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?
After calling the Sunday FSGW dance with Nor’easter playing last week in Glen Echo Park, Dave Eisenstadter turned around and called the August edition of the Contra Sonic techno contra series two nights later in Arlington, VA. While it was his first time calling Contra Sonic, this was not his first exposure to a crossover contra event:
“My first techno contra was on New Years Day 2010 in Asheville, NC, and it was organized and DJ'd by Jordy Williams. Since then, I've been to a handful of techno and alternative music dances at Youth Dance Weekend in Vermont and throughout Massachusetts. Dancer friends told me about Jordy's dance and we wound up driving 12 hours to see what it was like.”
Jordy Williams’s name is one that has become synonymous with techno contras down in the Asheville contra community in North Carolina, as well as up and down the East Coast. His particular brand of techno contras are noted for including some of the sex appeal of the nightclub culture, rather than merely evoking that scene with the music and lighting as in a few other communities where these have taken root.
“I started organizing the first one in the spring of 2009,” he says. The first techno contra event he organized was on June 10, 2009 at the Asheville Contemporary Dance Studio. “It's a little hole in the wall in Downtown Asheville. We had about 70-80 people and it was completely stuffed. It was cool though cuz [sic] it was in a basement so it had low ceilings (which gave it a cool underground feeling) and mirrors lining one wall.”
“The first one was inspired by a small handful of poorly executed techno contras that left me wanting it done right.”
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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