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?
While digging around for information on my question on Wednesday about the acceptability of 20th century music in singing squares (and why any music that sounds like it was composed before 1970 has carte blanche and anything after 1970 doesn't without some sort of allusion in the event's marketing), I also ran across this page compiled by Clark Baker, who teamed up with Lisa Greenleaf a few years ago to organize the weekend-long Alternative Music Party in 2008 that Chrissy Fowler alluded to when I interviewed her back in June -- while a fair amount of the info on the page is from about ten years ago (although it claims a last-updated date of July 2010 as of this writing), perhaps it lends some thoughts on square dancing and contra dancing circles not being so different after all....
For some reason it had never really occurred to me before, but the tradition of the so-called "singing squares" (for which several rather talented callers are known and some of which get thrown into contra dance evenings) use somewhat more modern songs to integrate with the calls, and yet this seems to have a different reception than a similar practice in some contra circles (lines?).
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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