So as some of you know, outside the U.S. it's not terribly unusual for a series to have a whole bunch of scheduled episodes, then go on a break of indeterminate length, and then come back. (Dr. Who
comes to mind, as do a handful of British comedies.)American contra grew from English (and possibly French) dancing, and I'm borrowing a page from them. In light of recent developing scheduling difficulties, Steve and I are announcing a suspension of the Friday Flourishes. We've put up 104, and while we've enjoyed doing them very much, scheduling for them is becoming more challenging than we can handle on a regular basis (see: Steve going to night school and my gaining full-time employment with a long commute during the day).The blog lives on, though. Hope some of you stick around and read. And for those who don't, thank you for supporting Steve and me over the last two years and do subscribe to the YouTube channel or Like us on Facebook -- we will post any new videos there when they come about.
I'm really proud of the work we've done, and
I would like to do a few more videos, at least, before we roll up the portable dance floor and retire the little point-and-shoot for good; there were some ideas I had for videos that never got fleshed out fully enough to shoot, and flourishes we never quite got camera-ready, and I would still like to do them.
Stay tuned and carry on dancing and innovating, dear readers....
Contra Syncretist turns 2 on April 6! (Not bad for a little grad school project, eh? I wasn't even in grad school for two full years....)
So to celebrate this momentous occasion, I thought I might throw a few other numbers out there for consideration:
Thanks for watching!
Carry on dancing,
So, I'm actually going to take time out on this blog and talk about life outside of it -- specifically, mine. And Steve's, since he's my partner in crime on YouTube
.(We're fine, for anyone who hasn't seen us around and was worried.
(Heads up: the song titles are linked to dance craze videos. Use your judgment when clicking through at work. You have been warned. I am also hereby indemnifying myself from blame for any earworms that may result.)
What do the "Souja Boy" dance
, the Cha-cha Slide
, the Electric Slide
, the Macarena
, "Gangnam Style
," and "Money Musk
" all have in common?All of them are or were popular amongst a subset of a community, had another subset of that same community wondering why on earth anyone would actually like that dance, and spread a bit in the cultural zeitgeist before heading off into the collective memory a short time later.Contra actually seems to have one of those at the moment -- "Money Musk" is making the rounds, and Jack Mitchell called it at the Friday Night Contra at Glen Echo recently.
This particular fad seems to be traced to the "Money Musk" flash mob
that materialized during the Ralph Page Legacy Dance Weekend in New England and the video was subsequently put up online.We as a contra community 1) don't really get many triple minor dances, and 2) don't really get fads of the dance-craze kind in our subculture. So it's interesting to watch when it happens.Folks who are less enamored of ECD don't tend to like the dance as much
, I've observed. And there are those who want to dedicate March as "Money Musk Month."
So perhaps it will continue to polarize, like many of the other dances mentioned in this post.As an aside, it keeps looking like, if you booked it through the figures, "Money Mu
sk" might actually track to the song "Tell 'Em/Crank Dat" (the one that tracks to "Soulja Boy")...anyone want to help me check?Update:
Corrected the name of the dance weekend to the Ralph Page
Legacy Dance Weekend.
This week's flourish
is a swing flourish that was recently pulled on me by a dancer at Glen Echo one week. It doesn't take up a whole lot of room beyond a regular swing and can be led quite handily from a barrel swing with a capable partner. (It is also a fairly easy flourish to refuse from the follow's perspective -- just don't grab the lead's hand and zie can't spin you out this way.)
As usual, beware of shoulder/arm issues, dizzy issues, and space issues; sometimes there just isn't room to twirl out, with either hand.
Carry on dancing,
One of the neat things to come out of the techno contra movement is a renewed focus on a medley format, in some form or another -- in other words, a less broken-up format in which the music is more continuous and the dances/partners change up independently of this, to more reflect a club-like atmosphere where the music continues all night without lulls between sets. I've heard of three main categories of this style of event as practiced in the contra dances and events I've been to, each with their own pros and cons. So, in no particular order....
is a way to smooth out an edge in some contras -- the one where you go from a ladies' chain to a move -- like long lines forward and back, or a circle -- that requires the follow's left hand to be in the lead's right. (It's also handy for times when the lead is having shoulder issues, or just wants to do something a bit different.) Cautions are the same as for a normal ladies' chain twirl; be aware of shoulder issues/people who don't want to be twirled/etc.
You too can have your flourishes featured! Drop us a line!
Dancers are Ryan Holman and Steven Roth.
Carry on Dancing,
"I believe it can even help people who aren't comfortable dancing since it provides a structure. All you have to do is know how to follow instructions!"
Dennis himself came to the contra scene through the "Deca-dance" gig he called in 2011 which was organized by Terra Price
and called by Ray Polhemus
Terra and her fellow organizers did such an effective job of marketing the event to newcomers that, as Terra mentioned,
"I actually had to do lessons on three separate times [in addition to the planned lesson before the dance] because we had so many new dancers."
How might others replicate this success? Marketing is mostly making sure that you've answered five questions:
- Who is it, exactly, that are you trying to reach? The more specific you can be, the better. "The general public" is really hard to reach and a large percentage of them will ignore you anyway. "People in X age range who hang out in clubs but don't like it/people in X age range who like to dance/people in X age range who like music but not the club scene" are more manageable.
- What does your target audience need to know? This can be your event information.
- When might they be receptive to your message? When they're checking Facebook for the billionth time, when they're waiting for a bus, when they're in line at the grocery store, when they're at the campus bar with their friends....
- Where do they get their info? Where do they hang out? This is actually the second-hardest part, I find. People get information many ways, from word-of-mouth to posters to listservs.
- Why should they care? What can you do for them? The more concrete you can be, the better. Unfortunately, "because it's awesome" doesn't really cut it with people who aren't already in the contra scene. (And besides, you probably had them at "there's going to be a contra dance.")
- How can you put your message into that venue? This can be the hardest part. If you want to attract, for instance, people 18-26 who who are uncomfortable in your average 21st century dance club setting, the ideal might be to go to the club and advertise there...but that might be impolitic. ("Hey you, you're miserable here, come to this other thing instead!" tends to be, at best, tacky. However, if you have your event at the same venue, or are using the same DJ, these could very much be avenues to the targeted audience. "If you like my DJing, come to something different next week!" works just fine.) However, the folks that are turned off by the club scene might be on your local college campus, or at the local coffee shop, or at the library, or....
Mark your calendars! (And if you have more to add, leave them in the comments and/or drop me a line
Update, 3/18/2013: Deleted Louisville, KY contra on 3/29 after confirmation that my source was in error (and has since been corrected).