--- Rickey Holt wrote:
I have just come back from a wonderful caller's workshop
--- end of quote ---
I'm guessing that this was the intermediate callers' workshop sponsored by
Country Dance and Song Society and led by Lisa Greenleaf and Brad Foster.
[Insert pitch here for everyone to join or renew their CDSS membership.]
Rickey, I'm sure many of us on the list would love to hear more details about
the workshop and what made it so successful from your point of view.
I'll pass on your first set of questions and instead will turn to the second:
In another form of dance I was taught to lean into the
direction of travel in
order to commit my weight to the dance.
The sort of motion you describe strikes me as more applicable to English country
dance, done well and vigorously, than to American contras and squares. At least
in New England style dancing, the weight is back farther, with the the heels
often touching before the toes, a walking gait or a flat footed shuffle,
depending on your own style.
In ECD, by contrast, the weight is on the balls of the feet. I've heard many ECD
leaders talk about leaning forward until you have to take a step, and using that
sort of driving motion to propel you through your steps. When you look at early
photos of dancers trained by Cecil Sharp, you see them leaning at what strikes
us now as almost impossible angles.
Now, granted, this sort of energetic movement isn't what you see in all
dancers-- in the UK, apparently, they grapple with the norm being what some have
termed the "Playford plod"-- but there are American dancers who do bring that
zest to their English country dancing.
New England style contra dancing, in contrast, when dancers go beyond the
initial flailing about in all directions phase, has a smooth, almost level
motion, not a lot of hopping or bouncing about. Granted, this can be with lots
of energy or it can be more sedate, depending on the choreography of the dance
and the music being played. At least that's how the movement goes in my vision
of how things should be. ;-)