Let me put on my grumpy hat for a moment. :-) All of us enjoy favorite
dances. However, as a caller, it is sometimes best to avoid programming
dances solely because they are personal favorites. Of course I call dances
that I like, because you have to believe in a dance to call it well. But
it's more important to select dances that are appropriate for your group,
and that fit dance-to-dance to build an enjoyable evening.
Last night I worked out my program for a dance that I'll call on Saturday.
The venue is a community hall in a seaside town. It is the Labor Day
weekend, so I'll have a mix of experienced, core-group dancers plus a lot of
beginners who will constantly be coming and going throughout the evening.
Some beginners will last for one or two dances, some will stay until the end
of the evening, and all of them will have come through the door simply
because they heard the sound of live music while walking past the building.
So I need to keep the beginners active and involved using well-taught dances
that they can learn on the fly and succeed - but I can't neglect my
experienced dancers either. The experienced dancers will understand that I
need to accommodate the beginners, but I must give them a sufficiently
varied program with enough interesting twists to let them know that their
dance desires weren't forgotten.
Later in the month I'll call at a gender-free venue, and then at a larger,
urban, experienced dance. My dance choices for those events will differ
quite a bit. It's a balancing act: accommodating peoples' abilities and
tastes, and gaining their trust and then (sometimes) moving the experience
into new territory, but without breaking the bond between caller, musicians,
Well that didn't turn out half as grumpy as I thought it would .... Bob
Robert Jon Golder
164 Maxfield Street robertgolder(a)comcast.net
New Bedford, MA 02740 (508) 999-2486 voice
From: Jeffrey M.Petrovitch
Date: Tue, 30 Aug 2005 19:29:20 -0400
Subject: [Callers] Favorite Dance...
Seems like there hasn't been too much activity... So anway, I think dance
collecting could possibly become a full time job. There are just so many
different and new dances that are out there...
And of course there are books and books and books, which are great, but there
are a lot of great dances out there that just haven't been published... If
only there were this huge contra dance composition online exchange...
But of course there is a lot of tradition and fun from passing dance to dance
from dance to dance.
I am always looking for new dances to add to my "contra dance composition
journal", so just a question to everyone, what is your favorite dance to call
and what is your favorite dance to dance...
To dance for me, I think that is very easy... No doubt being a Nelson Dancer
I am very bias and I love dancing "Chorus Jig". Nelson is where I first
learned to dance Chorus Jig, where I first learned to call Chorus Jig, and
Nelson is where I learned to love Chorus Jig.
To call for me, that is not such an easy answer... There are some many dances
I love to call, and dances that I know back and forth, forward and back, but
for some reason, everytime I try to call them, they just don't feel quite
I think if I had to pick a dance to call, as a caller, a "go-to-dance", I
would say "Trip To Lamberville" by Steve Zakon-Anderson
(8) Ladies into the center to a wave and balance
(8) Gents into the center to a wave and balance
(8) Gents allemende left 3/4 to a wave across and balance
(8) Neighbors swing
(8) Gents allemende left 1 1/2
(8) Partners swing
(8) Right and left through
(8) Ladies chain
I really love this dance and it is has become a quick modern classic I
believe. I remember when I first called this dance at Nelson, I was
horrible... Not that I hadn't call before, or hadn't called well, but I just
could not find my flow with this dance... But I kept on trying... I think it
wasn't till half a dozen times calling this dance, did I even begin to find
the flow... And now, it is a favorite dance to call...
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