Carry on Dancing,
This week's flourish comes to us via regular Contra Syncretist commenter Jess Purvis when we met her at Technoberfest. She showed us a flourish that her friend Reuven AnafShalom had taught her. It's a flourish that it takes a bit of practice to lead well, but is really fun on the follow's side. Take a look:
As I mention in the video -- you, too, could have your flourishes featured! Drop me a line! We've had a couple of really good ideas that we've put in our pipeline/to-do list, and we'd love to see more!
Carry on Dancing,
Last week, we talked about gender-swapping and dancing switch in contra lines. This week we take the concept to the entire line, where people can intentionally swap roles and partners up and down the line as the dance goes on. These so-called “chaos/shenanigans/wild/etc. lines” have at times been formally announced, and at other times have happened on smaller scales on a somewhat ad hoc basis through two or three couples following each other up or down the set (with all of them being 1’s or all being 2’s, and then swapping partners and roles amongst themselves as they traveled up or down the line).
I stumbled across this particular bit of fusion whilst checking out my Facebook notifications and seeing what people who "Like" us thought was neat and interesting. Dave Colestock's Wall actually pointed me toward this Turtle Duhks and Footworks video, and I thought y'all might be interested.
(This performance also reminds me of the step team my high school formed, although the demographics of that particular team tended to be rather different than those of the dancers/singers here.)
Steve and I are back from Technoberfest safe and sound. Despite a few adventures in car maintenance which contributed to some schedule adjustments, we had a fantastic time dancing to the music of Double Apex and the calling of Donna Hunt and Melissa Taggart. Particular thanks go to Vince Budnick who arranged the event, and to those of you wonderful readers whom I got to meet there!
P.S. Incidentally, I managed to lose my bracelet there -- it was pretty blue river pearls with a heart-shaped clasp and was made by a dear friend of mine for my last birthday. I've called the venue to inquire, but did any of you happen to see it in the room with the foozball and the snacks?
It appears that we're all about improvisation this week around here. This particular Friday Flourish video was inspired by several dance weekends we've been to where the floor has been seriously packed. Clearly, really expansive dips and other expansive flourishes are right out, as there is not room. So what do you do if you want to add some variety to the dance while you're packed in like a sardine? This week, we give a couple of ideas.
(Speaking of improvising, we should be in our regular spot next week; it was unavailable when we went to go film this time out.)
If anyone else has others they can use when the room is packed, please comment or send them my way.
P.S. Steve and I are planning to get up to Technoberfest this weekend in Willow Grove, PA. Melissa Taggart and Donna Hunt will be calling to the sounds of Double Apex. Hope to see some of you there!
While one way of mixing things up in contra dancing is to change the music, another is a bit more subtle, but still can make for an interesting experiment: dancing the “other” gender role, or switching roles as you go up or down the line. I’ve found that as someone who normally dances as a follow, dancing as a lead or dancing switch to be a lot of fun, and I know several other people do too, and not solely as a coping mechanism when there is a gender imbalance or when the dance is formally billed as being gender-free.
There’s been some talk about the whole “lead” versus “follow” and whether or not these things even really should exist in someone’s Platonic ideal of contra, and the sociological implications of that which at least somewhat go beyond the purview of this blog. However, I’ve found some dancers who have interesting things to say about the mindset and the sensibilities that go with dancing the “other” role.
This week's Friday Flourish comes to us from Shawn Suter of the Charlottesville, VA dance community. We saw him at FootFall last month and he showed Steve and me a couple of really neat moves. This was one of them, which Steve has tweaked a bit to sneak in a swing with a neighbor when you might not otherwise get one -- just make sure you're done in time for the next figure. Enjoy!
You, too could have your flourishes featured! Send them to me and maybe they'll get featured on this blog!
P.S. Wow, our Facebook page now has over 100 "likes!" Thanks, everyone!
Update, 6:20 P.M.: Apparently the last 40 seconds or so of this video didn't upload properly. Mea culpa. Edited to fix.
When I found out that George Marshall had called for the Spark in the Dark series up in Massachusetts last spring, I was intrigued. George has been on the folk dance scene for many years and has called with and played in some iconic acoustic bands within it. As George puts it, “I started dancing at 15, I started calling in 1978, and I’m 53 now.” What would his view be of electronic music and a club-like atmosphere recently fusing with this dance scene, with which he has been involved for many years?
On our way home from Footfall, Steve turns to me and says, "You know what would be really awesome? If dJ improper, Double Apex, and Perpetual e-Motion all got together and did a gig."
My reply, having been alerted to one such event by one of you wonderful readers, was, "Actually -- there is. It's just in Massachusetts. On a Wednesday."
With this in mind, in the final days before the event was to take place, we decided we'd make the trip (and apparently were weren't the only out-of-towners; in addition to other northern New Englanders, there was a delegation from Philadelphia that made it up). For those who weren't there, here are a handful of selected highlights:
Last Thursday marked the six-month mark since I launched this blog. Six months, a whole bunch of Facebook followers, several Forum threads, many emails, a lot of in-person discussions, and quite a few new friends later, we're still going strong with no plans to change that.
I got to thinking, and realized that it's been one heck of a half-year. Like many things in life, it's spawned a bunch of interesting stories. Here are 10 of mine:
If you asked me six months ago, I never thought I'd....
This project has concluded as of mid-2013 (with an epilogue posted mid-2016) but we hope to see you soon on a contra dance floor! Meanwhile, head over to our Facebook page for upcoming techno contra events and other items of interest.
The 100+ Friday Flourish videos can still be found on YouTube.
I dance with abandon. I play with glowsticks. I look for music that is conducive to one or both. I play behind cameras. I write about all of the above. I'm based in Glen Echo's contra dance community outside of Washington, D.C., but I'm happy to go dance afield when I can. Lather, rinse, repeat. Always repeat.
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