I agree with your dancer friend. It's always good to have a few new and
different dances to call, but repeating old favorites is good as well.
I call regularly at the Nelson, NH dance. It happens every week on Monday
night. There are probably a half dozen or more dances that are repeated all
the time in Nelson. 3 or 4 of that group will be called every single Monday
night. In that group are Chorus Jig (always called every Monday night, for
at least 20 years), Lady Walpole's, Al's Safeway Produce, Scout House Reel,
Money Musk, Petronella's Pin, Dog Branch Reel, and a few others. Callers
will add other dances to try to keep things interesting, but it it very
possible that the same dance will be called by the same caller with the
same musicians 2, or more, weeks in a row. On a typical night there will be
3 or 4 callers, the musicians will switch 3 or 4 times, as well. But the
chances are good (1 in 3, maybe) that the first or second dance of the
night will be Lady Walpole's Reel with the same caller and musicians.
Chorus Jig is mostly likely the 5th dance of the evening, with the same
musicians each week, but the caller may vary. And there will probably be a
new dance for the dancers, as well, perhaps one recently written by one of
the callers. And dancers keep coming back, even with (or especially because
of) the repetition! I've had more than one younger dancer tell me that
Chorus Jig is their favorite dance!
Variations in the music can make the same dance moves feel much different,
especially when dancing with a different partner. Rather than calling all
different dances, I like to find ways to vary the energy level, from a high
energy dance and music, to a slower and smoother flowing dance. Also
switching from a dance that requires a lot of mental attention, to one that
can be danced while almost asleep.is an appreciated variation.
In sum, I guess i used to think that always having a new and different
dance to call was the right thing to do. Now, I don't think so. Repeating
some old favorites can be just as much fun.
On Mon, Nov 20, 2017 at 6:42 PM, Rich Sbardella richsbardella(a)gmail.com
[trad-dance-callers] <trad-dance-callers(a)yahoogroups.com> wrote:
I was programming a contra evening earlier today, taking into
consideration the abilities of the dancers in that particular dance
community. When I finished, I looked back at two previous programs for
the same venue. The dance evenings were about six months apart.
It turns out that more than half the dances I chose today were repeats
from the previous evenings, and I subsequently reprogrammed the evening.
(I usually look backwards before programming, and this was an experiment.)
I tend not to repeat dances at evenings that are close in time and/or
location, but I must acknowledge that occasionally the best choice for a
particular slot may be a repeated dance.
The question I have is what is a tolerable level of repeating dances from
one evening to another.
When I began calling contras, this was a bigger concern to me. I had four
dances in CT in four weeks, and a dancer challenged me to avoid duplicate
dances. I accepted the challenge and mostly succeeded. Anyway the dancer,
who was at all four dances, latter told me that he was only joking. He
went on to say that each evening had a different band, and that he danced
with a different partner for each dance, and that in reality they would
have felt very different to him even if I had repeated them.