Alan wrote, "As for me - as a dance choreographer - please feel free to
spread my dances - they are on my website, and I wrote them to go out into
the world and be fruitful and multiply and all that."
Thank you Alan for your generosity.
My comments below are related to the square dance and contra dance worlds,
since I am unaware of ECD norms.
I wish that their was a central website that could serve as a dance swap,
or dance sharing site. Any caller that wanted to make their choreo
available could then easily upload the dances, and folks like me could
easily download or at leat view the material. If a caller chose to keep
his dances proprietary, he could make that choice as well. It would be
great to be able to search for dances by title and choreography as well.
As a caller that called MWSD and has migrated to contras. it was a bit of a
surprise how some contra calllers commercially published dance choreography
for a particular set of dances. In MWSD, 64 step dances are quite the norm
for singing calls, and many callers have developed quite interesting
figures. Several callers have published compilations of singing call
figures without crediting thei original choreographers. If I danced a
figure, and I enjoyed it, it was perfectly acceptable to use that figure in
a different singing call., in fact it was encouraged. I often searched
websites, not necessarily for music to buy, but rather for dance figures.
In the contra world, I have met callers very liberal with their dances, and
they will freely provide choreography. Some are honored, or even
flattered, when another caller calls their dance. Other callers are more
protective of their choreography, for what ever reason. They may sell
that choreography in booklet or recorded form. That is certainly within
their rights. I have purchased many such booklets.
However, when I go to a dance as a dancer, I am looking for smooth and/or
interesting choreography to add to my collection of dances. I may take
notes on several dances, but I seldom use more that one or two dances that
I pick up on any given evening. I am guessing that this is ethical.
Last weekend, I danced to a caller that was new to me. He has written many
dances and I especially enjoyed two of the ones he called. When I emailed
him about the dances, he sent me the requested choreography, along with a
few others he wrote. He was more generous than I hoped for.
I also have a basement full of dance books, records and CDs by many callers
and bands. When it is available, I often take advantage of the opportunity
to purchase material as a way to support artists. I also find much
choreography on line. Youtube is a valuable resource. There are many
other resources as well. Many callers have websites with their dances
published for the free use of others.
My cards always indicate the author of the dance, or the source, if I do
not know the author, and I most often announce the author when I call
dance. The concept that someone own's choreography is difficult for me to
understand, since most dances incorporate elements of previous dances, or
moves borrowed from someone, or somewhere. I understand that
choreographers can innovate as they write dances, but really are not most,
or maybe all, dances really just variations of others, either in part or in
On Fri, Jan 22, 2016 at 10:42 PM, Winston, Alan P. via Callers <
On 1/22/2016 7:02 PM, Martha Wild via Callers wrote:
Call a dance written by someone else:
Pretty much always, is my guess. If I note down a dance at a festival and
I like it, I call it, and try to get all attributions for announcement.
Maybe if there was a caller who stipulate that no one was to call their
dances without express permission or proof they’d bought the book - but I
don’t know of a caller doing that.
Publish a dance written by someone else:
If the dance is on the author's open website,
or I know the caller
personally and know they are happy to have their dances spread throughout
the community, then fine. If a dance is in a book that one has to buy, then
never - might mention the name and author, and maybe the book, but I
wouldn’t give out the dance details. Don’t know? Don’t publish it.
I assume you're using "publish" to mean "disseminate" -
give out the
instructions on mailing lists, let people see your card, whatever.
If so, agreed! To be excessively anal about it, I would disagree if
"publish" meant "include in a collection I was putting out to sell"
(without getting express permission from the author.)
Modify, borrow from, a dance written by someone else?
Always! If it’s a small change and I’m calling it
I just give the author
credit and say it’s a slight variant (forward and back instead of circle
left for example). Using an interesting figure and sticking it in a new
context substantially different from the original - no problem, but I might
credit the original on a website for example - “inspired by Title, by
Agreed. And sometimes the name of the new dance can have a nod to the
name of the old dance.
Very different from English Country, by the way. If someone has written a
dance there, and you realize that a turn single
left would be so much more
intuitive and flow better than a turn single right, heaven forfend that you
should suggest changing the author’s original intention! Even if maybe it
was an oversight originally! Liberty is NOT to be taken, at least with
modern dances - though it’s a little grayer with traditional dances that
various people interpret differently because the original directions are
Not *always*. I have seen respected ECD leaders call things differently
than they were written, although they usually call attention to it when
doing it. I have also had someone ask me if a particular modification of a
dance I'd written - a right-hand turn instead of a g-word - was acceptable
to me, and I said "sure", and wasn't honked that he called it that way. I
was pleased when he put it on the program of a ball he was calling, and
then honked when the ball booklet had the modified version and listed the
dance as a collaboration between the two of us.
As for me - as a dance choreographer - please
feel free to spread my
dances - they are on my website, and I wrote them to go out into the world
and be fruitful and multiply and all that.
Thanks for that! I've called some of them and been happy to have them.
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