That and Adina's description of the
weekend makes me wish that I had been able to make it (though I'm not
sure I would have survived the heat....) Definitely interested in
going next year though if they have it again. From a callers
perspective it sounds like just what I would have hoped it would be
and none of what I had worried it might be.
That being said, the dance that Charlotte is calling in the video
looked like a good one, and is one that I don't have. Anyone
recognize it? What I got from the video is:
A1 P Gypsy and Sw
A2 L Chain
B1 New N B&S
B2 Gents chain
1/2 Hey (gents start by left shoulder)
At 02:20 AM 7/3/2008, you wrote:
Sorry it took me a week to respond about the
Whipperstomper. Lindsay, thanks! I'm so glad you enjoyed it that
much! It was great to see you there.
I went into the weekend with some reservations. Who would
come? What would the general attitude be? Would there be trouble
with 100 teens and 20-somethings in a state park for the
weekend? Were people open to learning? Would groups mix? Was it
going to be pro-youth, or anti-age?
Short answers: Everybody. Positive. Almost
none. Yes! Yes. Pro-youth. I'm so impressed by what happened
there I almost can't describe it.
The general attitude of the weekend, coming from the organizers and
effectively transmitted to the dancers, was that young dancers can
be a positive force in their communities. We talked about and
worked on style, dance-floor safety, encouraging and helping each
other, calling, playing for dances, and community
involvement. There was more intentional learning and discussion
than at other weekends I've been at -- the purpose wasn't only to
dance and have fun, but to build community, both with other young
dancers and with the wider community.
Dancers came from all over -- the majority from North and South
Carolina, but also from Virginia, Maryland, New York, Massachusetts,
Vermont, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, and I think a couple other
states. New England was well-represented. As Lindsay mentioned,
especially on Friday night folks danced mainly with people they
already knew, but by Sunday it was a typical dance weekend
love-fest. I was looking at the leaders of tomorrow's dance
community meeting each other, making connections, and becoming
friends, and I left feeling really good about the future of
Anglo-American folk dance.
Lindsay mentioned both the heat & lack of fans, and the passion he
saw. Those are interrelated.
There were supposed to be huge box fans for the dance hall, borrowed
from the Old Farmers Ball in Asheville, NC. Unfortunately, 2 weeks
before the Whipperstomper the ceiling collapsed in Bryson Hall at
Warren Wilson College, where the OFB weekly dance is held and the
fans are stored. (http://www.oldfarmersball.com/bryson_update.htm
for more information.) Truly miraculously, no-one was injured in
what could have been a devastating catastrophe; school had ended a
week earlier and the collapse happened a few hours before a
dance. Bryson was quarantined, so there was no way to get the fans
out. Hence the passion Linsay mentioned: In the sweltering
heat -- it was an uncooled hall in 90-some degree weather, without
fans -- there were no complaints or early check-outs, and the
dancers danced nonstop for hours.
And -- holy cow! What dancing! I've never seen such great dancing
in one place, and I say that as a dance gypsy and itinerant dance
caller. I've never called to a better group, anywhere. These kids
can DANCE! (--and do it safely, and on time!)
Watching the organizers through the process, from last fall til now,
was exciting. They did a great job, really matured in the process,
and became even better leaders. They came to see that their
responsibility within the dance community doesn't end with age x;
we're all in this together. I'm enormously proud of them! Keep in
mind that the main organizer, who drove the entire process, turned
21 that weekend. He showed incredible initiative and drive to make
it happen, learned much more than he had anticipated in the process,
and did a better job than most people probably would have
expected. For the future of the entire dance community, that
experience was priceless.
Having Ethan Hazzard-Watkins, the CDSS Youth Projects Intern, at the
weekend was a real boon. Some of the young dancers hadn't heard of
CDSS, and Ethan added a lot in outreach, information, and helping
make connections. Hopefully it will translate both to more CDSS
memberships and more participation in CDSS programs in the future.
I call the Whipperstomper was a huge success, in numerous ways. It
was terrific fun, a new generation got immersed in organizing, the
future leaders of our community made connections they'll have for
the rest of their lives, and quite a few of those southern dancers
will be making the trip to Vermont for the Youth Dance Weekend in
September. We started something good, and round 2 is sure to be even better!
Please note that though the Youth Dance Weekend Sept. 12-14
) is targeted at dancers under 35, it
is not age-restricted. Those over 35 are welcome to attend, with
higher pricing. The goal is to encourage younger dancers, and as
younger people often have lower (or no) earnings, one suggestion is
that older and more financially stable dancers consider paying the
admission of a younger dancer. If you're over 35 and still want to
attend the weekend there are options available for you.
Lindsay also mentioned the wonderful facilities at Table Rock State
Park, in South Carolina. Harvest Moon's annual dance weekend,
Moondance, is also held there, Sept 5-7 2008. A wonderful
information. Space is still available.
Thanks for asking about the weekend, Chris. I should add one more
thing -- I'm reporting this from the perspective of one of 8 or 10
people there over the age of 35, not one of the under-35
in-crowd. It was a real honor to call there.
--- On Fri, 6/27/08, callers-request(a)sharedweight.net
Date: Fri, 27 Jun 2008 10:08:56 -0400
From: "Chris Weiler (home)"
Subject: [Callers] Any Whipperstompers out there?
Anybody attend the Whipperstompers weekend a couple
of weeks ago in South Carolina? I talked with Adina
Gordon last night about it and she had some good things
to say. Adina, that's your cue to let us know how it went
and your impressions about what the organizers and
attendees took away from it. ;)
Anyone else attend and want to share their experiences?
Adina and I found out that we're both planning on
attending the Youth Dance Weekend in Vermont in
September. Anyone else going to be there?
Date: Fri, 27 Jun 2008 10:28:46 -0400
From: Lindsay Morris <lindsay(a)TSMworks.com>
Subject: Re: [Callers] Any Whipperstompers out there?
Whipperstompers was great!
Adina was great - dance games were esp cool! - the band was
excellent, and the people were very fun.
A lot of Brasstown kids hung together; a couple of people
felt a little excluded by them, but when you've got all
that history, yeah, it's hard not to bond even more....
Hot - some big box fans would have been great...
I wish I had camped - beautiful campsites close together.
Table Rock is a great facility.
Groups that meet for primarily social reasons die (or might
as well). Groups that share a passion for something grow.
When I sat out and just watched the dancers at
Whipperstompers, wow! Lots of passion there. Big
buckets of gotta-dance just overflowing.
Our contra-dance language continues to morph and grow,
beautifully. Lots of contact-improv and swing creeping in.
Outright theatrics, ending just in time to meet the next...
Many of these kids youngsters dancers grew up sleeping on
the corner of the stage, reels seeping into their
motion-fibers from age 1. So it's no wonder they move
at such a high level. Beautiful to watch.
We ARE part of a golden age, as someone said recently.
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