F 1 D 0 -- 2002 02 26 at 04 00


I've been thinking about different folk
dancing I do, and what the different hot
spots of interest these dances bring forth.


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.


These are not for swinging. Oh, you get to swing,
but that isn't the quintessential element for

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 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

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 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

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

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

- -

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.