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?
This group has been so quiet lately. The group has been so important for
me as I developed my Contra calling repertoire and skills, so I thought I'd
initiate a conversation.
As I sit here programming a dance I realize that I do not have many dances
without circles. Many that I do have, do not have a Neighbor Swing, or
have a Give & Take to cheat it out. Those factors limit where and when I
can use them.
I generally like to program two no circle dances in each half, and also a
NO neighbor Swing dance in at least one half if not both halves of an
evening. Any thoughts on this?
Does anyone want to share some modern contras that have no Circles and no
Give & Takes, but include a partner and neighbor swing.
Here are a few I have used.
Just for NEFFA, Linda Leslie
Rollin' and Tumblin'. Cis Hinkle
Rocket City Romp, Cis Hinkle
Travels with Rick and Kim, Shari Miller Johnson
Friday Night Fever, Tony Parkes
Hi Shared Weight Callers,
Just a quick heads up that the latest issue of Shop Talk came out last week!
Shop Talk is a new (FREE) e-newsletter from the Country Dance and Song
Society. The goal of Shop Talk is to support, inspire, and connect
traditional dance, music, and song organizers. I know some callers are
also organizers so I thought it appropriate to share here.
View the latest issue: https://conta.cc/2QYlA7c
View the inaugural issue (Aug 2018): https://conta.cc/2PlKAEr
If you want to receive Shop talk, sign up: https://conta.cc/2PlKAEr
Please share the news if you enjoy Shop Talk!
Emily Addison - writing from Ottawa, Ontario
Consultant - Country Dance and Song Society
I've been having such trouble sending and receiving emails that my hosting company will shortly be moving everything to
a new server. That means that both website and email will be down for a while. If you might want to contact me, see
http://colinhume.com NOW for an alternative email address! And if you've emailed me and not had a reply, please try
again using this address.
The deadline to apply for a music or caller scholarship is tomorrow,
November 21st! All applications need to be received by midnight tomorrow.
Here's the direct link to the application. Check it out if you are
interested. It will be an excellent weekend to attend whether awarded the
scholarship or not!
A new organisation, the English Dance Callers Association, has been formed to run courses for Club Callers in England.
If you're a Club Caller who would like to improve your calling and thereby improve the standard of dancing at your club, this is
The organisation was formed by Judith De Witt, who is not a caller but is the Chairman of the Friends of Cecil Sharp House and the
Chairman of Eastbourne International Folk Dance Festival.
The tutors other than myself are:
Robert Moir, a well-known caller particularly of Playford-style dances.
Hazel Moir, also a caller and a dance composer - her best-known dance is White Wheat.
Victoria Yeomans, a well-known caller and musician.
Dave Yeomans, who with Victoria forms the band "Deo Volente" which can be seen performing at festivals and dances up and down the
Bernie Culkin, an up-and-coming young caller who co-founded the Malvern Playford Ball and has now moved up to Cheshire.
Bernie, Hazel and Robert are members of the Pat Shaw Legacy Group which organised many events in the Pat Shaw centenary year.
The first running of the course will be in the Nottingham area, starting on Sunday 5th January 2019.
To find out more and download an application form, please visit our website at http://edca.info
Email colin(a)colinhume.com Web site http://colinhume.com
Has anyone had any success at getting new people along to
dances by using Twitter or Instagram?
If so, please do you have any advice on:
How to get started?
What sort of material to post?
Who to Follow to see some successful usage?
John Sweeney, Dancer, England john(a)modernjive.com 01233 625 362 & 07802
http://www.modernjive.com for Modern Jive Events & DVDs
http://www.contrafusion.co.uk for Dancing in Kent