Hire me, and you can add one (or more) of these workshops to a weekend festival for variety; or plan a single evening or afternoon dance with a special theme. The ideal length for a session is an hour and half, but timing is flexible based on your scheduling needs.
Nils is a masterful caller of a unique American art form called “singing squares.” Take a popular American tune from the early to mid-twentieth century, change the lyrics so they refer to standard square dance figures, and…promenade and sing!
To please the most discerning modern contra dancer, Nils pairs his singing squares with souped-up Western style squares from the 1950s called in his exciting patter style.
You’ve probably heard of “Chorus Jig”…but what about “Petronella,” “Rory O’ More,” “Hull’s Victory,” and “Money Musk”? These are all centuries-old contra dances that have stood the test of time, and had a lasting and dramatic impact on our modern contra dance choreography. Nils pairs each chestnut with a modern dance that uses similar choreography, giving dancers the opportunity to experience history through their feet.
Nils’s favorite mind-bending contra dances from the best, most twisted minds experimenting with contra dance choreography today.
Controlled Chaos: Challenging contras with a twist
This is primarily a contra dance session, but one that embraces other dance forms including squares, mixers, sicilian circles, etc. Each dance will have a common thread of brief and manic moments of total chaos built in to the choreography, with amazing and magical ways of bringing everyone back together.
The Land of Lost Choreography
Free yourself from expectations! Experience beautiful dances that don’t necessarily fit the “two swings and everyone active” model that is most prominent on the contra dance scene today.
Anything but Contras
Exactly what it says…triplets, squares, circles, hexagons, triangles, threesomes, mixers, couples dances, and more. The possibilities are endless, except that there are no contras in sight.
English for Contra Dancers
Nils is also a leader of English Country Dancing, with a particular leaning towards delivering fun ECD experiences to the hitherto un-initiated. Many of the basic ECD figures will be covered, with the teaching and dancing focused on the unique relationship between English dance sequences and their associated tunes.
How to Help New Dancers
This is a contra dance workshop for dancers, callers, musicians, organizers, and passers-by, where Nils will present his road-tested ideas for creating an accessible, fun, and exciting night for a brand new dancer…without intimidating the on-lookers or boring the most experienced dancers in the room.
Topics can be structured based on the wants and needs of the participants. Possibilities include: Contra Dance Calling 101; Pairing Dances with Music; Programming; Calling Square Dances; How to Work with New Dancers; “Looks good on paper” (a.k.a. Contra Dance Analysis); and others…
Nils is a passionate and skilled leader of community singing, drawing on various traditions from around the world. No music reading or prior singing experience necessary. This is a great workshop to schedule during a weekend-long event, to give tired bodies a chance to rest while still delivering an exciting, community-building experience.