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
Linda Leslie's suggestion of gyre as a replacement for gypsy bubbled around
in my brain and a new (I think) dance percolated up. It has a twist that
isn't the gyre (which I consider just new nomenclature); women casting out
of the swing to travel from one minor set to another (similar to gent's
movement in Scoot by Tom Hinds).
I haven't gotten to test it with dancers yet, as I just finished running it
through with pegs on my desk; but I wanted to share it in support of a new
A Gyre for Linda
by Luke Donforth
(4) Pass through to an ocean wave (ladies left, catch right with partner)
(4) Balance the short Wavy line
(2) Walk forward
(3) Shadow gyre right 1/2
(3) Gents gyre left 1/2 in the middle
(16) Neighbor gyre right and swing
(8) Men allemande Left 1-1/2 WHILE women cast cw around whole set one
(8) 1/2 Hey, passing partner by right shoulder
(16) Partner gyre right and swing at home
As for the other aspects that have been discussed:
I pronounce it with a softer g sound. For reasons unclear to me, gyre has
different accepted pronunciations; but (to my knowledge) gyration doesn't.
As for using the term (which I clearly support); it costs me nearly nothing
to switch and helps make the dance more accessible for some; both in
dropping a term some find offensive and making the name more descriptive of
the move. My job as a caller is to help share the joy of dancing, and if
this does that I'm in favor of it.
I've been asked to run a barn dance Saturday Jan 16, 9pm-11pm, but I'm
busy. The dance will be part of the Western Regional Outdoor Leadership
If you don't know where Stanford is, you're probably coming from too far
away to make sense. ;-)
There will be 100+ college students. The theme for this year's
conference is "diversity", and they would prefer a caller who can fit the
theme in addition to having experience with one-night-stand environments.
I've offered to be a filter so that they don't need to deal with the
responses, so please respond privately to me if you're interested and
available. I've already explained that booking will be somewhat
difficult both because of the relatively short notice and because it's
Ralph Page weekend.
I probably will also be sending out an e-mail blast to people I have
addresses for, apologies if you get this twice. They have already
contacted other callers so you may actually get three copies...
Square/Contra Caller http://caller.aahz.ws/
<*> <*> <*>
"Those who hear not the music think the dancers mad."
absolutely excellent article; thanks Michael. I was, in a past life, a "Woodrow Wilson fellow" at Princeton and never knew this but I surely agree with the articles conclusion (and its relevance to the gypsy discussion)
Dont erase Woodrow Wilson. Expose him.
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Michael Fuerst 802 N Broadway Urbana IL 61801 217 239 5844
There are occasional requests on this forum for a dance to be identified, which got me thinking.
As with, I’m sure, many callers, I have a number of dances that I’ve come across, often at dances, where I know neither the name nor the author. I like to honour the choreographer by mentioning their name and the name of the dance when I call it, but I can’t do this if I don’t know it.
It is usually relatively easy to find the author if you know the title, using Michael Dyck's excellent Contradance Index, but without a title it becomes a much bigger task. An “obvious” solution would be a magical web page that lets you put in the dance and to reward you with the name and author. Apart from the massive logistical challenge of creating and maintaining such a database, this seems morally dubious as some authors prefer not to publish their work.
So what can we do? We could all ask on [Callers] but we’d soon get fed up with the forum being taken over. I wondered about a “please identify this dance” (sub-)forum, similar to the many ”ask the expert” forums (fora?) you see in the IT community.
Do members have any thoughts about this? Will it work? How do we get people on it? What are the issues? Is there a batter / alternative approach?
Over to the Hive Mind.
I learned this dance from George Marshall at the Charlottesville, VA, Fall
Festival, 2014. Can someone tell me the name of the dance and its author?
A1 Half-pousette around Neighbors, women push
A2 Men allemande L 1 1/2
Meet P and pass R for half a hey
B1 Gypsy and swing P
B2 Women chain
Circle RIGHT into half-pousette
At the last minute Bob Isaacs had to cancel calling for our double
contradance on November 21.just a few days away. This is a double dance
with the amazing Jay Unger and Molly Mason. The afternoon dance is from 3-5
for experienced dancers followed by a potluck and an evening dance from
7-10:30. We can provide lodging if needed. Please contact me ASAP:
For Hudson Valley Community Dances
Passing this on from the organizer. I hate to cancel any gig, especially so close to the date, but a business trip got extended into the weekend. Any help is greatly appreciated - Bob At the last minute Bob Isaacs had to cancel calling for our double contra dance on November 21…just a few days away. This is a double dance with the amazing Jay Unger and Molly Mason. The afternoon dance is from 3-5 for experienced dancers followed by a potluck and an evening dance from 7-10:30. We can provide lodging if needed. Please contact me ASAP: egidseg(a)optimum.net Eric GidsegFor Hudson Valley Community Danceshttp://hudsonvalleydance.org/