24 Aug

Contra Marathon

So here’s a report on the benefit (for Heifer International) contra marathon:

Sunday I was involved in the worlds longest documented contra dance. It lasted 7 hours, and man was it fun. It was soaking hot, but the creek or some water body was right beside the building where we were dancing, so most people jumped in whenever they felt too hot. The first time I put my bathing suit on. After all the dancing was over I just jumped in fully clothed. The way it worked was that the music kept going and the callers kept going. When it was time for relief the new participants joined in while the tired folk slipped off the stage. The callers would just say, “Listen up,” or, “Ok ready, this time…” and change the sequence of steps. The dancing never stopped, but you could come and go out of the lines as you pleased. When you got to the end you could turn around and go back down, or just walk off. If a caller saw the lines getting sparse they’d holler for people to get back in there. It was interesting because knowing at 11am that we’d be dancing all day, I didn’t dance too hard. I’d generally go up and down the line a couple of times then drop out, get water and a bit of food. Once though I was dancing with Sloan and he traded me off to Owen mid dance then Diane Silver turned the contra into a double contra into a square and back into a double and into a single contra line, so there was nowhere to drop out. I just about dropped of heat and exhaustion. But it was a blast. Being so hot and tired made for a kind of ultra-euphoria. At the last half hour we made a line of all the loony dancers, Dr Frank and the like, and swapped genders and partners and generally reeked havoc on the tradition. It was a ball. Then we all ran to the water and jumped in. We all squealed and laughed as our muscles contracted in the icy water. I barely stayed awake for the drive home. Once I walked in my house I went straight to my bed where I slept for 13 hours. Yeee haw!

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