Reader Craig Green sent me this video last week and it made me smile -- speaking of things getting "thrown in" to contra, here's a fun video of some Perpetual e-Motion fans juggling to the band's rendition of "Sandy Boys"...the jugglers are Craig Green, Cleo Keller, Zach Schillinger, and Adrian Green.
Interesting trend: other stuff getting tossed into contra dance...quite literally.
At the Firecloud debut at Glen Echo about a year ago, it was a couple of balloons that dancers batted about through the dance and collectively kept aloft; at Electric Blizzard in New Jersey last weekend, it was apparently a stuffed whale (?!) that got tossed around.
Assuming that these things don't make for a safety hazard (which in the instances I've seen it doesn't -- balloons will break before they trip someone, for instance, and the dancers I've seen are good about batting them up or off to the side of the dance floor where they're out of the way), what do y'all think of these? Seems like adding white balloons might be a silly-fun, occasional add-on to a black-lit techno contra, but only if most/all of the dancers were game and the called dance was fairly simple (and it was, in fact, occasional...much like improv lines or strong spices, a little goes a long way, in my opinion)....
Agree? Disagree? I welcome your thoughts!
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 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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