[SCA-Dance] Suggestions Wanted

Catherine Dean catherinedean at gmail.com
Mon Apr 25 11:46:26 EDT 2011

> 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?
I had one further thought on this part of your question last night.

My experience has been that a significant minority of experienced contra
dancers rely on the musical phrases of the melody to tell them what to do,
rather than counts.  Contra dances may not be linked to individual tunes but
they are strongly linked to the 64 bar repeat with 16 bar musical phrases
(usually A1, A2, B1, B2).  Dancers instinctively know that the tune changes
signal a change in figures.

(This phenomenon is well explained, here:

This became really clear to me when I watched friends struggle with dancing
contras to club/house music, which is becoming popular down here: they would
complain about not being able to hear the beat, even when the beat was
completely clear--what they were really missing was having the musical
phrases guide them through the dance.

This works well for your purposes, since ECD also lends itself to being
taught so that the movements are tied to musical phrases rather than random
8-counts.  I would think a  pretty standard sing-the-movements-to-the-tune
approach combined with good cueing for the first few repeats of the dance
would work well.

Hope this helps!  I'm having a great time thinking about your question and
hope my random contra ramblings haven't been too off-topic for this list.


More information about the Sca-dance mailing list