I've danced to both versions of techno contras, and either called or played
music for both, too. The earlier techno contras I danced at, including at
Youth Dance Weekend in 2008 and 2009, were the long-format version. People
just put in a CD they'd mixed ahead of time, or something like that, and
let it go the whole dance, and the callers called a few different dances in
a medley. I've never done one of those at a normal dance, rather than a
dance weekend. So the crowd always knew what they were doing, no beginners
to integrate, several callers who would just take over and call when they
felt like switching dances. I don't think it works very well for a normal
dance, but it's fine for a late-night activity when somebody just wants to
pop in a CD and get going, or if you want to have a long medley with a
bunch of experienced dancers.
I don't think I've ever called for the more common kind of techno contra,
the kind you'd find Douple Apex or Firecloud or DJ Improper or Phase X or
whatnot performing. I've played music for it, though. As a dancer, I
definitely have preferred the continuous kind, since, well, it's always a
lot of fun dancers just having a good time long after sane dancers have
gone to bed. And I've never objected to chaotic partner and role
switching. But I think the second version works better for a regular
series, since you can teach each dance, switch partners in an orderly
fashion, or otherwise run the night like a typical contra dance.
So, I basically see these two versions of techno contra as fulfilling
totally different needs. As far as where goes, I think I've only danced
continuous-style techno contra at YDW, and that's the only time I've called
for a techno contra, except for one or two dances at Glen Echo near DC. I
think there was a 30- or 40-minute medley at one of the Spark in the Darks
with Double Apex in the Boston area that I also danced at, but I don't
remember for sure. As far as the normal contra-style techno dances, I've
danced them in several places along the east coast, mainly in the DC and
Boston areas (and have played for them a couple times in DC).
On Mon, Apr 7, 2014 at 1:30 PM, Les Addison <les.addison(a)gmail.com> wrote:
I've done both as a dancer, and as a caller,
I've only done a slot as a
regular length dance.
I've also danced to both live music and DJed music at techno contras.
As a dancer, I prefer to have the dances be of a length that I expect-- it
keeps me from needing to negotiate with my partner when to jump in/how long
to dance. I've done techno contras with some really awesome callers, and
most of them seem to end up with a bit more challenge about tracking where
we are in the dance, so end up with a bit of calling to correct the
dancers, and I feel like a continuous dance setup would make that even
I would have preferred, when doing the long long dances, to have been told
that it was not only okay to drop out at the end, but expected.
On Mon, Apr 7, 2014 at 9:46 AM, Kalia Kliban <kalia(a)sbcglobal.net> wrote:
I have a question about two different styles of techno contra. The
question is mostly directed at folks who have done both, since I'm
about whether you have a preference and if so,
why. Some techno contras
have continuous music -- the dancers just drop in or out at the bottom
whenever they feel like it, and the caller treats the night like one long
medley. The other kind is more like a regular contra. The caller
a dance, the music starts, the dance runs for
however long it runs, and
then it stops and folks re-partner for the next one.
As a dancer, which style do you prefer? How about as a caller?
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