I went to the demo contra last year. I had only been doing contra for a year and found it
a little intimidating to ask strangers out of the crowd to join us.
For me, it would've been great to add in the FB announcement a little blurb about
having experienced dancers ask the crowd to join before each dance. That way those of us
who might be intimidated by that can prepare a little mentally for the task..... I love
the ideas Linda wrote for an initial crowd gathering technique.
I'd also really LOVE to do a REAL flash mob contra sometime, and maybe we can get
someone to do a nice video for BACDS. Could be a fabulous promo.
It would be cool to start with a violin and 2 couples , then have folks/musicians dribble
in by 1s or 2s. Obviously everyone knows the first dance by heart already. Then the
caller comes at the end to start a new dance!
Thanks for doing that again Alan! Looks like a great time.
Date: Sun, 26 Jul 2015 20:52:13 -0700
From: Alan Winston via Callers <callers(a)lists.sharedweight.net>
Subject: [Callers] "Flash Mob" dances
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Over in San Jose we've just done a second annual not-really-flash-mob
dance. Symphony Silicon Valley does a free public series of Pops
concerts, get permission from them, pick one, get a bunch of volunteer
dancers and a pickup band, print up some flyers and put up a sign with
the sponsoring organization logo and URL, We put up a sign with the name
of the organization, set up in the path of foot traffic to the concert
spot, and do an hour and a half (or so) of easy contra dances,
encouraging passersby to join in and hooking them up with
This is successful in terms of getting some exposure, and today we got
somewhere between a half-dozen and a dozen new people to actually try
it, and probably moved 25 flyers. Nobody got hurt, some of the dancers
stayed for several dances, etc. We flushed out some old square dancers
(who of course wanted to swing once around and wait for the next call)
and some previous non-dancers of various ages.
(I was calling. First round was missing many volunteer dancers and had
multiple newbies, so I did a one-night-stand dance ("Up the Sides and
Down the Middle") rather than a duple-minor contra; then Cranky
Ingenuity, Inflation Reel, Kitchen Stomp, and Delphiniums and Daisies.)
Posting to ask if people who've done this kind of thing have any tips or
tricks to get things going.
As caller I relied on my volunteer dancers to do the recruiting, and
people had different comfort and skill levels doing that. Is there
something I can tell them that will increase their comfort in talking to
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