One other thing you might encounter is different interpretations of language and timing. So for example I've seen MWSD groups perform a "do-si-do" as a four-count swing rather than an 8-count back-to-back. And I've seen chains take six counts, with the other two counts spent wondering why the caller hasn't prompted the next move already.

You may not see these things, per se, but be flexible if they interpret your call differently than you intended -- mentally acknowledge that they correctly interpreted your call, and if it needs to be different for contra reasons just explain that you're asking them to do that thing a little differently tonight.

You might look at the list of things that they will already know: and look for "Basic/Mainstream List." 

And have fun. The fun is what it's all about.


Jerome Grisanti

"Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it." --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 9:35 AM, Rich Sbardella via Callers <> wrote:
Tom and Joseph,
The organization Tom referred to is called ContraLab.  It still exists, but is quite small.  Several of the contra callers at last summer's National Square Dance Convention, in Massachusetts, were ContraLab members.
One book by Don Armstrong is called "Contras...with 101 Ready to Call Contras".  It was published in 1973 by Sets in Order.
Rich Sbardella
Stafford, CT

On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 9:08 AM, Tom Hinds via Callers <> wrote:


Everyone's given you great advice.

If I were doing this I would use music that they're more used to for the first evening.  And I'd use dances that they can more easily relate to (see below).  That might make for a easier transition and more acceptance (and therefore more enjoyment).

I don't know about now but at one time there was a western contra dance movement.  I'm sure the dances they used would be perfect for your group.  One source for material is a book on contras put out by Sets in Order.  You want my copy?  And Don Armstrong put out a collection of dances.  Sorry I don't recall the name of the book.  I think a good number of the dances in both collections have no or little swinging and also include many of the moves they are familiar with like flutterwheel etc.  Maybe google western contra.

As far as I can tell the music they use(d) is recorded but phrased farily well.

Callers mailing list

Callers mailing list