a Traditional New England
Country Life, Dance & Music Society (CLDMS) : Pittsfield, MA
Eight Step Coffee House Dances : Albany, NY
Hudson-Mohawk Country Dancers : Schenectady, NY
Old Songs Dances : Guiderland, NY
"This is so exciting!"
I'm Hooked! I've lived in this town for 15 years
and never knew about contradancing before.
Now I am going to dance as often as I can.
|Contradancing today still has its appeal and still
provides its special pleasures as it has since colonial
times. New dancers are as excited by it as ever, and it
undoubtedly is because country dancing is not a crash and
bang sport like football. It draws on many of our hidden
qualities. At a countradance we trust, respect and
support one another like we wish we would throughout
life. Let's look at why country dancing is such a
rewarding experience in out lives.
Perhaps the key is that country dancing is a group experience. Richard Neville, in his book "A Time To Dance" called it "choral dancing", perhaps because there is a harmony of movement. Group-dancing is very different from couples-dancing where you need to please only one other person, or singles-dancing, like rock & roll, where you are beholden to no one and may not even have eye contact. Group dancing makes you a part of a very large team. You are like an oarsman on a rowing crew, or a violinist in a large orchestra. Everyone is important, equal, and together. When every dancer pulls her or his weight, the dance is fun for everyone. Everyperson provides support, spirit, and energy. Dancers energize the band and caller at least as much as the band and caller give them rhythm and pattern. Everyone contributes to the happening. Here are several qualities that every dancer can share.
* Dance with new comers. Like you were once
danced with. You can help them learn quicker.
* Make eye contact with every dancer. Its a
pleasure almost unique to country dancing.
|Ted Sannella once jumped down to the floor to show us
the difference between "just moving to music"
and "really dancing." As he demonstrated some
of the qualities above he explained, "Now that's
As the dance organizers in this region, we thought it would be helpful to provide you with this list of dance qualities so we can all be "really dancing." We also will continue to provide workshops and special events to perfect your dancing skills, and to schedule excellent callers and musicians to give you a superior and varied dance experience.
Reprinted with permission from author Bob Henshaw. Illustrations by Jennifer Snow Wolff. This excerpt was taken from Bob's more lengthy publication, "Q: How is contradancing different from football?...A: It's how the game is played". If you would like a copy of the original piece, please send an SASE to Bob Henshaw, 91 Louis Dr., West Sand Lake, NY 12196. Bob can also be reached at 518-283-0415 or email@example.com
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