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 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.
Looking for a dance with multiple swings with the same N, and also
preferably a P b&s, for a workshop I'm running on in-dance communication.
Anyone have one to recommend?
On a similar note, this is the dance I tossed off to fill this need: does
it exist? If not, tentatively titling it "Good Fences".
A1: long lines forward and back
(new) N swing
A2: ladies chain to P
half hey (ladies pass R)
B1: P b&s
B2: gents alle. L 1 1/2
(same) N swing
I found a square sequence I wrote a while ago?
Does it exist in trad-dance circles?
Heads R&L Thru (8), Hds Pass Thru, Sep @1 into middle and Bx Gnat. (12)
Same 4 RH Star (8) to corner Alle Left (6)
P DSD (6), Corner Swg (8)
Full Promenade (16)
Stafford Springs, CT
Home of the Stafford Stomp!
Does anybody recognize these two choreographical sequences as dances that
have already been written by someone else? I came up with them yesterday,
but they look basic enough to be already-composed, so I want to give credit
where it is due if I'm not the first to land on these sequences.
"Hanging Out in Portland" by Dugan Murphy (improper, double progression)
A1 Neighbor right shoulder spiral/gypsy and swing (16)
A2 Gents Left Hand Allemand 1.5 (8) / Partner Pass Right to Start Half Hey
B1 Partner right shoulder spiral/gypsy and swing (16)
B2 Circle Left Three Places (7) - Partner Weave Left Past This Couple (3) -
Weave Right Past Second Couple (3) - Weave Left to Face 3rd Neighbor on the
"Get the Baby" by Dugan Murphy (improper, single progression)
A1 Neighbor Balance and swing (16)
A2 Gents Left Hand Allemand 1.5 (8) / Partner Pass Right to Start Half Hey
B1 Partner Balance and swing (16)
B2 Ladies Chain Across to Neighbor (8) / Left Hand Star Once (8)
"Hanging Out in Portland" came about while looking at "Valerie's Trip to
Portland" by Erik Weberg and "Leave Them Hanging" by Luke Donforth at the
same time. "Get the Baby" is like a lot of basic star-progression dances,
but I guess I had "Get Me Going" by Lisa Greenleaf and "The Baby Rose" by
David Kaynor on my mind at the time when I was looking for a different
progression sequence to accompany the swing-allemand-hey-swing sequence.
dugan at duganmurphy.comwww.DuganMurphy.comwww.PortlandIntownContraDance.comwww.NufSed.consulting
I'm preparing for a workshop at a dance weekend in November where the theme
will be contra dances that incorporate square dance moves.
I have a number dances with square thrus and swing thrus and box
circulates. However, these moves are fairly well known at this point. This
will be an advanced group of dancers so I'm looking for dances that
incorporate more unique and sophisicated moves.
I know Bob Isaacs has several that quality, with dances that use Spin the
Top and Spin Chain Exchange the Gears.
Looking forward to seeing what you may have.
Are the Sharedweight Archives working? I can't seem to get any searches to
I tried to search the archives for various square dance moves, but kept
getting 0 results. So I tried terms that really ought to return results and
still got nothing.
For example: when I search for the word "ladies", I get 0 (zero) results.
Same when I search for the word "chain". Just to see if it mattered, I
tried with and without quotes and both upper and lower cases...no dice!
The few options available for entering search criteria would seem to limit
the possibility to screw it up. So I"m scratching my head on this.
Any thoughts or suggestions? Thanks.
I have been calling for almost 37 years, but have mostly been on “emeritus” status since I moved to an island that has no regular dances. The last dance I called was on Cape Cod 18 months ago. That dance is the only one I can get to; not more than once or twice a year. Attending that dance requires a ferry ride and leaving at intermission to catch the last ferry home.
Anyway, I am going from no dances in 18 months to 3 in three weeks. Tonight’s dance will be mostly “rookies”, but I expect a handful of experienced dancers. The other two dances will full of new dancers. I have my usual ONS list of dances. I wonder if you might share a few newer dances that can easily be taught and danced by these folks. I will be working with a really great string band, so the music will be great for these dances.
Thanks in advance,
John B. Freeman, SFTPOCTJ