Klezmer Contras are an excellent idea. The band Forks of Nature proved this last Friday, as they went modal on some traditional tunes, and threw in some swing favorites, too. This great band really got the crowd going, and they're fun to call with.
This past dance at the Shelburne Town Hall also included an experiment. Since many Mad Robins adore waltzing, we've been looking for ways to have more of it at our dances. At the very beginning, we debated having four or five waltzes throughout the evening (if the band were willing), but realized that more waltzing means fewer contra dances, and our mission is to learn contra and square dance calling.
In April 2011, we found our answer: waltzing from 7-7:45 (followed by masterful and quick sound check by Rick Klein), then our regular dance from 8-11. Plenty of folks showed up to make it worthwhile, and the response was positive, even with recorded music. We will have to look into replicating that.
No rest for the weary, though, as we now turn our sights to Friday 4/29/11 and the workshop by David Millstone on calling chestnuts (older, more traditional dances). We are very excited about this opportunity to educate our collective about the roots of the dances we all love so much. We are also deeply grateful to the Country Dance and Song Society (CDSS) and their outreach grants, which generously subsidize the workshop, helping to keep it affordable for participants.
If any community members are interested, please let us know right away!
In addition to paying respect to our tradition, this workshop will help prepare us for some upcoming gigs that are specifically about calling chestnuts. Stay tuned for more on that!