Contra Dance / Contradance
Collections of Essays
Contra Dance, Beyond the Basics |
Dance People |
Bob McQuillen |
Composing Dances & Choreography |
Calling and Surviving the Evening
Caller Workshop Notes |
Calling - Other Topics
Learning and Playing the Music |
Composing the Music
Musical Experiences |
Music Reviews |
A Mix of Musical Matters
Tales of the Dance |
The Dance Experience
Close Relatives (Irish Set, English, Scottish, Squares, Ceili, etc.) |
With the number of essays approaching the 300 mark, I thought it best to establish a new page and make an attempt to put them in categories.
- The North Bay Country Dance Society furnishes four chapters of Erik Hoffman's book Contradictions. Change of URL (October 19, 2010)
- The North Bay Country Dance Society furnishes an essay called "On Connection and Twirling," by Erik Hoffman. Change of URL (October 19, 2010)
- Greg McKenzie explains Five Common Myths About Beginning Contra Dancers
- In To Clap or Not to Clap, Henry Morgenstein provides some thoughts about clapping on Petronella turns.
- Henry Morgenstein provides his notes on the Style Workshop at Eastbourne IFDF in 2003 which features ideas and comments on stylistic points of specific dances.
- Secrets of Contra Dancing? Dean Allemang reveals all.
- Not just about contra dancing, Colin Hume's Dance Technique Notes cover subject ranging from courtesy to the swing to giving and receiving feedback.
- The Country Dance New York group presents Guide to Dance Etiquette For the Perplexed.
- The Chattahoochee Country Dancers have a guide for Contra Dance Etiquette (pdf file). Change of URL (October 20, 2010)
- The Mid-Missouri Traditional Dancers speak to experienced dancers with Tips for Experienced Dancers. Change of title and URL (October 19, 2010)
- Jonathan Sivier provides Tips For Experienced Dancers Dancing With Beginners.
- Clark Baker tries Explaining Traditional Squares and Contras to MWSD folk.
- Diane Silver writes about the Conversation of Dance and the communication and relationship between dancers whether for ten minutes or a longer period of time. (pdf file) Change in URL December 4, 2008)
- Laurie Fisher discusses sleaze dancing, especially the Asheville Sleaze Swing, in To Sleaze or Not to Sleaze. (Word document) Change in URL (October 20, 2010)
- Orlo Hoadley's article about Handholds - Why and How has a western square dance orientation, but has some important points for contra dancers, too.
- Caller Bob Golder has a short article on Dancing the Woman's Role
- What's a Balance? Dudley Laufman explains.
- Barbara Ruth writes about beginner's workshops and what happens when David Kaynor's Workshop Comes to New Haven.
- Dave Goldman comments about Everything About Dancing That Nobody Talks About including defense, avoidance, rejection and dance romance. Change of URL (July 27, 2013)
- Janet Ashford includes Five Steps to Great Contradancing from Bob Henshaw's "Q: How is contradancing different from football? . . . A: It's how the game is played on her site.
- How many swing positions are there? James Williams and Dana Nau come up with a list. Backup link.
- Paul Tyler makes an attempt to define What Is a Good Contra Dancer. A slightly different version is available. Change of URL (March 4, 2012)
- Heiner Fischle writes about Contra Dance Terminology and how it differs from terms in square dancing.
- Heiner Fischle writes about The Styles of Contra Dancing including traditional, modern, western and Contralab and Old English.
- Jacqui Morgenstein has some thoughts about What is a Contra Dance for the English magazine "Set & Turn Single".
- Some "Do's" and "Don't's" of asking and accepting invitations as partners are outlined in Larry Jennings' The Proprieties of the Partner Game.
- Larry Jennings has Your Introduction to Contra Dancing as a syllabus for a half hour pre-dance session.
- The Harvest Moon Folk Society has some advice on What Do I Wear to a Contra Dance. Change of title and URL (October 19, 2010)
- Courtesy at contra dancers is important for newcomers and for experienced dancers. Bruce Hamilton explains why and has some advice on giving and receiving help in Teaching Courtesy (pdf file). Change of URL (October 19, 2010)
- Figuring out the waltz? Colin Hume provides some clues in Waltz Steps.
- Going to England to contra dance whether calling or dancing? Check out Colin Hume's Advice to Americans in England.
- If you would like some orientation about social and country dance in England, try Colin Hume's description of the dance scene, past and present.
- Victor Eijkhout has a wide variety about information and links about dancing (not just contra). One group of pages composes the Lead and Follow FAQ. Not everything is relevant to contradancing, but it is a useful reference.
- Greg Rohde has a long article about contradancing called Hands Four in which he discusses some basic ideas about contradancing, what to expect at your first dance, and the reasons why people contra dance.
- While not everything included in the article is relevant for contra dancing, Joyce Crouch's Seven Habits of Highly Effective English Country Dancing can be helpful.
- Bill Pope has some Contra Dance Thoughts and Tips.
- Aahz has some advice for trying to teach folk dances, including contras. Change of URL (March 22, 2008)
- Colin Hume has some thoughts on Contra Dance Technique, especially on the contrasts between styles in the United Kingdom and the United States.
- John Turner writes about efforts to prevent the further decline of folk dancing in England in Further Dance Matters and the importance of dance etiquette in retaining dancers.
- John Turner continues to write about Dance Etiquette and its practical application, Part 1 and Dance Etiquette and its practical application, Part 2.
- The Miami Valley Folk Dancers have a list of dance etiquette tips compiled by Leslie Hyll along with a list of other sites for dance etiquette information.
- While your mileage may vary depending on the type of dance and the geographic location, those who want some advice on Finding Dance Partners at a dance, may find this article by Steve Harris helpful.
- Don't know that dance step? Well, after reading the Charlotte Dance Gypsies guide, you'll Know That Dance Step. (pdf file)
- Blain Nelson and others detail the Ten Stupid Things Beginners Do to Mess Up Their Contradance Experience. Change of URL (October 20, 2010)
- Some background to the names of dance steps is presented by Rebecca Jones in Terms of the Dance.
- The Cincinnati Contra Dancers provide some information about Contra Customs.
- The Foothill Country Dancers present Ten Reasons Not to Book Ahead. (pdf file) Change of URL (November 29, 2008)
- People dance in a variety of outfits from tuxedos to running shorts, but the Santa Cruz Dance has some answers to those who ask the question But What Should I Wear to the Dance?. New entry (January 10, 2008)
- Richard Powers presents some ideas about social dancing in Going Out Dancing - Some Suggestions. New entry (May 10, 2008)
- In Ultimate Partnering, Richard Powers writes about leading and following and why those terms might not today's dancers. New entry (May 10, 2008)
- So you want to organize a dance camp? Henry Morgenstein writes about The Trials and Tribulations of Dance Camp Organizers for those who already have, those who might, and for those that find out about some of the events that happen behind the scenes.
- Okay, how about running a dance weekend? In Organizing Dance Weekends, Henry Morgenstein includes some of the issues which organizers deal with in trying to put one together.
- At the 1997 edition of NEFFA, Larry Jennings led a discussion about The Story of One Successful Series, using the NEFFA Thursday night series in Cambridge as an example.
- Michael Young has a short piece on lighting at contra dances called Bright Lights, Big City, Zesty Contras.
- Nancy Mamlin writes about Dancing From a Former Organizer's Perspective and how it looks once you have changed your perspective.
- Jenny Beer and Joanna Reiner led a discussion at NEFFA in 2002 concerning Dancing on College Campuses including how to start a group and what you might expect.
- Chris Kermiet describes Building a Dance Community. (pdf file) Change of URL (October 20, 2010)
- Secrets of a Successful Series contains notes from a NEFFA workshop in 1997 and is penned by Larry Jennings.
- Greg Rohde explains how to start Spontaneous Waltzing [and Contra Dancing] in Public Places a new activity sponsored by the dancers in Childgrove.
- While each dance series does it differently, Gordy Euler of the Portland Country Dance Community, writes in the
January-February 2006 and
March-April 2006 issues of Footnotes about the mechanics (booking a hall, caller, musicians, sound engineer, etc.) (pdf file).
- Jenny Beer and Joanna Reiner describe some of the challenges and provide some guidance about Dancing on College Campuses. (pdf file) Change of URL (October 20, 2010)
- Cathie Whitesides describes Let's Dance Weekend, which was held in 1996 which was specifically devoted to callers, musicians, dance organizers, and dancers, with the goal of enabling people to organize or facilitate their own community dances. New entry (May 4, 2008)
- Notes from a discussion amongst callers and dance organizers at the Guiding Star Grange in Greenfield on a variety of issues that occur on a typical dance floor. (pdf file) New entry (June 7, 2008)
- The Corvallis Folklore Society has produced Contra Dance information for callers and bands including help on contacts, halls, a typical evening, typical moves and dances, etc. New entry (June 21, 2009)
- Bob Stein writes, in 1997, about What is this thing called "Community"?". New entry (March 4, 2012)
- Will Loving writes about "Putting on "Techno" contras dances - my experience over the last 2 years". New entry (April 4, 2013)
- The North Bay Country Dance Society furnishes an interview with Erik Hoffman.
- The members of the band, Round the House remember fellow band member Mike Smith who passed away in 2006. Slight change of URL (October 20, 2010)
- Bob Barrett writes an Appreciation of Jim Robb, a leading member of the Friday Folk group in St. Albans, England who passed away in 2006. He traveled widely in Britain and American to attend dances and festivals.
- Lisa Sieverts lists the Iron Dancers of the Dawn Dance weekends in Brattleboro.
- The members of the band, Mando Mafia, remember Kelly Perdue, their bandmate, who passed away in 2005.
- The Harvest Moon Folk Society remembers Leon Chapman who owned the dance hall, the River Falls Lodge. Change of URL (October 20, 2010)
- Dan Pearl writes about the funeral of caller Ted Sannella which was held on November 22, 1995.
- Susan Michaels writes some words about Gene Hubert on his passing in 2006. (pdf file)
- FolkWorks provides some information about musician Nancy MacMillan on her passing in 2006. (pdf file)
- Tony Parkes writes In Praise of Herbie Gaudreau who he credits with introducing the couple-facing-couple formation with "Becket Reel" along with many dance compositions.
- An interview with caller and dancer Jonathan Sivier published by the News Bureau of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
- You can hear Bob McQuillen talk about contra dance on a program from New Hampshire Public Radio.
- Clark Baker supplies Ralph Sweet's talk at a meeting of the New England Council of Callers Association which includes his history of playing music and calling and covers a wide range of other topics. Fascinating.
- Phantom Ranch presents a biographical page on Ralph Page, noted caller.
- Phantom Ranch has a biographical page on Don Armstrong, noted caller.
- Phantom Ranch provides a biographical page on Graham Hempel, caller and international folk dancer.
- Phantom Ranch has a biographical page on Rickey Holden, caller.
- Phantom Ranch has a biographical page on Chris Kermiet, caller from Colorado.
- Phantom Ranch has a biographical page on Jack McKay, caller.
- Phantom Ranch has a biographical page on Lloyd Shaw, noted square dance caller.
- A biographical piece on Dudley Laufman appeared in Fiddler Magazine in 2002.
- Carol Fey writes about Sandra Wong, a Colorado fiddle player in the September/October 2005 issue of Attic Windows, the newsletter of CFOOTMAD. This is a .pdf file.
- Dot Kent interviews Mark Gunther of the Chicago Barn Dance Company in the Old-Time Herald.
- Caller and dance organizer Larry Jennings was honored with the CDSS Lifetime Contribution Award in 2004 and the CDSS provides some of his background. Change of URL (October 20, 2010)
- The Childgrove Country Dancers have excerpts from an interview Drew Beisswenger and Liz Amos did with fiddler Bob Holt on December 21, 1999.
- An obituary for Ozark fiddler Bob Holt, who passed away in 2004, is posted on the Childgrove Country Dancers site.
- Chiff & Fipple, a whistle/tinwhistle/pennywhistle web site has an interview with flute and whistle player Sarah Bauhan. New entry (April 17, 2008)
- Theresa Ludwuck writes about Dudley and Jacqueline Laufrman, dance musicians in New Hampshire. Change of URL (October 20, 2010)
- John Hart chronicles the work of Memphis, Tennessee woodturner and dance caller and organizer, Joan Gilmer Kelly, who passed away on May 17, 2011. In addition, the Mid-South Woodturners produced The Book of Joan (pdf document).
- John Walters writes about Bob McQuillen as part of his book, Roads Less Traveled: Visionary New England Lives. He also provides selected excerpts of his interview with Bob McQuillen in 2007 and a radio story from 2002, plus an article about his visit to the dance in Nelson, New Hampshire in 2006. New entry (October 15, 2011)
- Karin Morra Magno is gathering information including audio, video, photos, and other field recordings of Greg Hooven, a fiddle player from Virginia, who played with the New BallardŐs Branch Bogtrotters, and passed away in 2005. New entry (June 2, 2012)
Contra dance musician and tune composer Bob McQuillen passed away on Tuesday, February 4, 2014. There is a Facebook group, Remembering Mac for those who wish to contribute or read stories about him.
On Saturday, May 3, 2014 there was be a variety of events honoring Mac. The "service" will be at ConVal High School in Peterborough, NH at 2pm, followed by a reception at the Monadnock Country Club on High St in Peterborough from 4pm-8pm, followed by the Contra Dance at the Peterborough Town Hall at 7pm dedicated to Mac. At the reception and dance there were lots of opportunities for playing and dancing and sharing of stories.
Other stories of note: