Bluhm's Delight / Rick Mohr // Becket
A1: Slide left, circle L 3 places (8)
Swing N (8)
A2: LLFB (8)
Hands across LHS 1/2, gents drop (4)
Ladies keep allemanding L 3/4 more and take right with N (wave of 4) (4)
B1: Balance wave (4) and alle R 5/8 with N; gents take left with next gent
(diagonal wave) (4)
Balance wave (4); gents alle L 3/4 to take rights with partner in new
diagonal wave (4)
B2: Balance wave; swing partner (16)
Life, the Universe, and Everything / Carol Ormand // DI
A1: Ones pull by R, cross set, go down outside one place (8)
A2: Ones turn contra corners and do NOT let go of second corner's left;
take partner's right hand to form diagonal wave (16)
B1: Balance wave (4); drop hands and walk forward to form new wave with 2s
in center (One partners will not be in this wave) (4)
Balance wave (4); allemand right about 3/4
B2: 1s balance and swing; end improper, facing partner
(This can be an alternating corners dance; the twos go up the hall when
active if you choose to call it this way)
>Date: Tue, 7 Jan 2014 11:04:04 -0500 (EST)
>From: Donna Hunt <dhuntdancer(a)aol.com>
>Subject: [Callers] complicated Contras
>I have a few "experienced" afternoon workshops coming up and I'm tired of
>my material. I'm wondering if any of you have favorite challenging contras
>that you'd like to share? I'm looking for any dances that are intermediate
>or advanced in nature and dances that you wouldn't do on a regular night.
I know that felling :-) Maia, Seth and Zoe mentioned some of the dances I
would have suggested. A few more of my current faves are:
Dulcimer Lady - Jim Kitch
Fiddle Tales - Cary Ravitz
Flapjack Express - Joseph Pimentel
George is Reddy Willing and Able - Dean Snipes
Indigo Silk - Lynn Ackerson
Our House - Dean Snipes
Whirl of Fortune - Cary Ravitz
Hope that helps,
I also have a Shure Beta 58A wireless handheld. When I was first looking, the audio expert at the music store suggested Sennheiser. I tried them both out with their speakers, and we found it fascinating to realize that while the Sennheiser worked beautifully with his male voice, the Shure sounded far better with my middle-range female voice. Enlisting other volunteers, we also found this to be true with numerous men and women.
Because of this experience, I strongly suggest that you try the microphone in person yourself rather than just going by reviews.
Several folks asked what kind of SHURE mic I have. It is a PGX1 and comes
in either a headset or a stick mic. The transmitter is separate from the
headset, but I don't have any problems with it. It isn't very heavy and so
doesn't weigh down the waistband of my skirt. I also keep a tiny pouch
with a shoulder strap in the case so if I am wearing a dress and don't have
a waistband, I just slip it into the pouch.
"We are as gods and might as well get good at it!"
- Stewart Brand