A contra medley is a string of several different dances with no breaks and no walk
throughs. This idea was pioneered by Susan Elberger and the first was done, I believe, at
the New England Folk Festival (NEFFA) weekend in April 1984. These sessions proved very
popular there. Indeed, it is necessary for the callers to be easily heard and the sound
people have to adjust so that occurs. The challenge, like that in MWSD, is thinking and
reacting quickly to new situations. One of the best medleys I danced had each dance
being done only twice, so things changed all the time. But, even messing up in a medley
can be fun. I remember one medley at NEFFA where one of the middle callers was so faint
we could not hear what they were saying. So the entire room made sure to do something
and progress each time through the music and were ready when the next caller started and
we knew what to do. It was a blast.
On Apr 17, 2016, at 2:18 PM, Jonathan Sivier via
Callers <callers(a)lists.sharedweight.net> wrote:
That would be medley of tunes during the course of a single dance. Some bands do this
all the time, some occasionally and some never. I think what is being discussed here is a
medley of dances (the figures), which may or may not include a change of tunes. Typically
the caller will select a small set of dances, say 3, and call each of them a few times
before switching to the next dance. If you coordinate with the band you can have them
change tunes at the same time you change to a different dance. Sometimes you will return
to the initial dance at the end to finish out the medley.
As has been mentioned this means that the dancers need to be listening because the
dance will change and they can't zone out as is sometimes the case. So if the caller
can't be heard clearly this can be a problem.
Caller of Contra, Square, English and Early American Dances
jsivier AT illinois DOT edu
Dance Page: http://www.sivier.me/dance_leader.html
Q: How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?
A: It depends on what dance you call!
On 4/17/2016 1:08 PM, Rod and Chris Krehbiel via Callers wrote:
I am assuming that a 'medley' in contra
dancing means that the band will
play a series of different songs--usually 3--in immediate succession
with no noticeable break between them, but that the dancers will
continue to dance the same figure that they began with the walk-thru.
And that once the dancers have 'mastered' that figure, they eventually
will not need any further verbal cues from the caller, even though the
music changes. Is that correct, or do some have a different definition
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