I haven't found any other videos of "Cows Are
but on looking back through recent messages, I see that Vicki Morrison
mentioned one she made with Cis Hinkle calling at Mentone. Here it is:
And here are a couple more:
And here's a video of Rick Mohr's "Laura's Zigzag":
Michael Dyck's contra dance index
cites sources for instructions for "Cows Are Watching" and "Laura's
and also for "Weave the Line", which I mentioned in my previous message (and
also for thousands of other dances).
Y'all can watch the videos, read the instructions, and draw your own
conclusions about how practice compares with theory, and about whether
there are any cases where you'd want to expend effort changing that.
On Mar 25, 2017, at 1:20 PM, James Saxe
The dance "Cows Are Watching" can be seen in this video.
You can all watch for yourselves and judge how long dancers are taking
for the various parts and how leisurely or rushed the action appears
to be. It seems to me that men are usually starting their allemandes
sometime between beats 13 and 15 of B1, and more often a shade before
beat 14 than a shade after.
According to the YouTube timer, the time for 12x64 beats of music (from
a beat near the start of the videao to a beat at the same point in the
tune near the end) is about 6:20, giving an average tempo a little over
121 b.p.m. The hall is not crowded, so dancers have ample space for
the roll-away in beats 5-8 of B1. In some cases, but not all, dancers
appear already to have started to veer ("zig") left by beat 8. The
general skill level of the dancing is pretty high, with only occasional
mind lapses and not a lot of fumbling around or confusion about what to
do next. Perhaps the typical timing of the zig zag would be different
with a different tempo of music, a more crowded floor, or a different
mix of dancer skills, or with a caller who made a big point about
asking dancers to take a full four beats to zig left.
I haven't found any other videos of "Cows Are Watching", but here's a
video of "Weave the Line":
It seems to me that dancers are completing the sequence
Veer (zig) left past current neighbors
Veer (zag) right to face next neighbors and keep veering
right to pass them
Veer left to face third neighbors
pretty much within the first 8 beats of A2, though they may sometimes
be stealing a beat from the figure before (circle left) and/or from
the figure after (do-si-do third neighbor).
On Mar 25, 2017, at 11:43 AM, Jerome Grisanti via Callers
I tend to think of the zig as four beats and the
zag as four more. Four total would be zesty or rushed, depending on the crowd and music.
On Friday, March 24, 2017, Tom Hinds via Callers <callers(a)lists.sharedweight.net>
I believe that zig left, zag right normally takes 4 beats. If the dancers zag a little
farther so men can easily take a left hand that would take an additional 2 beats for a
total of 6 counts. I'll confirm the timing this Saturday.
For me there's this issue of how much we ask the dancers to adjust. It seems that
asking dancers to adjust is common in English and perhaps less common in contra.