I have a playlist of contra videos for the uninitiated. One of them might
be from Asheville but I'm not sure.
On Mon, Nov 16, 2020 at 4:59 PM Winston, Alan P. via Contra Callers <
As someone who's deeply interested in dance
history, I can tell you that
approximately nobody cares, at least until they're invested in the dance
form. If you want you can spend 10 seconds mentioning that it's an
American cultural hybrid with roots from before the Revolution and has
contributions from different ethnicities/races including Black, White, and
Native American. Or not. If you go historical, avoid suggesting that it's
an exclusively-White cultural product.
It might be worth mentioning that it's fun we make for ourselves, that
there are regional styles, that callers and musicians are usually community
members and can be found dancing when they're not calling or playing.
I've seen at least one pretty sexy contra video from Asheville.
*From:* Adam Carlson via Contra Callers <
*Sent:* Monday, November 16, 2020 8:52 AM
*To:* callers <callers(a)lists.sharedweight.net>
*Subject:* [Callers] How to talk about contra dance to the uninitiated on
At work, we have a Fun Friday thing where someone does a 1/2 hr
presentation on something of interest. It could be travel, a hobby, or
whatever. They're asking me to do one on contra dance. In the before times
when we could do it in person, I would have taught them a simple dance to
recorded music. But I'm trying to think about what to say about contra in
1/2 an hour that'll be fun. Someone else did latin ballroom dancing and
they tried to share their screen and play a bunch of videos, which was a
total fail, but then they shared the youtube links and people loved it.
Contra isn't quite as sexy as that, and he was doing performances rather
than taking videos of salsa at the club, so it was pretty impressive.
Thoughts? I know a little about contra history, but I'm not super
passionate about it. I can certainly play a bunch of the great music. I can
show clips of large events (Folklife), techno contra, family dances, and
other variants (tractor contas, anyone).
One thing I'd love to do is to get people up and dancing, but I realize
that's probably not going to work. I regularly attend Zoom dances, but I
don't think a bunch of non-dancers will just get up and have fun having
never learned any of the moves. If anyone's got a great dance that
beginners can do (no terminology) and that's designed for singles or the
occasional couple, please share. Luckily a bunch of singles dances are
being written now, but they mostly assume an experienced audience.
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