I am wondering if you have any dances for low numbers of dancers (perhaps 6
or less), when most or all of the dancers are beginners and adults. I am
also wondering if you have any dances (presumably different dances), that do
not require choosing a partner and are good openers for beginner adults.
Thanks as always to all,
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 just called a tiny dance last night, and went through several of my
triplets along with a big pile of English 3-couple dances that we did to
old-time tunes (that was a little weird for me but the dancers enjoyed
them, so what the heck). I was grateful to have the few triplets I had,
and I'd like to expand my collection. The ones I used were
Microchasmic, David's Triplet #7 and Ted's Triplet #24, which all have
distinctive bits in them (contra corners, round two/drop through, and a
cast to invert then 1s lead up, respectively). I like triplets that
have some choreographic substance to them, something for the dancers to
Do you have favorites you enjoy dancing as well as calling? I get the
impression sometimes that triplets are "that thing you do to fill time
until the real dancing starts," but 3-couple sets can be a whole lot of
fun. And sometimes they can save your butt as a caller.
We had lots of odd numbers last night, so in addition to the triplets
and 3-couple English dances I used dances like Domino 5 (5 dancers) and
Pride of Dingle (for 9). For a short while we had 4 couples and did
contras but most of the evening was "other." Got any good dances for
First, a disclaimer: Some people on this listserv thing shadow swings are
problematic. Some don't see any issue with them. This is NOT the
conversation I want to have in this thread; *I ask that you respond to the
question I'm asking and do not debate my premise--at least not in this
particular thread. *This should help keep this thread on track and
hopefully reduce excess noise and go-nowhere discussions on this listserv.
Anyway, the actual question I wanted to ask (whew!)--
There do exist some really fabulous shadow-swing dances that I would love
to be able to call, as long as I could do so without putting anyone in an
uncomfortable position. Do folks have ideas for ways to mitigate the
potential harms of shadow swing dances? I was considering, at the beginning
of the dance, having dancers identify their shadow and mentioning, "this
will be a shadow swing dance, so if you need to make any changes, do so
now" (or something like that)--haven't gotten the wording down-pat, but the
idea is giving dancers advance warning of a shadow swing so they can move
(thereby changing their shadow) if they need to. Any thoughts on this
method? Suggestions of others?
Back in 2008 I wrote a dance to celebrate my first year of contra dancing
and Chris Weiler was kind enough to go through it with me. In doing so I
heard my first mention of the Who-What-How Much format for dance
I'm working on a personal project where I'd like to be sure I've identified
all the "Who" roles in that model. For my purposes, I'm doing this in the
context of contras, traditional squares, triplets, family dances, etc. (but
not necessarily English, Ceilidh, Scottish, etc. - though I'm not closed to
gathering any that may exist uniquely therein).
I've listed below what I've collected so far from my personal cards deck
review & research through several published works.
Are there any Whos I've missed?
Please note: I've deliberately left the primary role designation for last
as I wish to avoid rehashing that topic once more. Let's please just accept
there's a designation for the primary roles and agree they'll be determined
by circumstance and conscience, as fits a given dance community.
ROLE DESIGNATORS - "WHO"
Top/Middle/Bottom; Ones/Twos, etc.; Heads/Sides; First/Second, etc. (var.
of Couple or Primary Role)
Travel Buddy (4F4)
Active/Inactive (is this distinctly required, or is it always an alternate
name for another role var., e.g.: 1s?)
Neutrals/Ends (var. of Couple or Primary Role)
Ring of N (4,8, etc.)
And of course...
Primary Role (Lark/Raven, Righty/Lefty, Lady/Gent, Talls/Smalls, etc.), in
plural or specific variation (e.g.: Talls, Raven 2, End Lady)
Other identifying terms:
Active/inactive couple or person, for certain dances when it is descriptive, or impractical to use numbers. (Often 3 or 5 couple sets, 2+1 mixers, Virginia reel variants, squares, or Scottish dances)
Right hand / left hand (lady/gent) for squares
1st corner/2nd corner or right hand/left hand for contra corners (these are not necessarily neighbors, nor shadow/partner at set ends, nor are they precisely previous/current/next neighbors in a double progression)
Inside/outside for mixers or couple dances
Those who can, those who want, those who did/didn't
Leader (for lines)
Leads/Follows (squares, mostly)
Was top/bottom on the list?
Lone person/9 pin (mixers, odd number of dancer sets)
A/B for royal (double) squares
That's what springs to mind.
Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device
Several years ago I enjoyed dancing a square that I believed was written by
Roger Whynot, but I cannot remember the square. I think it began with
couple one Fwd and Back, then Couple one goes fwd into a three point star
with the nearest side couple. As they turn the star, they unwind into two
facing lines of three. After that I am lost.
Does anyone recall such a square or a similar square? I would appreciate
I am in England. 90% of my bookings are for "Barn Dances" or "Ceilidhs".
The ones I run go under the name "Dancing for Fun" with a description of:
" Come and learn a wide range of wonderful dances, from 17th Century Jane
Austen style to 21st Century Ceilidh, including Square Dances, American
Contras, English Barn Dance, Contra Waltzing and the Polka!"
And yes, I really do call of those at ONSs ( not ONS's. :-)
John Sweeney, Dancer, England john(a)modernjive.com 01233 625 362
http://www.contrafusion.co.uk for Dancing in Kent
I know this has been discussed before, but I am gathering a list of descriptive titles for
one-night-stand dances. Especially looking titles that work in describing in a way that would be acceptable and understandable to the people organizing these events. (i.e. Do they really want their event to be called a one night stand? )
Here's a start:
Special Event dances
Anyone have any more?
P.O. Box 363
Viroqua, WI 54665
I was hoping this dance, or something very similar, might be identified:
A1: Gents Alle L 1.5 (8)
1/2 Hey (8) (NR, LL, PR, GL)
A2: N Gypsy R 1/2 (2)* (to face next N)
Next N Gypsy + Sw (14)
B1: Mad Robin (8)**
1/2 Hey (8) (GL, PR, LL, NR)
B2: Gents Pass L (2)
P Gypsy + Swing (14)
* Been debating teaching / calling this as a gypsy or "loop right". I think
either works, but ideas welcome.
** Gents in front, CW