Well I find that church gig are easier in that people are polite - get up when you ask
them, look after the little ones etc.
But if numbers are really small they might be self conscious about getting up, and you
don't want to nag them if they need a rest.
Make the most of your musicians - let them play between dances, suggest that people make
up their own dance (but they will probably rest and chat).
Use couple dances like Gay Gordons, Barn Dance, St Bernard Waltz, Rosza. They have the
advantage that people can drop out when tired, or watch for a bit then join in.
Snowball - you can start with 2 people ( or 2 couples) R hand turn (star), Lh turn(or
star), circle L, circle R, swing Promenade and find another couple (or person).
There are dances for 5 & 7 people - domino 5, 7 of diamonds
A lot of Community dances are not really fussy about how many couples. E.g.Galopede, which
I do in one long set, or sometimes wait till they all get up, then divide them at about
the middle. Blaydon races, Circassian circle (can share a partner if odd no.)
So at that kind of do most of my dances are flexible numbers. E.g. I adapted a square (was
called Katy Jane) Katy Jane's Chicken. Circle l & r, no 1 lady let go no2 man, all
keep hold, 2s arch, 1st lady leads a thread the needle, swing partner, in and out twice.
If there are a lot of children I number people not couples, and everyone has a turn at
leading. It's the dance I fall back on if I asked for squares and 5 or 6 couples get
up - there are times when you can see you need to adapt. (and I hate telling people to sit
Some of the Sicilian circle dances (Balance the Star) can be done without the progression,
or with a random progression.
Dashing White sergeant 3 people (ring of 3 instead of 6, the rest is for 3 anyway) or for
6, 9, etc.
Horse & Buggy (which I got from this site and find useful), 4 people but you can do
most of it as a 3, 2, or even alone (I sometimes get them practising the steps alone)
Search this site for any dances Dudley has put on.
Good luck (bet there will be plenty there - but no harm to be prepared)
----- Original Message -----
From: contra_groups_yahoo(a)veino.com [trad-dance-callers]
Sent: Tuesday, January 26, 2016 3:55 PM
Subject: [trad-dance-callers] ONS with a *tiny* inexperienced crowd?
I've agreed to an extremely last minute "Hoe Down" gig this Saturday for a
local church, where I'm promised 25-75 people of mixed ages. No dance experience at
I've reset their expectation to a family/barn dance - no cowboy outfits on the
performers, no line dances. They asked for some squares - ok. If the crowd is really that
size, I'm all set. Have the material, live music with a contra and squares, etc.
fiddler & piano player. Good to go.
My nightmare is there's only 5 people that show, say: a toddler, a teen, 2 parents
and a grandparent. I have a few things we could do with that small number of inexperienced
folks, but not enough to fill 2 (fun) hours.
Any ideas on what you'd do/use in that instance? I'm all ears!
(and yes, I've taken note of the recent 9-person threads)