[SCA-Dance] Suggestions Wanted

Mary Railing mrailing2 at yahoo.com
Sun Apr 24 10:19:08 EDT 2011

I don't do contra, but I read the ECD mailing list, where there is frequent 
discussion of calling ECD for contra dancers and of the differences between 
contra and ECD, what makes contra "more fun" for some people, etc. You could try 
looking through their info  http://www-ssrl.slac.stanford.edu/~winston/ecd.htmlx

One issue that repeatedly comes up in those posts is that many contra dancers 
don't feel obliged to stay with the beat as long as they get through the figure. 
Since contra dances aren't linked to specific tunes, there is less incentive to 
pay close attention to the music. Since ECD  choreography is linked to specific 
music (and renaissance balli even more so) we get used to tying to be on the 
correct foot at the correct beat and expecting the music to tell us what to do. 
 Apparently this is a foreign concept to many contra dancers, and the 
opportunity to just bliss out as you swing your way down the line is what makes 
contra fun for them. So maybe you need dances like Trenchmore that work that 
way, rather than dances like Jenny Pluck Pears that require paying close 
attention to the phrasing of the music.  Also don't think that you are failing 
or that the dancers are failing if everybody is not on the beat, but the dance 
isn't crashing and they are having fun.

Note, I am saying this as an outsider reporting other people's observations. 
Your group may be different.


From: Scot and Michelle Henry <cshenry at peoplepc.com>
To: sca-dance at sca-dance.org
Sent: Sun, April 24, 2011 3:38:04 AM
Subject: [SCA-Dance] Suggestions Wanted

Greetings all, 

I have recently begun attending a group that primarily does contra dance,
but also does ECD one Saturday a month.  They have asked if I'd like to help
call one evening.  So far, I've attended two of their ECD nights.  The
second half of the first night was called by someone who used to be in the
SCA.  On both nights, I noticed that many people struggled with some of the
dances despite being great contra dancers.  I also know some people left
tonight because the dancing wasn't holding their interest and because some
people seemed to be yelling at them if they made a mistake.  Also, the
general atmosphere at the ECD nights doesn't seem to be as lively or
entertaining as the contra nights.  So, I'm seeking the greater wisdom on
how to improve things when I get the opportunity to call (hopefully, really
teach not just call).  For those of you who are also cross-over dancers,
which ECD dances in our repertoire would fit best with the contra dance
culture?  I know contra dances are typically duple-minor progressives, so
I'm not just asking which of our dances fit that pattern ( I know that
info.), but really which dances do you think would be the easiest to pick up
and provide the best experience to help ECD night be as fun as the contra
nights?  Also, I'm terrible at counting music with which I'm not truly
familiar, so are there any major differences in the count (or other
elements) that might be throwing some of these people off?  

Thanks for any input.


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