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.
Sure they're all fun (we hope). I'm looking for a few dances that are particularly playful, quirky, silly....something that typically gets the dancers laughing.
Some examples would be "Over the Hill and Still Chased" with the lady round two/gent cut through figure, or Beneficial Tradition when the dancers throw their free arm up and shout "Wooo!"
You get the idea. What are your favorites?
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.
Hi: I don't usually wake up with a dance in my brain so I'm wondering if it's already been written.
Solistice '17 improper Donna Hunt
Long waves with ladies facing in
A1 Balance wave and Rory twirl to R to NEXT neighbor and Swing
A2 Pass through to a wave and Balance, walk forward to next wave and Balance
B1 Swing through (turn R 1/2, gents pull by) Partner Swing
B2 Balance ring and twirl to right, Allem L neighbor 1 1/2 to make waves
Anyone recognize this as a dance already out there?
Here are a few dances I’ve found can enhance a silly atmosphere!
Carmen’s Contra, which I think is by Lisa Greenleaf
NOTE: Men empty right pockets before dance!!
Circle left ¾, pass through – (8) (progression)
Do-si-do next neighbor – (8)
With same neighbor: clap, clap, bump, bump (clap two hands, bump right hips) – (4)
With that neighbor swing – (12)
Long lines forward and back – (8)
Women allemande right, 1 1/2 – (8)
Partners balance and swing – (12)
Aw Shucks! by Carol Copp
NOTE: To teach the clapping, have everyone say together “Right, left, both, turn! Right, left both, swing!”
Ones sashay down center – (8)
Ones sashay back up stopping between the twos – (8)
Ones face each other, clap one beat each: right, left, both and turn to face neighbors – (4)
Neighbors facing each other clap: right, left – (3)
Neighbors swing – (9) End facing down the set in line of four
Down the hall in lines of four holding hands twos in the middle – (8)
Turn as a couple (gents back up while ladies go forward), and come back up, ones in center – (8)
Ones drop hands in middle of line, fall back into long lines (progressed) Ladies chain across – (8)
Ladies chain back – (8) Ones are ready to sashay again, stopping between the NEXT twos.
Casino Polka by Tony Parkes
NOTE: It’s fun if neighbors take a dramatic cheek-to-cheek ballroom position
Neighbors, heel, toe, sashay (start with gent’s left foot, lady’s right foot) (4) back in (4)
“Heel and toe and step together, step”
Do-si-do neighbor (8)
Swing neighbor (8) (End facing across)
Gents allemande left, 1 ½ times around (8)
Partner swing on the side of the set (8)
Circle left 1 ¼ times (8) (end facing down or up)
Pass right shoulders through to next couple (8) (progression)
PO Box 45
Taftsville, VT 05073
Thanks for sending along Allan's Frankenstein's Monster dance. It reads
really well and I look forward to running it through my head a few times
and calling it.
How does the dance/music phrasing work, in practice, for the allemandes
that span A2-B1? Instinct leads me to prefer having that all contained with
A or within B (as in Chuck the Budgie).
From: Dan Black <blackjunier(a)yahoo.com>
To: Bill Olson <callbill(a)hotmail.com>, Grant Goodyear
<grant(a)grantgoodyear.org>, Grant Goodyear via Callers
Subject: Re: [Callers] Looking for suggestions
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
Gang,I usually get so much from this message board, it is time for me to
provide.? See a rock solid dance below.
?Holiday in the Wood
Intermediate to advanced
Needs moderate tempo due to large number of 4 count figures
This one borrows bits from two of my favorite dances...Slapping the Wood
(Don Flaherty) (A1 & B2) and Hudson Holiday (A2 & B1)...hence the title. |
A1 (8) Do-si-do neighbor couple around couple(8) Swing neighbor A2 (8) Men
allemande left 1 & 1/2 to a wave across(4) Balance(4) Turn partner by right
3/4 to a wave along the line B1 (4) Balance(4) Allemande left with
shadow(8) Swing partner B2 (8) Circle four 3/4(4) Balance in the circle(4)
I have another sound equipment question. My natural voice comes out muffled and bassy at the back of the hall unless I make a concerted effort to raise my pitch and project from the diaphragm. I am also paying more attention to my mic position. All these are good things to do anyway, but it migh help in the few situations where the sound equipment is limited to bring my own inline equalizer or mic preamp. The idea would be to preprocess my mic before feeding the signal to the powered speaker or mixer the hall is using.
So far all I can find are $99 mixer units with only a high and low band. Actual mic preamps cost more. Is there anything under $100 to clarify my tone?
Does anyone else do this?
Anyone have a dance that they would like to share which has both short
wavy lines (across) and long wavy lines (along)?
Photo of Michael Barraclough