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 try and call the dances of Rich Blazej whenever I can and this one's a
Halloween favorite, re-done as "Werewolves and Zombies".
*Garfield's Escape* -- circle of couples PLUS ONE EXTRA in the center
A1 All into the center EIGHT steps and back, menacing the Garfield
A2 Circle left, circle right
B1 Women (werewolves) promenade single file to the right, while men
(zombies) "star" by the right -- each man puts his right hand on right
shoulder of the man in front - including Garfield.
B2 Caller hollers "Escape!" ("Boo!", or maybe "Braaaiiins") and all men
run to the outside and swing with a woman in the outer circle. A new
Garfield remains in the center.
Rich himself named this after Garfield the comic-strip cat, way back when
he was cynical and funny (the cat, not Rich).
"The single man remaining at the end of the dance is entitled to a pan of
lasagna and some fresh kitty litter".
My favorite normal tune for this is the minor jig Coleraine, played at a
slightly slower lurch-y tempo, but if I'm lucky the band'll do the Alfred
Have fun, just thought I'd share -- and I'd love to hear how it goes if you
do it, and what variations emerge.
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.
Any rising star callers out there ready for a chance to get out on the
national circuit? Catapult is built to help you along the way.
A fantastic collection of breakout bands.
A hall full of dancers and organizers excited to find the best
ready-to-be-discovered contra talent.
Memorial Day 2017.
For all the details check out www.catapultshowcase.com.
Hello Shared Weight,
Just feeling particularly grateful to the community of callers and
organizers out there. Thank you to all of you for the work that you do. I
believe it helps build stronger, more connected communities, and a better
I personally lose sight of that sometimes, especially at year's end when
things get hectic. But whatever you're celebrating this weekend and holiday
season, my thanks go to you.
Here's what I actually called on post-election Wednesday in Baltimore:
Long May It Wave (Melanie Axel-Lute)
The Eyes Have It
Vote With Your Feet (Bob Isaacs)
Take All of the Credit and None of the Blame (Larry Edelman)
Not a Figment of Your Imagination (Lynn Ackerson)
The Dancer's Duty (Chris Page)
Kitchen Stomp (Becky Hill)
United We Dance (Bob Isaacs)
The Tease (Tom Hinds)
There Is No Way to Peace, Peace Is the Way (Erik Hoffman)
Illegal in Most States (Robert Cromartie)
Jubilation (Gene Hubert)
[A little backstory -- I run a dance camp called FootFall. To avoid using
gazillions of paper cups at meals and dumping them in the landfill, every
year we provide all dancers with a travel mug (labeled with their names).
Every year it's a different color, and it has a different dance-related quote
Thursday morning, I got the following email from someone who had been at
the Baltimore Wednesday night dance::
"My FootFall mug in my office says, 'We do not always dance because we are
happy, but we dance and cannot help but become happy.' Last night,
post-election, was such a night."
I calling the Baltimore contra on Wednesday.
Vote With Your Feet of course.
Others I am considering are:
Take All of the Credit and None of the Blame
The Eyes Have It
Illegal in Most States
Not a Figment of Your Imagination
Rocks and Dirt
The Dancer's Duty
Long May It Wave
There Is No Way to Peace
Any other suggestions?
Thanks to all who've supplied names! Below are the names of most of my "Don't Know" dances. A few, reposted at the bottom of this email, are still mysteries.
My Right Hand Man
A1 Wmn Allemande Rt 1½; Half Hey (Nb st Lft sh)
B1 on Lft Diag: Women Chain-to Shdw;
(w/ Shdw) Across: Right & Left Thru
B2 LLF&B; Partner Swing
a slight variation of: A Precarious Balance
Becky Hill-original has A1 as Nbr B&S
A1 DSD Nbr; Sw Nbr
A1 R&L Thru Acrss; Star Lft ¾,
end in a wave on the Wm's side Pt in left, Shdw in Rt
B1 BAL the wave, Al Rt Shdw; Sw Pt
B2 Circle Lft 1¼; CA twirl Pt
Early Morning Swim-w/ clarification from Kathy
A1 Ones split the Twos: Mirror DSD to Circle;
BAL the Ring, Pt Rollaway with a Half Sashay Acrss
A2 DSD Nbr to a Wave, Mn in Center;
Rory O'More BAL (to put Wm in center)
B1 Wm Al Lft 1½; Sw Pt
B2 Prom Pt; Circle Lft ¾, Twos Arch, Pop the Ones through
A1 Ptnella BAL Twice
A2 BAL the Ring, CA Twril Pt; Sw Nbr
B1 Mn Al Lft 1½; Sw Pt
B2 Wm Chain; Half Hey, Wm start, Rt shoulder
>From a green piece of paper, the 2000 Echo Summit dance schedule. I should email Susan Kevra (the other caller) and see if she knows about this dance.
Rollin' and Tumblin'
A1 BAL & Sw Nbr
A2 LLF&B w/ Wm Roll Away with Half Sashay (left);
LLF&B w/ Mn Roll Away with a Half Sashay (Rt, same Nbr)
B1 Wm Al Rt 1½; Sw Pt
B2 Wm Chain; Star Left
Fun Dance for Majoirie
A1 Crcl Lft ¾; Nb Sw
A2 LLF&B; Mn Al Lft 1½
B1 Pt BAL & Sw
B2 Mn Cross (4), Wm Cross (4); Hands Across Rt Star
Single File lead to next couple (Mn in lead)
A1 Bal Ring, w/ Pt, CA Twirl, turn alone to face in
Bal Ring, w/ Nb, CA Twirl, (I think:) turn alone to face in
A2 Bal Ring, w/ Pt, Ca Twirl to face new Nb; that New Nb Sw
B1 Circle Lft ¾; Pt Sw
B2 Wm Chain; LLF&B w/ Rollaway
(or, I think, LLF&B; Wm Chain /w Rollaway)
A1 (Remember this Nbr) LLF&B; BAL Towards Nbr One, Back, Roll Away with Half Sashay
A2 (still in lines) BALt towards Nbr Two, Away, Sw Nbr Two
B1 Mn Al Lft 1½; Sw Pt
B2 (with Nbr Two) Star Lft ¾; Sw Nbr One
>From Kathy Anderson at the Brattleboro Dawn Dance, May 29, 2000
Rollin' to the Grey Eagle
A1 LLF&B w/ Rollaway; Women Chain
A2 Hey (Wm st Rt sh)
B1 Partner B&S
B2 Circle Left ¾; Neighbor Swing
A1 Star Right; Neighbor Gypsy
A2 Circle Single File Left Half (still looking at Neighbor Women lead) (4)
Neighbor Gypsy (some more) (4);
B1 Give & Take: Women pull Partner back
B2 Women Chain; Star Left
A1 Nbr DSD; Nbr Swing
A2 LLF&B; Wm chain (to Pt)-end in Ring
B1 Ring Balance, Roll Nbr; Pt Swing
B2 Circle Lft ¾; Ring Balance, CA Twirl
A1 Long Lines Forwad & Back; Circle Left, Slide Lft (R&L T; Circle Slide, or LLF&B, Circle ½, Slide)
A2 Hey, Wm start, Rt shoulder
B1 Wm Al Rt ¾ to long wave in center (4), BAL; Wm back out WHILE Mn Al Rt with Man to Rt ¾ to long wave, BAL
B2 Mn step forward to Pt: Sw Pt
Ben's Spinoff #3
A1 Nbr Allemande Rt, Wmn Lft Pull By, Pt Allemande Rt, Wmn Lft Pull By
A2 Neighbor B&S
B1 Circle Left ¾; Partner Swing
B2 LLF&B; Women Chain
At least it was on a blue piece of paper that also had Hey for 40, as called by S.K.
Don't Know #1
A1 with Nbr, BAL, Bx Gnat; Star Rt
A2 Circle Lft ¾; Sw Pt
B1 Mn Pull By with the Left, Bx Gnat with Nbr;
Half Hey, Nbr start Rt Shoulder
B2 BAL & Sw Nbr
Don't Know #2
A1 BAL with Nbr, Gypsy (Rt shoulder);
Half Hey, Wm start Lft Shoulder
A2 BAL & Sw Nbr (opposite side)
B1 Wm Gypsy 1½; Sw Pt
B2 LLF&B; Mn Gypsy 1½ to progress
Don't Know #3
A1 Nbr BAL & Sw end in Circle
A2 BAL Ring, Pet Tw to wave: Pt in Rt, Wm in Cntr
Rory O'More BAL,
B1 Mn Al Lft once, Pt Sw
B2 Circle Lft ¾; Nbr Al Lft 1½
On an envelope
Don't Know Yet From Andy Wilson-June 1, ????
A1 "Hey" along lines: Pass Nb Rt, next Lft, 3rd Rt Shoulder Turn, pass next Left, to
A1 w/ Current Nbr, ½ Rt Sh Turn then "Stalk": Wm crosses, Mn follows to other
side; Nb Sw
B1 Circle Lft ¾; Pt Sw
B2 Star Lft ¾; turn to face Nbr: BAL, Pull by w/ Rt
Says, Beware to start the "Hey" with the Right Shoulder. Could that last Balance & Pull By be with the Left?
An important part of the annual Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend is a
scholarship opportunity for 2 aspiring contra/square dance callers and 2 dance
The Scholarship Application couldn't be easier: 2 simple questions. The
Application can be found here: http://ralphpage.neffa.org/scholarships.html
and needs to by in my hands by Dec. 3rd. Please forward this to folks you
think would be interested. It is a wonderful opportunity to connect with
the history of the dance form we love and learn from some of the very best
callers and dance musicians!
for the RPDLW Committee
Can anyone identify the following?
Ladies to center and balance
Gents to center and balance
Gents LH ¾
½ hey (Neighbors right, ladies left )
Circle L ¾
Neighbor RH 1 ½
Allemande L New neighbor
Swing old neighbor