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Contradancers Delight Holiday (part 1), 12.26.10-12.31.10

North Carolina dance gypsies Warren and Terry Doyle are the organizers of this wonderful week of music and dance at the Lakeview Golf Resort outside of Morgantown, WV. The dance program is mostly contras, with some squares and other formations mixed in; music jams and a daily singing workshop round out the rest of the schedule. This was my seventh year calling for the event, and I’ve decided to take a little break in favor of spending the week between Christmas and New Year’s at home with Amy and August. Even though I won’t be returning to call next year, I feel compelled to offer a plug for CDH; excellent music, great dancers, comfortable accommodations, and the potential to dance for eight hours a day in a ballroom with a wall of windows overlooking Cheat Lake…it’s lovely, it really is. Warren and Terry are committed to making it affordable, too, so check it out even if you think you can’t swing it financially. I’ll miss being there next year, but certainly hope to return in the near future.

On to the details…

With only two callers (myself and Beth Molaro), the calling load is approximately sixteen hours each during the course of the week. That translates to about 64 dances, half of which are listed below. Because of the large number of dances, my additional commentary will be limited. As always, if you have specific questions don’t hesitate to ask. I’ll do my best to respond in a timely fashion.

MY PROGRAM:

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12.27, 3:30-5:30 PM

With Thanks to the Gene – Tom Hinds

White Christmas – Richard Allen Fischer

Abolish Mop Snarl – Nils Fredland

Another Second Time Around - Robert Cromartie

Louisiana Swing (singing square) -

Leave Them Hanging - Luke Donev

The Good Life – Bob Isaacs

A Different Way Back – Larry Jennings

The big hits in this session were White Christmas, a great 48 bar dance that makes good use of the petronella figure and includes a down the hall, neighbor and partner swings, and a grounding shadow moment; and Luke Donev’s interesting and accessible dance Leave Them Hanging, which progresses with an inside-out circle left led by gent #1.

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12.27, 8:00-9:50 PM

Benjo – Jo Mortland

String of Swings – Rick Mohr and Bob Isaacs

Rollaway Sue – Bob Isaacs

Hey for John (four facing four) - Ann Fallon, var. Nils Fredland

Galena - Jo Mortland

Loon on the Lake – Nathaniel Jack

Borrowdale Exchange (scatter mixer)

3-33 - Steve Zakon-Anderson

So many satisfying dances in this set! I am loving Ann Fallon’s Hey for John these days, which includes a hey up and down the set , and a nice star promenade progression; Galena is a great, easy dance which includes the Rory o’ More figure and a reverse progression; Borrowdale Exchange is an AWESOME mixer that works with any crowd, but is perhaps most effective with experienced crowds who need a good dose of chaotic, “swing everyone” kind of fun.

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12.28, 3:30-5:30 PM

MY THEME FOR THIS SESSION WAS “HEYS.”

Give the Scout a Hand - Chris Weiler

Oh, Geez! – Joseph Pimentel

Lady Be Good (singing square) -

Queen Bee - Adam Carlson, var. George Marshall

The Amazing Return – Ken Bonner

??? (four facing four) – Carol Ormand

Nils’s Maggot – Martha Wild

Hey in the Barn – Chart Guthrie

After a decade or more of trying to avoid calling too many heys in any one program, it was thoroughly satisfying to call a whole set with hey-like figures in every dance. I tried to offer some perspective on how flexible this piece of choreography is: the “hey with hands” in Give the Scout a Hand; the “weave the ring” in Lady Be Good; the full “push back hey” in Queen Bee; the “hey for three” (with couple #2 acting as one entity) in Nils’s Maggot. This set could have easily been twice as long without getting boring!

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12.28, 8:00-9:50 PM

Petronella Jig – Becky Hill, var. Nils Fredland

Ramsay Chase - Joseph Pimentel

Can of Worms (grid square) – Bob Isaacs

Dr. Bluhm’s Delight – Rick Mohr

Now We Are Four - Erik Weberg

Alternating Corners - Jim Kitch, var. Lisa Greenleaf (?)

Sadie at the Backdoor - Walter Daves

Melt Into Spring (four facing four) - Bob Isaacs

The most satisfying moment in this set was the grid, Can of Worms; very well taught (if I do say so myself), and it worked perfectly all over the hall. This is a GREAT dance for a mixed-level contra dance crowd, because it uses straightforward figures, and has a simple (but totally magical) “pass through to new squares, go forward and back” moment that is super forgiving (and awesome to watch from the stage). All you “grid-curious” callers out there, take note; this is a great one to start with…contact Bob for the figures and his teaching tips. Other highlights included my favorite “down the hall” dance, Now We Are Four; Joseph’s playful dance Ramsay Chase; and Bob’s partner-centric four facing four Melt Into Spring.

‘Til next time, friends…

 

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