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
First, thank you to everyone who has responded to my initial message
and has taken the survey. I have already received a good number of
responses, and my advising professor and my colleagues are impressed
by the number of responses I have received--a testimony to the spirit
of the contra community.
I would like to re-post the link to the survey on contra
choreographies (see original message below), to allow anyone who
hasn't had a chance yet to take the survey. I will be closing the
survey soon, and want to make sure that I am collecting responses from
as many respondents as I possibly can.
Again, thank you for your indulgence in allowing me to re-post this,
and for your participation--I sincerely appreciate your time!
I am a Ph.D. student in music at Ohio State University, and I am
developing a research project to investigate some aspects of contra
dance choreography. To continue in this project I am asking for your
participation in a survey.
The survey should take about 20 minutes to complete. It does ask that
you recall names of dance choreographies that you have danced, and I
recognize that this may make it more difficult for some of us (myself
included) to fill out such a survey. However, I know that callers are
more likely to be able to recall names of dances, which is why I have
chosen to distribute the survey primarily to callers.
Here is the link to the survey:
Dear calling community,
Many of you received a "you've been unsubscribed" email this morning!
I'm terribly sorry about that. Yahoo/Comcast/Hotmail recently turned on
some very strong spam filtering which broke nearly every mailing list on
the internet. It finally affected us today.
I have quickly moved the site to an updated version of Mailman (the
software that runs this list) which has some options to deal with this.
Primarily, the "From" address is now the list address. The Reply-To
address should be the original sender. We'll see how this goes.
If you received that email, you can ignore it. I have re-subscribed
you. If you did not get a bounce noticed, then you have nothing to
worry about. Note that if you used to get digest messages, you are now
getting regular emails. I have not carried that setting over from the
old server yet.
Please hang in there with us as we figure this out and get it all
Seth & Chris
I think my "End effects" workshop at Chippenham Folk Festival went
well. People seemed to enjoy it; two people came up to me and said it
was very useful and one wanted a copy of the notes - which are at
I've updated this based on the feedback from the list, and at the end
you can see which dances I actually called. The one which caused the
most chaos was "Where's Alex?" by Michael Fuerst. The next day Geoff
Cubitt also called it; I don't think he had any more success than I
Called this last Tuesday, to a mixed crowd. Good dance, the dancers liked
it (once I started calling it correctly :-( ).
Might not even want to mention the short wavy line when teaching the
pass-the-ocean, as it's not a balance point -- might want to emphasize the
roundness and swing-through-i-ness of the allemandes. But that's a pet
peeve of mine, as I prefer a nice round weighty half-allemande rather than
a limp wish-you-weren't-here hand touch while brushing shoulders.
But now let me tell you how I really feel about that...
- Roger Hayes
On Fri, May 23, 2014 at 11:00 AM, <callers-request(a)sharedweight.net> wrote:
> Message: 3
> Date: Fri, 23 May 2014 10:04:53 -0400 (EDT)
> From: Donna Hunt <dhuntdancer(a)aol.com>
> To: callers(a)sharedweight.net
> Subject: Re: [Callers] choreography
> Message-ID: <8D144A71A7B9386-18E4-F546(a)webmail-va057.sysops.aol.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
> that is correct it's a pass the ocean + swing thru.
> You don't actually stop in the wave.
> Pass the ocean; Gents cross to opposite side and Ladies take left and turn
> 1/4 ,
> Swing through; all turn your neighbor by the right 1/2 and then the gents
> pull by the left. (Ladies stay where they are on the side of the set and
> then their partners pull by left to meet them)
> hope that's clearer.
Last night i wanted to do a square dance with a Grand Square for a
chorus. In planning for the evening, i thought it might be good to
introduce the idea in a contra. The following is the result:
"Petite Square Contra" DI Tom Senior May 2014
A1 B&S N
A2 Circle Left, star Left
B1 Long lines F&B, 1's swing, and end close.
B2 Petite Square (1's are below)
1-2 1's back up, 2's move forward (face down)
3-4 1's up the outside as 2's move down inside
5-6 1's in to center (face down), 2's back out
7-8 1's move down center to next N, 2's up outside to meet new 1's
The Petite Square move is borrowed from an English Country Dance by Gary
Roodman. i have not seen it in contra before, although it may not be
The dance went pretty well last night at the Chicago Barn Dance. The only
problem was that the dancers wanted to rush through each section, not
taking 4 steps. After a few times through, most dancers got the idea and
applied it to the grand square latter in the evening. I also kept the
first 3 parts of the dance pretty simple since i wanted to do it early in
Hope this might be useful.
Dance while you can.
see my website: http://marblechimes.com/
You are invited to take a survey to gather views about "social dance"
at Sidmouth Folk Festival - Contra, Playford, Traditional Squares,
Irish set dancing and similar. The information will be used to help
plan Sidmouth Social Dance 2015. Whether you've been a Sidmouth
regular for years or you've never been there, your views will be very
(Apologies if you receive this more than once.)
I've collected a few but I'm looking for dances suitable for a mixed crowd (with new dancers) but at a dance where there is no teaching, just walk-through.
So not beginner starter dances. But - not heys (delphiniums and daisies) but - any contributions are welcome! Or those with a r/l that can be converted to promenade with no deterioration of flow. Thanks in advance.
tica tica timing/ old time elixir #2,
after the solstice (switching r/l w promenade ),
dance all night,
Back to basics,
Back Road to Ayer,
All you can eat,
Delphiniums and Daisies,
Grand Rapids/ West MI
Last June, Jack Mitchell asked for suggestions on what should go into
a workshop on End effects. I've now collated the ideas, added some
opinions of my own, and produced a page of notes which I will be using
at Chippenham Folk Festival this coming weekend, so if you're
interested please have a look and send any comments either to the list
or direct to me.
I'm also sending this to the Trad-dance-callers list, so apologies if
you receive it twice.