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.
So, a while back I was working with a band and they played a tune that was sort of new for them, and the A part was fine, but the B part was unusual anyway, and hard to know where the count was, in particular because they were unfamiliar with it, and I tried to count and call so the dancers could keep going, and it kept coming back together in the A, but falling apart in the B, until things snowballed and the dance completely fell apart. What is the best thing to do or say in a situation like that so that the band doesn’t feel too much as if it is their fault, and the dancers don’t feel it’s their fault? And yes, it’s always the caller’s fault, since I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what the heck was going on with that tune, but the dancers couldn’t find their way in it either. Anyway, back to what to do to make everyone feel a little better after that.
Ooh tricky - you definitely need to tell the band, maybe point out the odd
phrasing and that you'll need to see if you can find a really good specific
dance for it to work nicely. I'm intrigued as to what the tune is now -
maybe the list can suggest something useful if you let us know?
On Tue, May 30, 2017 at 10:43 PM, Martha Wild <mawild(a)sbcglobal.net> wrote:
> Next dance was rock solid, and easier, and tune was rock solid. So they
> did redeem themselves. I have listened to a version on line and it has a
> WEIRD B part - it is nominally 16 counts but the emphasis is kind of like
> 6, 6 and 4, and it is weird beyond belief. How do I ask them to never play
> it for me again?
> On May 30, 2017, at 2:38 PM, Bob Morgan <ceilidh.caller.bob(a)gmail.com>
> In the moment, move right along. Next dance needs to be rock-solid, next
> tune needs to be rock solid. Drop the difficulty through the floor and get
> your dancers dancing again as quickly as possible. Don't dwell and let the
> dancers forget it ever happened.
> Afterwards either ask the band to play it for you again if you have time
> and see if you can work it out collectively or just say something on the
> lines of "It's a shame I just couldn't seem to get the hang of tune X, is
> there something unusual about it?" Ideally of course the band will have
> been paying attention and be suitably annoyed at themselves that they
> didn't get it right (the absolute optimal response of course would have
> been for the band to have changed tune).
> On Tue, May 30, 2017 at 10:16 PM, Martha Wild via Callers <
> callers(a)lists.sharedweight.net> wrote:
>> So, a while back I was working with a band and they played a tune that
>> was sort of new for them, and the A part was fine, but the B part was
>> unusual anyway, and hard to know where the count was, in particular because
>> they were unfamiliar with it, and I tried to count and call so the dancers
>> could keep going, and it kept coming back together in the A, but falling
>> apart in the B, until things snowballed and the dance completely fell
>> apart. What is the best thing to do or say in a situation like that so that
>> the band doesn’t feel too much as if it is their fault, and the dancers
>> don’t feel it’s their fault? And yes, it’s always the caller’s fault, since
>> I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what the heck was going on with
>> that tune, but the dancers couldn’t find their way in it either. Anyway,
>> back to what to do to make everyone feel a little better after that.
>> Callers mailing list
Wrote this over the last several months and called it last night in
Swim at Round Pond, improper
A1 1's in the middle gypsy and swing
A2 Circle left 1x and neighbor swing
B1 Down the hall four in line, turn alone, come back
B2 Neighbor balance, 2's gate 1's down the middle, New neighbor mirror
do si do
The dance ends up being a bit on the ECD side. It was written in honor
of my literally hot week at the CDSS Pinewoods Camp last summer. I took
many swims at Round Pond right outside Nonesuch cabin.
I wrote this earlier this month, and got to give it a national debut at
Catapult Showcase 2017 last night during by set with Tempest (awesome!)
Pete's Dark Roast by Andy Shore May 2017
(8) Men allemande Left 1.5x
(8) Neighbor swing
(8) Promenade across = face partner across
(8) Mad Robin - Women passing in front
(4,4) Partner RH Balance and Box the Gnat
(8) Right & left through - COURTESY TURN SOMEONE NEW*
(8) Women Do-si-do 1.5x
(8) Partner swing
Notes: when out with partner - cross over and get in with the balance & box
(or just wait to turn/be turned)
* note that courtesy turn is with your new neighbor
this is the progression
It looks simple but the surprise factor of the R&L thru can be challenging.
The fact that there are 2 courtesy turning actions both ending facing
partner (promenade & R&L thru) add to the difficulty.
Hi, I’ve recently written two dances. Both have been tested and called at regular contra dances (one in England, one in California!) to positive feedback from the dancers. I’m running it by the caller’s gauntlet to see if anyone knows if these dances have already been written. Please let me know if you’ve seen them before. Thanks! I’m also adding a couple of other simple dances that I wrote specifically to introduce a some figures in an easy way when I have many beginners. They aren’t fancy dances and I don’t usually announce the names of these dances but since I include my programs in my website, I thought I should probably give correct attribution if the dance has already been written. Thanks for any help!
A Stroll in the Hey
by Jacqui Grennan
(8) Gents allemande Left 1-1/2
(8) N Sw
(8) LL F&B to P
(8) Ladies Chain to P, extra courtesy turn
(8) w/P, Promenade the set clockwise, ladies in the middle, turn as couples
(8) Return promenade, go PAST current Ns <=PROGRESSION
(8) 1/2 hey (NEW gents start passing left, NR, ladies L)
(8) P Sw
Zag It Back
by Jacqui Grennan
(8) w/P, slice on left diagonal, fall straight back <=PROGRESSION
(8) Ladies allemande Right 1-1/2
(16) N B&Sw
(Note: loose timing in the B1)
(8) Circle Left 3/4
(3,3) w/N, zig left, zag right to your shadows
(2) Shadow L allem. 1x
(16) P B&Sw
by Jacqui Grennan
(8) N Allem. RIGHT 1x
(8) Ladies allemande LEFT 1-1/2
(16) P gypsy R/Sw
(6) Circle Left 3/4
(10) N Sw
(8) LL F&B to P
(8) Star Left 1x <=PROGRESSION
Line Up the Square
by Jacqui Grennan
(8)N DSD 1x
(8) N Sw
(4) Balance ring
(12) Give and Take to gents side, P Sw
(8) Promenade across the Set
(8) Ladies Chain to N
(8) LL F&B to P
“INTERRUPTED SQUARE THROUGH”
(4) P RH balance across set
(2) Pull by P RH
(2) Pull by N LH
I am putting together a resume/CV with emphasis on my calling and music skills. I would be interested in seeing some models of how this is done, so if anyone is happy to share theirs with me, I would be very grateful
Kind regardsJeanette Jeanette Mill Contra dance caller, musician, workshop facilitatorCanberra, AustraliaPhone: +61 (0)449 686 077 Email: jeanette_mill(a)yahoo.com.au Skype: jeanette.mill "The piano - 88 little mistakes waiting to happen"Kate Barnes
I'm helping a friend out who is experiencing some serious (but
hopefully temporary) stress.
Would anyone be interested in calling a dance in Prov RI on Fri June
16? There may be other dates available at this series in the future,
for interested parties.
We are hoping to expand our go to list, so if you are up for some
travel and/or visiting area friends/family, this might be a good
We can provide a very comfortable couch (where many notable contra
personalities have spent a night, and don't worry, we are very good
about laundry:-) and at least breakfast the next morning.
Please contact me off list for more details. Thanks.
Virtual group hug,
[I'm sending this query to the trad-dance-callers list, to the
SharedWeight callers' and musicians' forums, and to a number of
individuals. Please send responses directly to me *off-list*
(see Note 1 below). I plan to collect responses for about the
next two months and will summarize results to the lists and to
individual respondents some time in July. Thanks. --Jim]
As some of you may know, I've worked on and off in fits and starts
for some time at gathering lists of recommended tunes [see Note 2
below] for (traditional-style) patter squares. [In case you're
wondering what I mean by "(traditional-style) patter squares", see
Note 6 below.] My idea is to compile lists from a wide variety of
sources and to look for tunes mentioned independently by many
different recommenders. So far, I've compiled tune lists from a
few dozen books and albums, and I'm currently adding lists from
a bunch more books, articles, record catalogs, etc. I'm sending
this message because I'd like to supplement all these sources with
lists from current informants, possibly including you. So ...
* If you are a musician who has substantial experience
playing for (traditional-stye) patter squares and if
you have a list of recommended tunes that you're
willing to share--either an existing set list or a
list you come up with by sitting down and scratching
your head for a while--please send it to me *off-list*
[see Note 1] at
jim dot saxe at-sign gmail dot com
* If you are a musician who mostly plays for other things
than patter squares (e.g., contras or New-England-style
squares or concert performances) or even if you're not
a musician, but if you nonethelessAå have accumulated a
list of tunes you particularly like *for patter squares*,
I'd also be interested in hearing from you.
* I'd also be interested if anyone can supply lists of
tunes played *for patter squares* by players skilled
in the genre who are no longer living (e.g., Ralph
Blizard, Lyman Enloe, Benton Flippen, Bob Holt, Pete
McMahan, Lee Stripling, Joe Thompson, or Melvin Wine,
to name a few). However, see Note 5.
* If you know other people who might be willing and able
to contribute lists of recommended tunes, please feel
free to pass this request along. (But please try not
to put up my email address in places where spammers
are likely to harvest it. Also, see Note 1. Thanks.)
Below are some notes clarifying what kind of responses I am
and am not interested in. ***Please read at least Notes 1-3
Note 1: If you got this query via a mailing list, please send
tune lists directly to me and *not* to the entire mailing list.
As stated above, I'm trying to see which tunes get mentioned
*independently* by many recommenders, so I don't want the lists
anyone sends me to be influenced one way or another by whatever
suggestions other people have already sent. If you pass my
request along to some of your friends, I'd prefer that you each
send tune lists just to me rather than discussing tunes among
yourselves first and then sending me a combined list (unless
you and your friends are in the same regular band and such
discussions are how you normally create your set lists). Please
look carefully at the "To:" (and "Cc:") line of any reply and
make sure that that it doesn't include the address of any mailing
list. That would include addresses of the form
James Saxe via ... <...>
where <...> is a list address.
I plan to gather recommendations for the next couple months and
to post a summary some time in July.
Note 2: Please *don't* explain to me that the suitability of
a tune for a particular kind of dance can depend very strongly
on how it's played. I'm already quite well aware of that.
However, I also think it would be widely agreed that some tunes
lend themselves to being played well for dancing more than
others. (If you strenuously disagree, I will look forward to
your forthcoming album of rip-roaring square dance arrangements
of tunes from the Child ballads and _The Sacred Harp_. Meanwhile,
please don't respond to my query by attempting to un-ask it.)
After I've settled on a list of frequently-recommended tunes,
a possible follow-on project would be to try to identify one
or more renditions--online and/or on commercial recordings--of
each tune played in a danceable style worthy of study by
musicians learning to play for patter squares. For such a
project, style of playing would of course be a prime concern.
But that's not what I'm working on or asking about right now.
Note 3: Please *don't* give me lists (or references to lists,
albums, tune books, syllabi, etc) where tunes well suited for
patter squares are mixed with other sorts of tunes without
specific indication of which tunes are which.
Note 4: I'm not all that interested in recommendations for just
one or a few tunes. If you have substantial experience playing
for patter squares, I'd expect that you can come up with at least
ten tunes that you think are quite suitable, and perhaps you
can come up with many more than that without feeling that you're
starting to scrape the bottom of the barrel. (If you send a long
list, you might want to distinguish which are your favorites and
which are the second-tier or third-tier choices.)
Note 5: If you send me a list of tunes from the repertoire of
some deceased musician, please tell me something about how you
compiled that list. I'm not merely looking for a list of tunes
played or recorded by, say, late great fiddler Bestus Bowslinger,
but for a list of tunes that Bestus actually played *for patter
squares*. And if you happen to have some tapes of Bestus playing
at actual dances, and if they include 30 different patter-square
tunes, and if you send me the names of the 20 tunes you happen
to recognize, then I'd like to be informed that the your sampling
of Bestus's repertoire has been filtered by the limitations of
what tunes you recognize.
Note 6: When I say "(traditional-style) patter squares," I mean
to exclude singing squares and squares that are prompted to the
phrase of the music in the New England style (or in the style of
19th-century quadrilles) and I mean to include the kinds of
squares generally thought of as traditional to the western and/or
southern U.S. I specifically would include visiting couple dances
in this genre, even when the progression is around a big circle
or by a scatter promenade, rather than around a square of four
couples. I'd also include most "transitional" (50's era) western
squares (other than singing calls) as well as more recent
compositions in similar style. I do *not* mean to say that the
dances in question must be called in a style that includes a bunch
of rhyming doggerel ("do-si high, do-si low, chicken in the bread
pan scratchin' out dough") or other extra verbiage.
Much of the "hoedown"/"patter" music produced in recent decades
for the MWSD market is, IMO, very non-traditional in character
and thus not of interest for purposes of my current inquiry.
(Hint: If a tune isn't found in any tune books, played at any
jam sessions, or recorded on any non-MWSD label, it's not what
I'm happy to get recommendations for recently-composed tunes in
traditional style, as well as for genuinely traditional (old)
tunes. I'm also happy to get recommendations for tunes from
"northern" sources that nonetheless have the right feel to work
well for traditional southern/western dances.
Of course I realize there aren't precisely defined and widely
agreed boundaries between different kinds of square dances or
different styles of calling (prompted vs. patter vs. singing;
phrased vs. unphrased; New-England vs. southern vs. traditional
western vs. ...). Ditto regarding precise definitions of musical
genres. I also realize that a particular choreographic pattern
might be danced to different styles of music and calling, etc.
That said, I still hope that the preceding paragraphs will suffice
to provide an adequate idea of what I'm looking for.
Thanks in advance to any of you who have tune lists to share.