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?
Would love to get suggestions for simpler contras containing a
hey-for-three with 3 people. Looking to set a foundation with the sequence
in the earlier part of an evening. Ideally a duple minor but willing to
consider other settings.
Yes, I'm working through the Caller's Box listings but it would be great to
have suggestions from personal experience.
Trying to track down name + author for two deliiightful dances I had at
Dance Flurry, can anyone help?
Dance the first, improper:
A1: circle L 1x
N two-hand turn 1.5
A2: larks alle. L 1.5
half hey (P by R)
B1: P balance and swing
B2: long lines, lark roll partner away
circle R 3/4
Dance the second, improper, starts in short waves:
A1: bal. wave, spin R
N pull by L, ravens chain
A2: full hey (ravens by R)
B1: P balance and swing
B2 ...? (circle L 3, pass thru and dosido I think?)
I called George's dance at the Charlotte NC dance Monday night. One of our dancers wore yellow suspenders in George's honor.And we danced with each other as if each next person in line was our favorite dancer - George made us feel that way.Gretchen Caldwell
On Tuesday, February 26, 2019, 4:07:36 PM EST, callers-request(a)lists.sharedweight.net <callers-request(a)lists.sharedweight.net> wrote:
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1. Re: In honor of George Rettie (Polly Minstrel)
2. Re: In honor of George Rettie (Lisa Greenleaf)
Date: Mon, 25 Feb 2019 20:05:15 -0500
From: Polly Minstrel <minstrel.polly(a)gmail.com>
To: Emily Rush <em.rush(a)gmail.com>
Cc: "Caller's discussion list" <callers(a)sharedweight.net>
Subject: Re: [Callers] In honor of George Rettie
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
Thanks for the info. I did not know George but these dance events run on
the work of volunteers and I appreciate them.
I will be calling Dean's dance on Friday, along with a short introduction
Condolences to all who called him friend.
On Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 10:55 AM Emily Rush via Callers <
> Hi all,
> George Rettie, the NC dancer in the yellow ruler suspenders, passed away
> unexpectedly this week. He'd been dancing since at least the 1980's, and it
> was a rare dance that he didn't attend. He was always the first to
> volunteer (and did, more hours than I can count), personally thanked the
> musicians and callers, danced with beginners, dipped everyone beautifully
> and frequently, flirted with us all, could call one dance (Gene Hubert's "A
> Nice Combination"), brought his children into the dance community, and was
> a favorite partner to many, many dancers.
> Myra, Adina, and JoLaine are calling a dance that Dean Snipes wrote for
> George some years ago. If you're calling sometime soon and are so moved, I
> would like to invite you to call it too. If you're dancing, I hope you'll
> go up to the stage and thank the musicians and callers, welcome the
> beginners, and have an extra-good time.
> George is Rettie, Willing, and Able
> by Dean Snipes
> Indecent (2s crossed), double progression
> Neighbor balance & swing
> Pass thru across, turn alone
> Star R 1x, pull by up and down with your neighbor
> New ladies allemande L 1x while gents orbit 1/2 clockwise
> Partner swing
> Long lines forward & back
> Ladies right hand pull by, neighbor allemande L 1.5
> List Name: Callers mailing list
> List Address: Callers(a)lists.sharedweight.net
> Archives: https://firstname.lastname@example.org/
George Rettie, the NC dancer in the yellow ruler suspenders, passed away
unexpectedly this week. He'd been dancing since at least the 1980's, and it
was a rare dance that he didn't attend. He was always the first to
volunteer (and did, more hours than I can count), personally thanked the
musicians and callers, danced with beginners, dipped everyone beautifully
and frequently, flirted with us all, could call one dance (Gene Hubert's "A
Nice Combination"), brought his children into the dance community, and was
a favorite partner to many, many dancers.
Myra, Adina, and JoLaine are calling a dance that Dean Snipes wrote for
George some years ago. If you're calling sometime soon and are so moved, I
would like to invite you to call it too. If you're dancing, I hope you'll
go up to the stage and thank the musicians and callers, welcome the
beginners, and have an extra-good time.
George is Rettie, Willing, and Able
by Dean Snipes
Indecent (2s crossed), double progression
Neighbor balance & swing
Pass thru across, turn alone
Star R 1x, pull by up and down with your neighbor
New ladies allemande L 1x while gents orbit 1/2 clockwise
Long lines forward & back
Ladies right hand pull by, neighbor allemande L 1.5
Hi all, first time posting here!
I'm new-ish to calling and I've yet to call contra corners. I think I'm up
for the challenge and could teach the figure itself, but I still think it's
a tricky one for dancers in all but the most experienced crowds. A few
callers I know have advised me to build up to a challenging figure like
contra corners over the course of an evening by calling dances that echo
the skills the dancers will need later.
With that in mind, what dances would you call early in the evening in a
mixed-level group that would help "teach" dancers the skills they need to
be successful at contra corners?
I've been thinking I should include an easy proper-ish dance, and maybe a
dance with allemandes outside the minor set... anything else come to mind?
Thanks in advance,
Linda posted many of her dances on her website. With the original site gone, I’d like to share the copy I preserved. I plan to keep it up for a very long time.
If you have bookmarks that used to point to http://www.lindalesliecaller.website/, you should be able to use change them to this new site.
Peace, through dance,
I very much second Alex Deis-Lauby's recommendations. The difficulty in a
contra corners figure in contra formation is two-fold: the out-of-minor-set
interaction and the short allemandes. If you can get the dancers to do
short allemandes earlier in the evening and use a dance without interaction
outside the minor set (as in, a triplet or 3-face-3), then you've prepared
them for one point of difficulty and removed the other.
My favorite triplet for contra corners is "Microcasmic Triplet" by Ann
Fallon and my favorite in 3-face-3 formation is "Down by the Riverside" by
Melanie Axel-Lute. The choreography for both are in others' responses.
If you determined to call contra corners in contra formation, I recommend
"Labor of Love" by Kathy Anderson (choreography here:
because it uses a box-the-gnat to get actives to trade places before the
contra corners figure, rather than a half-figure-eight, which is much more
difficult for newer dancers. "Labor of Love" also allows ones and twos to
trade off being active.
dugan at duganmurphy.comwww.DuganMurphy.comwww.PortlandIntownContraDance.comwww.NufSed.consulting
> Date: Wed, 20 Feb 2019 16:37:54 -0500
> From: Hannah Chamb <hannahchamb(a)gmail.com>
> To: callers(a)lists.sharedweight.net
> Subject: [Callers] Building to Contra Corners
> Hi all, first time posting here!
> I'm new-ish to calling and I've yet to call contra corners. I think I'm up
> for the challenge and could teach the figure itself, but I still think it's
> a tricky one for dancers in all but the most experienced crowds. A few
> callers I know have advised me to build up to a challenging figure like
> contra corners over the course of an evening by calling dances that echo
> the skills the dancers will need later.
> With that in mind, what dances would you call early in the evening in a
> mixed-level group that would help "teach" dancers the skills they need to
> be successful at contra corners?
> I've been thinking I should include an easy proper-ish dance, and maybe a
> dance with allemandes outside the minor set... anything else come to mind?
> Thanks in advance,
> Hannah Chamberlain
> Westbrook, ME