One of the great things about the community aspect of the folk community is how it translates to the Internet now that it has become so pervasive:Kickstarter
: unsurprisingly, this crowdfunding resource is being used toward funding folkie projects as well such as Doug Plummer's 2014 Contra Dance Calendar
. Dance Video Archive
: This site, which seems to be run by Bob Green, crowdsources videos of CDSS member organizations' dances.Various entries to Wikis (such as this one on Wikia) and
crowdsourced attempts to identify dancers/band members
help to chronicle the ongoing contra dance movement and keep the community aspect of this even in the digital age. I find it very interesting that while the times have changed, the values and community norms do not seem to have changed very much at all.
Like a lot of you, I go surfing around on the web for other folks' opinions. While some of the things I've stumbled across have inspired posts, others are interesting to me, even if the subject matter goes a bit beyond this blog's focus. Sometimes especially when it does. To wit:The F Yeah Contra Dance Tumblr: There is some NSFW language on this one, but this Tumblr has become a recent addition to my regular reading. I am unsurprisingly quite fond of this post about "qualifications" for dance partners
. Sexism in the Dance Hall
: Idzie (sorry, couldn't find her last name on there)'s reminder to all of us not to be jerky when people sit out (heads up, some NSFW language). Homophobia and Contra
: Jeff Kaufman ponders the difference between two women dancing together and two men dancing together, and what moves are thought to end up being uncomfortable for the latter, but not the former.RebeccaBrightly.com
: Rebecca is in the swing/Lindy community in Seattle, WA, but I'm finding that a lot of what she writes has applications to social dance in general, including contra.The Ambidancetrous Tumblr
: Again, the focus seems to be on swing dancing, but some of it can be translated to other social dance, like contra.... I know we sometimes get chatting about gender-free dancing and dancing switch or dancing roles that traditionally would not be danced by people of our genders, and this explores it a little more in-depth.
Over the course of every month or two I find relevant things online; today's installation includes Celtic music fusing with electronica and some contra dance links to the mainstream -- be it through newspapers, new dancer outreach, or making sure our community stays a safe and fun place.
When I'm surfing around the Internet, I sometimes stumble across fun things and things that are thought-provoking. It's particularly fun when those fun and thought-provoking things happen to revolve around DJ culture or social dance or music or just fun folkie things. Here are a few I've found lately, in no particular order:
- Wolf's Head and Vixen: This is a border morris side in the U.K. that's decided to embrace its collective inner Goth.
- Etiquette Hell's Feel Good Friday: It's always good to see Perpetual e-Motion get mentioned in places that aren't strictly devoted to contra.
- The Dubstep Blog: Just what it says; expanding one's musical horizons is fun!
- A Young Person's Thoughts on the Americana Movement: A lot of what Alex Hatch writes here resonates with some of what I've heard in the contra community as we talk about where we go from here.
- Do You Really Listen?: A reflection on the people behind the music; this is from the Celtic music scene, but I think some of it applies to the contra scene too.
- Why We Contra Dance Video: Recently featured on the CDSS blog; it seems like a neat way to market the dance form we all know and love.
- On Social Dancing and the Creeps that Spoil It for Everyone: This is slightly older than the other links (from this past spring) and I thought this was an interesting post; the blogger dances swing and hip-hop out in California, but I think some of the attitudes do inform the contra dance movement as well. I feel fortunate that so far I haven't had the displeasure of having this particular unfortunate (and unwanted) bit of the club experience come over to the alt-contra scene, and I really hope I can still say that down the line.
What have you all been looking at lately? Share in the comments!
There will be interview goodness forthcoming on Wednesday. Meanwhile, here's some neat contra- and EDM-related stuff I've found in my perusals of the Web that I think you might find cool, too:
- Crossover Corner: (Scroll down a little.) After the Halloween Deca-dance techno contra event in Washington state in October 2011, Terra Price developed a regular "Crossover Corner" column in the Spokane Folklore Society's monthly newsletter. I think the idea is really neat and I'm also happy to see this happening out West.
- KLMabon's YouTube Channel: This is our friend Kevin Mabon's channel; he films a sampling of most of the Glen Echo, MD dances that he attends (and helps Steve and me scout for flourishes!). Thanks Kevin!
- Facebook Group: Stuff Contra Dancers Say...: A bunch of you might already know about this one since that may be how you got here (thank you to those who have linked to Contra Syncretist and spread the word!), but this is a Facebook group that is aimed at creating a "Stuff Contra Dancers Say..." video, but also has developed into something like what I had originally envisioned the Forum would become -- a bunch of contra dancers talking about the nuts and bolts and tics of the community.
Send it my way
, or share with the class in the comments!
See anything cool related to contra or EDM around the Web?
For many people, 'tis the season for parties and celebrating. Frequently, it is also a time of year where you're hurry-up-and-waiting for baked goods to bake, or there's down time while you're visiting family, or there's no work getting done at your desk job since people took time off. Or you've just finished your holiday shopping and you're kicking back with a congratulatory cup of a winter beverage and your technology fix of choice. Your local community's contra organizers are likely to be taking a well-deserved break before New Year's, so what's a 'Net-savvy contra dancer to do?
- Doug Plummer takes really beautiful contra dance photos and he's even got a 2012 calendar featuring his photos for sale (about which Max Newman interviewed him for the Country Dance and Song Society blog)!
- Jeff Kaufman's blog has been cited around here a few times; while it's not 100% contra-related all the time, he regularly updates and frequently has some interesting thoughts on contra community and the like from the POV of a dancer, a caller, and a musician (and a few times he's posted some interesting commentary -- on stuff I've posted here and otherwise -- that has made me think).
- I stumbled on to Miriam and Clark Baker's pages back when someone posted a term I wasn't familiar with to the Glossary project a few weeks back. From what I gather, Clark was also one of the people who was in on Lisa Greenleaf's experiments with alternative music contra dancing in the 2000's. It focuses a lot on square dance, but in my Internet wanderings I'm seeing people finding interesting similarities between MWSD (especially patter calling) and alternative contras.
- Club Contras DJ Nu B has a recording of his November set up. (Note to self: find my way down to Greenwood, VA when he's spinning in 2012.)
- Contra Sonic's dJ improper also has a Mixcrate site, for those who haven't danced to his spinning yet (and those who have danced to his mixes in DC or elsewhere...).
- For those seeking a contra-ish Pandora fix -- as has been pointed out by several people, the only thing on Pandora that's contra is Wild Asparagus. While I love Wild Asparagus, there is a wealth of other contra stuff out there that isn't reflected in Pandora. Until this is remedied, Eileen Thorsos mentioned that she finds some of her electrotrad source music for her Electric Camel Contra mixes on Pandora, by searching for artists like Shooglenifty and Martyn Bennett (Perpetual e-Motion cites the latter as one of their inspirations).
If you've found something cool and contra-related while web surfing, please share with the rest of us! Happy Holidays to all!