Sun Feb 5, 2017 3:45 pm (PST) . Posted by:
"Dale Wilson" bird_weaver
<<You lose the well crafted programming that you can get when one caller
does the whole evening or the whole event, but you get a lot of fun
dances and occasional awkwardness ...>>
Our (Asheville's) annual dance weekend, SplashDance, has always had open
calling all weekend long, but dancers complained on the evaluations
about the qualities described above, which often result from an open
calling format. So for several years I've been facilitating the
open-calling: callers sign-up with me ahead of time via email to get on
the list to call. There's a deadline a few days before the weekend
starts. On that day, I take the whole list and figure out how many
dance slots each caller can have, based on how many want to call, and I
do a line-up. (When they sign up, they let me know if they aren't
available any particular times during the weekend -- e.g., not arriving
til Sat.) Then, we have a programming meeting prior to each dance
session (one for Friday night, one for Sat. night, one for Sunday
afternoon). These take place at Fri & Sat dinners, and Sun. brunch --
required attendance for those on the line-up for that session, although
anyone else can sit in if they want. We all eat together and get out
our cards and put together the program. This creates a much better flow
for the dance session. It's better for the dancers, and it also takes
the pressure off all the callers from having to really attend to what
was called before their turn. The programming meetings have taken the
place of having a caller's workshop at the weekend -- basically, it's a
hands-on workshop on the art of programming. There's a lot of good
discussion about how dances do or don't fit well together, and it's a
chance to discuss ideas about mood and flow and other programming
considerations beyond the basics of not repeating signature moves too
many times, and having a good balance of smooth vs. bouncy. A few folks
have actually opted to sit in on the programming meeting just to listen,
even though they don't want to call.
It's an evolving process, and I keep tweaking it every year, but I think
it's generally worked well the last few times. It IS a lot more work
for me, but it's my contribution to the weekend, to try to help make the
calling as good as possible while still providing an open format to give
lots of participants a chance to call.
Maybe this model will be useful to others with an open-calling format
for a whole dance weekend.
I've been looking at some nineteenth-century quadrilles and am curious about one of the more common moves I see: "all chassee across."
In your opinion or experience, how exactly would this work? If four couples are moving at once, "across" is nearly impossible. Do you think they're doing a sashay around, like a promenade? Or alternating heads & sides? Something else?
Regards,Deborah HylandSt. Louis
I'm always on the lookout for ways to "sell" the traditional dances to
dancers -- IMHO, if I present a traditional dance but it's not fun, then
I'm not really doing much to keep the traditions alive. I came up with
something that worked the other night, so I'm passing it along.
One of our long-time dancers sent me a link to this video of Dudley calling
a dance in the mid-1960s: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZubTju7g_s I
figure I must have come across this before (likely via this group), but I
did not remember it, and certainly watched it a lot more closely this time
around. I noted that even though audio track of the music and calling
don't change, after the first half of the video a few different dances are
shown, including Petronella and Money Musk.
So last week, I brought a laptop to the dance (the fact that we have wifi
in our hall simplified this a lot). During the announcements before the
break, I mentioned the video, said I would show it during the break, and
announced that the first dance after the break would be one of the dances
shown in the video. I set the laptop next to the snack table and started
the clip going just as the waltz ended. It runs about 7 minutes, so running
the video twice through was about perfect for the break. Lots of people
stopped to watch at least some of the the video -- there were always at
least 20 people clustered around the laptop, watching intently. Then we
came back into the dance hall and did Petronella (though unlike the video,
we did the 'modern' version with all four participating in the balances).
End result: not one complaint about a dance with no swings and multiple
positive comments. Added bonus: our piano player was a Dudley dancer in the
early 70s and was thrilled by the video, which he had never seen.
St. Paul, MN
Deborah Hyland wrote:
<< I've been looking at some nineteenth-century quadrilles and am curious about one of the more common moves I see: "all chassee across."
In your opinion or experience, how exactly would this work? If four couples are moving at once, "across" is nearly impossible. Do you think they're doing a sashay around, like a promenade? Or alternating heads & sides? Something else? >>
Please add me to the list of folks who would like to see the context of this term. I'm not an expert on 19th century quadrilles, but I've looked at a few, and I don't recall ever seeing "all chassee across." I've seen dance recipes indicating that the heads (and later the sides) are to slide across the set past each other, but never all four couples at once. (This is not to say you're mistaken, just that some context might make things clearer.)
New book! Square Dance Calling: An Old Art for a New Century
(to be published Spring 2017)
I'm doing a session at NEFFA on calling for Barn and Community Dances. The only missing piece of my information is where to get recordings. I know there are lots of folks on this list who use recordings. Would you please point me in the right direction?
Also, do you have a suggestion for a small and portable sound system? I know we discussed this not that long ago.