Doug Plummer's lyrical photos of contra dance, with equally lyrical notes: "Turning, moving, spinning, dresses swirling, music beating, eyes in contact with a partner, then another, then another, then another, and the fiddle turns a corner, the phrase repeats, the dance repeats. You smile. Your body smiles. Everywhere."
Dancing the Woman's Role by Bob Golder: "I feel that my dancing improved a great deal when I deliberately invested some time in dancing the woman's role. Any man can try this at a typical contra dance event; there's no requirement for you to be particularly interested in gender-free contras. See what it's like to do a traditional courtesy turn in the woman's role. Try a single twirl. Try multiple twirls. Learn the ladies' chain from a woman's point of view. ......" etc
Tips For Experienced Dancers Dancing With Beginners: "Dancing well with beginners is a skill separate from being able to dance well with other experienced dancers. Revealing the joy of contra dance to a new person is, for me, one of the rewards of being an experienced dancer ... " etc. Don't ignore beginners - help them have fun and learn!
Seth Topfer's handouts for calling workshops. Short and effective. Contents: The beginner's workshop; Programming an evening, parts 1 and 2; The walkthrough; What kind of a caller are you?, etc. Also has sets of dances: Fun contra dances for a mixed crowd;
Interesting contra dances for Novice Callers (helpfully categorised as to 'suitable for 1st/2nd/3rd/peak of evening ..'), ';
Groovin' contras to end an evening;
No brainers - surefire dances. RECOMMENDED.
'Contra dance designer' allows you to check how a contra dance works - input the moves from an extensive menu and watch it performed in an animated diagram. Lots of fun and possibly helpful. ONLY works with Internet Explorer.
Notes on the Three Minute Rule by Gene Hubert and Dot Kent: "I attended a dance event this weekend where the "3 minute rule" was invoked. This rule states that any caller who shall cause the dancers to spend more than 3 minutes walking thro Also has sets of dances for ugh a dance shall receive a pie in the face ........... "
A very useful tunelist by Eric J. Anderson, helping the caller by describing the characteristics of the tunes ("happy", "smooth and intense", "building drive and drama") and noting which are good as closers - e.g. the 'Cold & Frosty Morning' set is described thus:
" ...swirly B crashing into a balance and swing at the top of A1, our favorite. A dance like Box the Compass ... with contra corners throughout B and the partner b&s in A1 is perfect"
Also has some 'notes for callers' about how to work well with the band: who to talk to, what to say, when to say it.
the absolute basics of vamping, plagiarised from an excellent book Interview with a Vamper by Peter Barnes (which you should buy - please regard my précis of his chapter 1 as a sales pitch for his great book)
Good Parking is Leeds Contra's resident Tuesday evening club band and they have also played at some of our Saturday evening Contra dances. They are available to play for all sorts of Celebratory Events, Weddings, Parties, Anniversaries, Ceilidhs and Barn Dances.
CDSS (Country Dance and Song Society) is the US equivalent of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, but it has a lot more energy. It's about fun, enthusiasm, and getting other people to have fun. Check this out for some of the wonderful US dance camps. If you can stand today's US.