F 1 D 0 -- 2002 02 26 at 04 00 Dances. I've been thinking about different folk dancing I do, and what the different hot spots of interest these dances bring forth. Contradance. That is not about style. People contradance because they want to swing their partner a lot, and want to swing all of their neighbours too. Contradance lets you have the confidence of a Tango, but the skill of a pedestrian. Oh, don't feel so bad about it, you contradancers! There is a skill needed. There seem to be between six and eight components to your average zesty contra, and a good dancer remembers these points of choreography, at least for a bit. Squares. These are not for swinging. Oh, you get to swing, but that isn't the quintessential element for squares. Squares are about being separated from you partner by choreography, and being surprised that by just following the leader's instructions, you get the partner back! The thing I've always disliked about squares is how you, the dancer, have to let go, and simply hear and follow the instructions as they're called. Some squares callers don't even TRY to stay with the music. Ugh. I really like the square formation for dances. I don't like playing Simon Says Dance with the caller. English. English Country dance isn't about swinging. That's because it isn't in the dictionary, actually. You get to do some closely related moves. A two-hand turn, when pulled around, feels like a swing. Also a cross-hand polka, used rarely, can have swing satisfaction. English dance isn't about losing your partner, as most of the time, you get to keep together. This can be handy when prone to getting lost: just watch your partner, and do what they do. This doesn't ALWAYS work, but it USUALLY works. English seems to be about understanding the dance. This means knowing where you are supposed to be, and when you have this, you are not going to get lost, just because the caller accidently sends you right (instead of left). When you know an English Dance, then your knowledge is secure, and you can dance with confidence. Many people like English dance's proper styling. I for one prefer to imagine all of the drunk dancers, in a British Pub, or in the barn nearby, celebrating something. Oh, not *really* drunk, but definitely all relaxed and full of humour. Irish. Irish dance actually happens the way I've described above, but they take their dances very seriously, even when they've been drinking. The historical re-creations may or may not be accurate, but the dances are done a certain way in each town, and this is what is taught locally. While people often fool around, dancers try to determine whether such foolaround is a change in dance, or just ornamentation. Ornamentation is fine, but changing the dance is strictly forbidden. Many Irish dances take place in a square formation. Different from English and modern Contradances, there is usually activity from only half the dancers at once. Usually the "Head Couples" do the dance, while the "Side Couples" who have been watching can dance it afterwards. I'm not sure what the purest important element of Irish Dance is. - - I got home around 12midnight from the weekend's Dawn Dance festival in Ann Arbor MI. As always, it is small enough to be friendly, and big enough to offer lots of choices and good amenities. Go to this dance. It happens each year the weekend after President's Day weekend. That corresponds loosely to Valentine's Day. - - The amount of things left for me to do here is overwhelming me. I only have a few days, and gawd, I cannot see what to start. I'd better. That's all I know.