To my mind a lot of the pleasure of dancing is the music and being in time with it.
So if I am calling for non-dancers I often start with Galopede and ask the band for
something with an obvious rhythm – Winster Gallop is 2 bars, 2 bars 4 bars for the
forward, back, cross, polkas are also good.
Gets them moving to the music.
But when I call Barley reel (a simple strip the willow dance) or Waves of the Sea (my
simplified random progression dip-and-dive dance) it takes as long as it takes. Not that
dip-&-dive is ideal with elderly shoulders
And for any other dance that gets out of time, so be it.
In the UK I often find that the older the dancers the more likely they are to remember the
basics from school.
Couple dances (non-progressive) like the (Canadian) barn dance, Gay Gordons, St Bernard
Waltz etc. are good, people can come onto the floor when they like, dropout when they’ve
Also, give them permission to adapt. “There may be time to swing”. “If it goes wrong stand
opposite your partner”. “When in doubt, cheat” Our club had a lot of members in our 70s +
. We find our own ways. Some don’t like turning single. Some go forward and back instead
of do-se-do. And on dances that are likely to be rushed I tell people which bits can be
Sent from Mail for Windows 10
From: Robert Livingston rlivngstn(a)yahoo.com [trad-dance-callers]
Sent: 08 May 2018 05:53
Subject: Re: [trad-dance-callers] Dances for Elderly Dancers
Ridge and all,
Certain groups are comfortable with their own timing at any age. Community dance is a
social dance. It's not a performance or a re-creation.
It belongs to those on the floor. Patricia Campbell's - main thing remark - is well
Dudley Laufman has reiterated this point in these discussion groups. I was at a Dudley
dance Saturday night. It's a community dance
held monthly. Folks drift in from 7 till 7:45 or so, and it can end early, some time
after 9, or go till 10pm. It's not large. Saturday's
dancers were younger but "never done this before" types to seniors to a core of
regulars. There was good music, there was rhythm and
cadence in the caller's voice. There was NOT the strictest phrasing - nor even in the
couple of singing calls.
The dancers were still there at 10:00pm
On Monday, May 7, 2018, 10:57:33 PM EDT, Patricia Campbell countrydancecaller(a)gmail.com
[trad-dance-callers] <trad-dance-callers(a)yahoogroups.com> wrote:
The main thing I'd suggest is to not worry about going over a phrase of music -
Fail-safe ones that I've used:
Any La Bastringue-type dance - with do-si-do and either short or no swing and then
promenade - lots of built-in time to finish a figure.
Visiting couple square dance - again - forget staying on the phrase - great when it
happens/fine when it doesn't.
Virginia Reel (tell them they can walk, they don't have to sashay if it's not safe
for them); reeling the set it optional (you can demonstrate and see if any want to try
Email me if you'd like a few more that I've used at senior centers.
Patricia Campbell, Dance Caller
On Mon, May 7, 2018 at 10:26 PM, Ridge Kennedy srk3nn3dy(a)gmail.com [trad-dance-callers]
I'm doing a dance for folks in a retirement community. I'd appreciate any
thoughts about the "bulletproof" dances you use for an older and I suspect
slower group. Please share.
Ridge Kennedy [Exit 145]
When you stumble, make it part of the dance.
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