I’m curious: what were the two dances that DeLaura led at Ogontz?
My series has been going since 1994. Generally it’s monthly from November through April.
I am the regular caller.
In the early years, I was inspired by seeing Peter Amidon and Andy Davis leading family
dances, and I used a lot of their repertoire:
Chimes of Dunkirk
Bridge of Athlone
Sweets of May
Old King Glory
Brandy Rump Bump
Head and shoulders
Down in the Valley
Little Johnny Brown
Step it Down
Chee Chee Cha
Heel & Toe Polka
As the years went on, I learned more and more fun unique dances. Another factor in my
repertoire change was my change in attitude. I became disenchanted with the evolution of
the contra scene, with dance evenings becoming monotone. Contras only. No more circle
mixers or squares. No more chestnut contras. Very few easy contras. Choreography that
is “unforgiving”. So I quit calling at contra series and for the last ten years or so, all
of my dances are family and community dances.
I find that lots of contra callers seem to want to groom the children to become contra
dancers, and their choice of dances at the family dances are generally just simple
My goal is to provide a fun, exciting repertoire of dances appropriate for young children.
Some may be a bit like contras, and some dances are totally different
We have several dances that children request at most of the family dances:
Hoe Ana (Polynesian sit-down canoeing dance I learned from Sanna Longden)
Old Dan Tucker (longways dance I learned from a PE teacher)
Any dance with a “Peel the Banana” figure, like Virginia Reel, Sweets of May, or Bridge of
Funga Alafia (West African dance)
Other dances the children love, but don’t request necessarily:
Zemer Atik (Israeli dance)
Looking for a Friend aka Hang Peng You (Chinese)
7 Jumps (Danish, learned from Marian Rose and many other sources)
Mi Cuerpo Hace Musica (Puerto Rican)
Dance du Castor (Quebecois)
Baanopstekker (Dutch dance)
Can’t Jump Josie (American singing game)
Clap Your Hands (American)
Buffalo Gals (Square)
Chay Chat Koolay (West African)
Yan Petit (Catalonian)
Le Bus (Quebecois)
Damat Halayi (Turkish)
Penguin Dance (I forgot where I got this)
Marching Through Georgia (Square)
On Oct 17, 2017, at 1:37 PM, Emily Addison via
Organizers <organizers(a)lists.sharedweight.net> wrote:
Hi Paul, Perry, Jeff, Chrissy, and David, AND others too!
Thanks so much for all the feedback. :) I wasn't online for about four days so
I've just been catching up and am learning SOOO much!
I'm going to follow up with a few of you regarding some additional questions that
your posts peaked.
I'm curious though about PROGRAMMING for FAMILY DANCES.
This is something that Jeff and David both brought up... the idea of perennial favourites
I'm wondering if there are specific dances that your family dance series LOVES or
goes over really well. For instance, I remember two that DeLaura Padovan did at the
Ogontz family week that kids just went crazy for. And they clearly had done them previous
years... everyone was SOOO into them.
I hadn't thought about the idea of consistency and kids being able to ask for dances
they really liked etc until Jeff and David raised these ideas.
Having a repertoire of some super awesome crowd pleasers would be great.
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