Cool Hip Dancers
Musician Noah Van Norstrand is part of the Great Bear Trio with his brother, Andrew, and their mother. They play traditional tunes and they play some sets of original and untraditional material They also sponsor the Great Bear Groove, a lively dance event over Memorial Day weekend where I'll be calling this year.
Noah created a wonderful animation aimed at the "cool, hip dancers" who flock to the center set of some dance halls and will only dance there. In it, he skewers some of the attitudes that make some of us callers cringe. I love that this was created by someone who is not a curmudgeonly old-timer but rather by someone who is very involved in today's dance scene and is clearly a keen observer. Thanks, Noah!
A Night To Remember
In the video about the Norwich contra dance with Northern
Spy, musician Rick Barrows muses, "Sometimes it's ordinary and sometimes
it's magical; you just have to keep showing up." Saturday night was one of
those nights we'll all remember. Here's a link to the video footage from that night.
Planning a dance program
in a dance program?
was struck once again, as I was planning my English country dance for
Sunday, at the number of variables that get juggled to make a good
start out by knowing that you want some simpler dances at the start.
There's always a good chance that there will be less experienced
dancers and maybe some—hooray!—who have never done this form of
dance before. Those simpler dances give folks a chance to learn some
of the basic terminology, which can be a confusing blur of jargon to
an outsider's ear: "set and turn single," crossover mirror
heys," "half a double figure eight," and so on.
other great thing about simpler dances is that the experienced
dancers can spend more time dancing and less feeling that they need
to help the newcomers.
One Sunday night about six months ago,
I was calling at a community dance an hour from home. Good band of
talented young musicians and a friendly crowd. We had some hard-core
contra dancers—one of whom left early on, perhaps because the first
few dances weren't challenging enough for his taste—and some
absolute beginners, with a nice mix of ages. One young girl, maybe 4
or 5, apparently comes often; she was dancing with her dad and she
had clearly absorbed the most important things to know: keep smiling,
look at the people around you, keep moving, and hold out your hands.
Later in the evening, second dance after the break, we were down to
short sets, 7 or 8 couples in each. I looked at one line, saw a bunch of adults, and announced Money Musk, a tune
the band had been itching to play and a dance that I knew would be
familiar to many of those present at that time. No sooner had I had
announced the dance than I noticed a different young girl lined up in