Several years ago there was a national MWSD convention here in Portland. They hired a
local contra dance band, rented an hall, and put on a contra dance for the attendees.
The band invited dancers from the local contra dance community. Their callers did the
contra calling. Aside from not really being on the phrase sometimes, they did a find
job. I think they are more familiar with contra than you might think. They referred to
contra dances as ‘energizer’ dances. Will they let you invite any dancers from the local
Also, I would strongly suggest that you post this question to
trad-dance-callers(a)yahoogroups.com. That list has a good mix of MWSD and contra callers,
so you’ll get some inside advice there.
It sure sounds like to me that they liked their experience at your local dance, and want
to recreate that for their dance community. If it’s to be a monthly series, then it will
My two cents, Rich
On Feb 20, 2016, at 3:28 PM, Joseph Erhard-Hudson via
Callers <callers(a)lists.sharedweight.net> wrote:
I've been pretty low-key on calling for several years now, just a few local dances a
year. Years ago I did close to one gig a month at home and around my local region, but cut
back due to busy life. Now I've accepted an invitation for a regular gig that's
going to be a bit different, so I'm back on this email list, and I seek your advice.
A few people from the nearby Western Square Dance group came to one of our local contra
dances where I was calling, and had such a fun time they have invited me, and the band
from that evening, to come and do a monthly series in their hall, promoted and sponsored
by them. The band and I decided we'd give it a shot.
I've had barely any exposure to Western Square Dance, but I know their education
system is formalized, calling is improvised, and the music is mostly recorded; whereas in
contra dancing the education is more by assimilation, the calling is mostly fixed within a
given dance, and the music is live and improvised. I anticipate we may feel like strange
cousins to each other. Do any of you have any experiences or thoughts about crossing over
into this parallel universe of traditional dancers? I'm particularly concerned about
how I can best help them feel comfortable with the way Contra Dance is done, and how I can
be a gracious presence in their space.
Bonus question: they want to know how to split the gate, since they don't have
experience paying bands. Your thoughts?
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