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
Two questions. First I collected the following dance long ago. Does anyone know the author and title?
A1: Circle L 3/4
Flatten circle to wavy line or 4, woman in middle.
Balance wave. W alla main L 1 x.
A2: N Bal & Swing.
B1: Circle L 3/4
Flatten circle to wavy line of 4, women in middle.
Balance wave. W alla main L 1 x.
B2: P Bal & Swing.
Slide L to progress.
In this dance, the A and B parts are essentially mirror image repetitions of each other. Do you know of any other dances where the A and B parts repeat in a similar way? The only other dance that I know of that does this is Chart Guthrie’s Hey in the Barn.
Thanks, Rich Hart.
Sent from my iPhone
I am calling a 2 hour Intro to Contra dance ....at an Ontario Canada
Festival. ( more a music focus than a dance focus, at this festival)
I would appreciate hearing from you as to contra dances ( lws proper
& Improper) that you have found successful with very novice dancers and why
you think those dances work for beginners.(I love Larry Jennings definition
of easy vs complicated )
I do plan on doing some non progressive lws as well as a both a circle and
a Sicilian circle in the program mix , to get the concept of progression.
Thanks so much.
Lorraine Sutton ( lorrainesutton7(a)gmail.com )
Hello all -- I'm traveling to Santa Cruz in August to call a
community-level dance at a family event of an old and dear friend.
I need to put together a band and would VERY MUCH welcome contact info of
coastal musicians, or dance organizers/callers likely to have a contact
list of good prospects.
There's a respectful budget for the gig, and even a finder's/booker's fee
Amy (in Vermont!)
Hi Cheryl and all,
I'm glad you like the dance, it's called Easy Progressive Contra 3
I don't specify how much to move the circles or stars in A1 and A2 but just say
for 8 beats. I tell them they will end of back where they started because moving
directions cancel out each time.
Also I didn't specify the type of stars but stress the A1/A2 transition is to
keep moving and
put your 'inside' (left) hand in. This is to get them to learn to move the stars
first and make the
grip on the move. Also they don't need to know which hand is left, as they
should use the hand
closest to the center.
If the dancer look up to it, I suggest the option to communicate with your Nbr
in B2 and choose
to allemand 1x or 2x.
On 25/07/2018 11:33 a.m., Cheryl Joyal via Callers wrote:
> One of my favorite is Easy Progressive Contra - I find it works better for me
> with beginners, because the couples do-si-do 1+1/2 in Family Contra seems to
> confuse people (or I dont teach it well!)
> Easy Progressive Contra (by ???)
> *A1*(8) Circle Left 1X
> (8) Circle Right 1X
> *A2*(8) Star Left - Hands across
> (8) Star Right - Hands across
> *B1*(8) Women Do-si-do
> (8) Men Do-si-do
> *B2*(8) Neighbor allemande Right 1x
> (8) Neighbor Balance and Pull by to New Ne’s
> Cheryl Joyal
> clmjoyal(a)gmail.com <mailto:email@example.com>
> clmjoyal(a)aol.com <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>
> 630-667-3284 (cell)
I'm posting a new dance of mine - the hook is a half hey into a long wavy line of gents in the center. Haven't seen it before, and I'm wondering if anyone knows of other dances with this figure. Also, I looked for other dances called the Portland Reel and couldn't find any, but if that name has been used let me know.
Other feedback welcome:
Dugan’s Duck Dynasty (Becket) Chuck Abell 7/18
(aka The Portland Reel)
A1 Half hey, gents pass left to start (8)
Same gents take left hands in center to make long wavy line of gents (4)*
Gents bal left/right (4)
A2 Gents alle left 1 1/4x (4)
N swing (12)
B1 On right diagonal ladies chain to shadow (if someone is there) (8)
(w/ current N) LHS 1x (8)
B2 P dosido and swing (16)
w/ these N…
*Gents be sure to take four full steps/beats to get into the middle