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?
I am asking for a friend, who is looking for a square caller for a
wedding on 9/22, in Estes Park, Colorado.
I don't have any other details, but if anyone is interested I will forward
Thursday Night Dance Committee, Chair (Concord, Ma)
*Upcoming Contra Dance Calling appearances...*
Manchester, Nh Friday 5/18
Rehoboth, Ma Friday 5/25
Conventry, Ct Friday 6/1
Berlin, Ma Saturday 6/2
I thought up a cool little ending to a Revolving Door and have incorporated
it into a couple of new dances. I call the action "Revolving Door to a
Wave" and it's as follows:
from couples facing across - Ladies start an Allemande Right 1x while
depositing the gent they were with on the other side, as the ladies come
back across and are finishing, they slide nose-to-nose past the other gent
(who has turned a 3/4 turn to their right) to put the gents in the middle
of a wave across. Gents have left hands in the middle and right hands with
the lady they did not start with. If you are familiar with MWSD, it feels a
bit like the call Spread. Here are the dances that use it. Only the
second has been road-tested.
Please share your reactions.
Title of Contra by Andy Shore
(8) Revolving Doors (Ladies RH) **to a wave (gents in middle, N in RH)
(4,4) Balance the Wave, Walk Forward to the Next
(16) Next Neighbor Balance & swing
(8) Mad Robin - gents in front to the right
(8) Gents allemande Left 1.5
(16) Partner balance and swing
when out, wait with partner on the 'wrong side'
by Andy Shore
(16) Neighbor balance and swing
(8) Revolving Door (Ladies RH) **as if to a wave**
(8) Men allemande Left 1.5 while Ladies Orbit CW across
(16) Partner balance and swing
(8) Ladies Chain
(8) Star Left
In this dance, they do not actually form the wave, but gents take LH in the
middle for the Allemande
** as you finish the revolving door, Slide Past Parnter nose-to-nose to put
Gents in the middle to star the next move, gents are facing in original
direction of progression, ladies are anti --
best email - andyshore(a)gmail.com
Sent from my iPad
> On May 17, 2018, at 9:25 PM, Tom Hinds <twhinds(a)earthlink.net> wrote:
> If I'm reading it correctly I would say some dancers circulate and the others circulate half.
> It looks so close to the mwsd diamond circulate.
> Sent from my iPad
>> On May 17, 2018, at 2:09 PM, Jack Mitchell via Callers <callers(a)lists.sharedweight.net> wrote:
>> What would you call a circulate like this? Would it be a partial circulate? Or, in the interest of not adding any more terminology, since only half of the people are going to end up in a wave after each one, would it be better to just say "ladies take 4 steps forward to a long wave of ladies, gents face in", etc?
>> A1 Balance Wave
>> Circulate (Gents Loop, ladies take 4 steps forward) to a long wave of ladies
>> Balance Wave of Ladies
>> Circulate (ladies walk forward and face in, gents take 4 steps forward) to a long wave of gents
>> A2 Balance Wave of Gents
>> Gents step forward – N Sw
>> Jack Mitchell
>> Durham, NC
>> List Name: Callers mailing list
>> List Address: Callers(a)lists.sharedweight.net
>> Archives: https://firstname.lastname@example.org/
What would you call a circulate like this? Would it be a partial
circulate? Or, in the interest of not adding any more terminology, since
only half of the people are going to end up in a wave after each one, would
it be better to just say "ladies take 4 steps forward to a long wave of
ladies, gents face in", etc?
*A1* Balance Wave
Circulate (Gents Loop, ladies take 4 steps forward) to a long wave
Balance Wave of Ladies
Circulate (ladies walk forward and face in, gents take 4 steps
forward) to a long wave of gents
*A2* Balance Wave of Gents
Gents step forward – N Sw
Thanks to Nick & the others that were in touch with me by email.
I think you all have provided great starting points which I will pass along
to the parents and, presumably, on to the offspring in the strawberry patch.
I'm not a member of the musicians list and I may have success here, hence
A client informed me that his 20-something daughter - fiddler since 5 - had
moved to Modesto, CA a year ago and not yet linked in with a community of
musicians. She has apparently sat in with the Old Sod Band here in Ottawa
at some point for a dance. I've not met her.
At this point, having recently started a new job, she may not be actively
seeking musical contacts. Nonetheless, if anyone can suggest a contact for
her - Bay area? Sacramento? Alvin, Yogi, Smoky in Yosemite? - which I can
pass along, I would be happy to do so.
I cannot recall dancing a modern contra in the last few years that does not
include a Partner Swing, so I have a few questions.
First, do you call any such modern dances without a partner swing? Why or
Second, if you do, do you announce it before the preceding dance so as to
inform those pairs of dancer that love to swing together?
The Tease by Tom Hinds is one such creative dance that begs to be called.