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've agreed to call a wedding reception dance this summer, outside on more-or-less flattish ground. Having practically memorized all the wonderful advise on the list about weddings and grass I'm comfortable with that. But if the weather doesn't cooperate, the gig moves inside the Inn/Dining/Bar. Very crowded, AND, I just found out, carpeted. Crowded I think I can handle (though recommendations would be welcome), but carpeting -- eeackk. OK, so it's not turning dances and maybe it's not much different from lumpy grass -- lots of walking and no sashaying -- but if you've done it could you share what worked best?
Sue R. - U.P. of Michigan
Do any of you know of regularly scheduled Contra Dance groups that have guidelines regarding dancers use of dips or lifts during a contra dance? Or guidelines regarding dancing safely?
The Board of the Thursday Night Contra Dance in Glenside, Pa is wondering what kind of policies are out there and if we need to consider writing one. Thanks for letting me know.
Found this in Dizzy Dances Vol. II.....all comments are Gene's ... There are more notes, but I think this will be enough. Enjoy NEFFA ... always a good party.
Keith Cornett Eustis
A1 Down the center, 4 in line, actives in center
Don't turn around, just back up a few steps and actives arch while inactives go under to meet a new couple
A2 Do-si-do the one you meet, then pass by and swing the next
B1 pass thru across the set (right shoulders with partner), turn alone (8)
Right and left thru across the set with the convenient one (8)
B2 Lines go forward and back (8)
Actives swing in the middle
"The progressions are pretty much automatic. The pass thru followed by a right and left thru in B1 is a progression not seen much in traditional style contrast. The convenient one is, for the lady, the gent on your left, and for the gent it is the lady on your right."
Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE DROID
Bill Olson <callbill(a)hotmail.com> wrote:
>A bunch of years ago I loaned out a bunch of my contradance books to an aspiring caller, she gave them to someone else, then they started making the rounds.. When I got them back MANY years later, they weren't all there and specifically both my Dizzy Dances booklets by Gene Hubert. Should've figured... hee hee..
>Anyway, I'm doing a set of dances at NEFFA next weekend with varying numbers of progressions.. And I'd sort of like to look at Contra Madness, a quadruple progression dance by "the master"!
>Not looking for any other suggestions, just that one dance.. thanks!!
>Callers mailing list
Here you go...
On Sat, Apr 19, 2014 at 1:31 PM, Bob Green <bobgreen.swbell.net(a)gmail.com>wrote:
> Sent off line, scanned from the original.
> On Sat, Apr 19, 2014 at 1:08 PM, Bill Olson <callbill(a)hotmail.com> wrote:
>> A bunch of years ago I loaned out a bunch of my contradance books to an
>> aspiring caller, she gave them to someone else, then they started making
>> the rounds.. When I got them back MANY years later, they weren't all there
>> and specifically both my Dizzy Dances booklets by Gene Hubert. Should've
>> figured... hee hee..
>> Anyway, I'm doing a set of dances at NEFFA next weekend with varying
>> numbers of progressions.. And I'd sort of like to look at Contra Madness, a
>> quadruple progression dance by "the master"!
>> Not looking for any other suggestions, just that one dance.. thanks!!
>> Callers mailing list
I recently thought of a dance that I presume has been written already, as
it is all glossary moves. Can anyone identify it?
A1: Long Lines Forward, Roll Away* on way back, Ladies Chain
(* Men roll from right to left, Women half-sashey from left to right)
A2: Ladies start Hey for Four
B1: Partner Balance & Swing
B2: Circle Left 3/4, Neighbor Swing
In long lines, identify new neighbor with a gentle squeeze.
"We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least
-- Friedrich Nietzsche
We have had a continuous promotion here in San Diego where we give all first time dancers a free pass for the NEXT time they come. This has worked pretty well for us, and we do get people bringing those passes back for the second time free - and sometimes they use them to bring a free guest. It's an incentive for them to come back - and I think that if someone dances twice they may have a chance the second time when it is isn't as overwhelming to relax and to really really enjoy it. Overall we have kept this promotion going for about 2 years? now and feel it is successful enough to continue.
On Apr 8, 2014, at 9:00 AM, callers-request(a)sharedweight.net wrote:
> 2. "First Time Dancers Get in Free" Promotion (William Loving)
> Message: 1
> Date: Mon, 7 Apr 2014 12:18:30 -0400
> From: William Loving <contact(a)dedicationtechnologies.com>
> To: Caller's discussion list <callers(a)sharedweight.net>
> Subject: Re: [Callers] Creating a CDSS dance depository
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
> "First Time Dancers get in Free" Promotion Results:
> For five weeks this winter we ran a special promotion at the Downtown Amherst dance that all First Time Contra dancers get in free. The results were impressive:
> Jan 29 -12
> Feb 26 - 10
> Mar 5 - 20
> Mar 19 - 8
> Mar 29 - 9
> Total new dancers: 59 Avg: 11.8 Median: 10
> Overall attendance was normal meaning the variations in "Free" numbers was not affected by the band as far as I could tell.
> Many of the new dancers said they would be back and in fact I saw quite a few of them both at subsequent dances in Amherst and at Greenfield. Some came early in the promotion and then brought friends the following week. Our organizing committee has discussed various options to draw new dancers, primarily "First Time Free" and "Second Time Free". The "Second Time Free" option gives you more feedback about how many returnees you are actually getting; the "First Time Free" simply lowers the bar to the ground and is harder to resist (friend to friend). (We also included the option for anyone who might have tried contra once or twice a long time ago to be considered "First Time" but I don't know that anyone came in saying that.)
> Our series averages 75-85 total each week with a range of 60-160 depending on the band. The median is definitely under 100 but has gradually increased over the last almost four years.
> I think the promotion was a tremendous success and we're having an ongoing discussion about whether to try "Second Time Free" for a while or just implement "First Time Free" periodically. For programming reasons, I don't think it makes sense to have it for every dance, especially dances that will be extremely full, such as if Elixir or PeM play or if it's a techno contra (which has other issues for beginning dancers). However, we might pick a month or a block of dates and do it again periodically.
> Will Loving
> Founder & Programming Director
> Downtown Amherst Contra Dance
> End of Callers Digest, Vol 116, Issue 5