... in general, the Anglo-Irish do not make good dancers; they are too spritely and conscious; they are incapable of one kind of trance or of being seemingly impersonal. And, for the formal, pure dance they lack the formality: about their stylishness (for they have stylishness) there is something impromptu, slightly disorderly.
--Elizabeth Bowen
Contra Dance Planning
April 25, 2003

On Wednesday, my contra calling class had a meeting to plan our May 2 graduation dance. I got some insight into dance programming by listening to Merri think out loud as she placed callers in the lineup.

I spent time on Tuesday and Wednesday researching dances on line. There are a lot of sources, including a Filemaker database (American Country Dances On Line, served on a Mac), that is downloadable. Which I did. And then started adding other dances. Here's a list of sources of dances, both online and off (scroll for online resources).

I find myself attracted to dances by name, which is probably dangerous. But how could I resist a dance called "24th of October" (my birthday). I can't give you a URL directly to the dance; it's in the American Country Dances On Line database. So here it is:

24th of October

By Don Lennartson

Levelmed (assigned by the editor)

A1(8) Long lines go forward and back
(8) Ladies chain
A2(8) Left-hand star
This is the progression
(8) With a new neighbor allemande right 1 1/2 to long waves with gents facing in
B1(4) Balance the wave
(4) Circulate to new waves (gents cross into P's place; ladies arc right into N's place)
(4) Balance
(4) Circulate to new waves (gents arc, ladies cross)
B2(4) Balance
(4) Circulate (gents cross, ladies arc)
(8) Partners swing

Editor's Notes:
Based on Steve Schnur's 24th of June.

This dance is from American Country Dances On Line
All rights reserved by the author; used by permission.
Added to database 3/19/1997; last revised 3/5/1999; edited by Russell Owen

As an MWSD dancer and caller, the circulates look pretty trivial. But Merri thought this would be pretty hard to call...spitting out the "balance" and "circulate" (plus any helper words to get the dancers through an unfamiliar figure) will be challenging. I'm looking forward to it. And I'm practicing.

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Kris Jensen

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