contra dance music

"contra dance music". [44], In recent years, younger contra dancers have begun establishing "crossover contra" or "techno contra" — contra dancing to techno, hip-hop, and other modern forms of music. The New England contra dance tradition was also maintained in Vermont by the Ed Larkin Old Time Contra Dancers, formed by Edwin Loyal Larkin in 1934. Calls are normally given at least the first few times through, and often for the last. Contredanse, genre of dance for several couples. First Couple Balance & Swing, finish facing down to make Lines of Four), containing at least one swing and normally both a partner swing and a neighbour swing, the vast majority of the moves from a set of well-known moves that the dancers know already, composed mostly of moves that keep you connected to the other dancers, generally danced to 32 bar jigs or reels played at between 110 and 130 bpm, danced with a smooth walk with many spins and twirls. Scots tunes, Irish tunes, Scandinavian, French, Balkan and more. Some of the most popular contra dance bands in recent years are Great Bear, Perpetual E-Motion, Buddy System, Crowfoot, Elixir, the Mean Lids, Nor'easter, Nova, Pete's Posse, the Stringrays, the Syncopaths, and Wild Asparagus. [45][46] While challenging for DJs and callers, the fusion of contra patterns with moves from hip-hop, tango, and other forms of dance has made this form of contra dance a rising trend since 2008. One who attends an evening of contra dances in North America does not need to bring his or her own partner. The dancers form couples, and the couples form sets of two couples in long lines starting from the stage and going down the length of the dance hall. There is a Thursday virtual dance from Seattle's Lake City Contra series. Contra dance events are open to all, regardless of experience unless explicitly labeled otherwise, and it is common to see dancers anywhere from 15 to 70 years of age, and with a variety of backgrounds. Throughout the course of a dance, couples progress up and down these lines, dancing with each other couple in the line. Contra Dance Music: A Working Musician's Guide. Each week, Indy Contra has different bands and callers making each week an unique dance experience. [18] These and others continue to be popular and some offer other dances and activities besides contra dancing. “Considered a social dance that one can attend without a partner, but is danced in pairs, contra dancing is danced in long lines of couples/pairs formed starting from the stage and down the dance … The piano, guitar, and double bass are frequently found in the rhythm section of a contra dance band. In the 1970s, Sannella and other callers introduced dance moves from English Country Dance, such as heys and gypsies, to the contra dances. Contra Dance & Event Calendar MAPS : ICC =Irish Cultural Center, MCC =Mesa Community College, JHC =Jewish Heritage Center, GOCCC =Greek Orthodox Church Community Center 7:30 pm - 10:30 pm (Free lesson at 7:00 pm) What follows is the start of a catalog of contra dance music tune books. But it was about seven years ago, working at the Folkway, in Peterborough, that I became exposed to contra dance music and got the desire to teach myself how to play it.” It has mixed origins from English country dance, Scottish country dance, and French dance styles in the 17th century. A count may also be called a step, as contra dance is a walking form, and each count of a dance typically matches a single physical step in a figure. Greenwood, VA - Contra dance - Second and Fourth Sundays - Facebook About page. The guitar, banjo, accordion and fiddle brought people together to dance and socialize. Five of them are: triplet, indecent, four-face-four, and whole-set. Select RSS Feeds Edit Select Simulations, Applets and Visualizations Edit Select Slideshows Edit Select Societies, Associations, Groups, etc. Only 6 left in stock - order soon. The fiddle is considered the core instrument, though other stringed instruments can be used, such as the guitar, banjo, bass and mandolin, as well as the piano, accordion, flute, clarinet and more. Each sub-group of two interacting couples is known to choreographers as a minor set and to dancers as a foursome or hands four. Couples in the same minor set are neighbors. A single dance runs around ten minutes, long enough to progress at least 15-20 times. Most contra dances consist of a sequence of about 6 to 12 individual figures, prompted by the caller in time to the music as the figures are danced. P.O. [30] As dancing can be aerobic, dancers are sometimes encouraged to bring a change of clothes. THE MUSIC and THE HALL. I will exclude items such as any possible salsa CD by KGB or sitar music by Wild Asparagus, but will probably list some CDs that contain some tunes that are played at contra Contra dance (also contradance, contra-dance and other variant spellings) is a folk dance made up of long lines of couples. Double progression dances, popularized by Herbie Gaudreau,[20] added to the aerobic nature of the dances, and one caller, Gene Hubert, wrote a quadruple progression dance, Contra Madness. [8] In the mid-19th century, group dances started to decline in popularity in favor of quadrilles, lancers, and couple dances such as the waltz and polka. Order & Shipping Details The walk-through usually proceeds in the order of the moves as they will be done with the music; in some dances, the caller may vary the order of moves during the dance, a fact that is usually explained as part of the caller's instructions. In terms of instrumentation, fiddles are considered to be the primary melody instrument in contra dancing,[40] though other stringed instruments can also be used, such as the mandolin or banjo, in addition to a few wind instruments, for example, the accordion. Generally, a leader, known as a caller, will teach each individual dance just before the music for that dance begins. [41] Occasionally, percussion instruments are also used in contra dancing, such as the Irish bodhran or less frequently, the dumbek or washboard. There's a start to a list of contra dance music on CDs. [42] The last few years have seen some of the bands incorporate the Quebecois practice of tapping feet on a board while playing an instrument (often the fiddle). National standards and local favorites are included. One of the primary supports for the choreography of the dances is, of course, the music. As will necessarily be the case when beginners are welcomed in by more practiced dancers, mistakes are made; most dancers are willing to help beginners in learning the steps. The parts are called A1, A2, B1 and B2. Contra Music. Contra dance includes everything from Irish tunes to French-Canadian folk tunes; the music almost always features a fiddle, but banjo and bass can be included. All dances have been cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns. It’s inextricably linked to the old-timey bluegrass music that pervades every mountain city and town. The Celtic Connection Contra dance music is lively and propelling, serving the purpose of driving and energizing dancers as they move up and down a dance floor in simple, called patterns, interacting with a partner, another couple, or another individual along the way. Irish, Scottish, French Canadian, and Old-time tunes are common, and Klezmer tunes have also been used. Music for the evening is typically performed by a live band, playing jigs and reels from Ireland, Scotland, Canada, or the USA. However, any 64-beat tune will do; for instance, three 8-beat parts could be played AABB AACC, or two 8-beat parts and one 16-beat part could be played AABB CC. [54], Social folk dance with mixed European origins. This is because the tunings of the five-string banjo are key-specific. The emphasis will be on bands and musicians that play at contra dances. [34][35], Contra dances are arranged in long lines of couples. A typical evening of contra dance is three hours long, including an intermission. Since then, contra dance musicians have typically played tunes in sets of two or three related (and sometimes contrasting) tunes, though single-tune dances are again becoming popular with some northeastern bands. During a single dance, the same pattern is repeated over and over (one time through lasts roughly 30 seconds), but each time you and your partner will dance with new neighbors. [47] Techno has become especially prevalent in Asheville, NC, but regular techno contra dance series are spreading up the East Coast to locales such as Charlottesville, VA,[48] Washington, D.C.,[49] Amherst, MA, Greenfield, MA, and various North Carolina dance communities, with one-time or annual events[50] cropping up in locations farther west, including California, Portland, OR, and Washington state. Some contra dances are even done to techno music. (For diagrams and full descriptions, see Contra Dance Form main article.). Sometimes, a rock tune will be woven in, to the delight of the dancers.[25]. It might be more prudent, but less whimsical, to say that contra dance is one of the few dance forms where by the end of the evening you are likely to have danced with everyone. —, "Brecksville Reservation fall … In the Celtic repertoires it is common to change keys with each tune. Whenever musicians gathered to play, people danced to the music. An old-time band might play a set of tunes in D, then use the time between dances to retune for a set of tunes in A. By then, early dance camps, retreats, and weekends had emerged, such as Pinewoods Camp, in Plymouth, Massachusetts, which became primarily a music and dance camp in 1933,[16] and NEFFA, the New England Folk Festival, also in Massachusetts, which began in 1944. As the sequence repeats, the caller may cut down his or her prompting, and eventually drop out, leaving the dancers to each other and the music. Admission is Free (Donations to BarnArts welcome at the door) What is a Contra Dance? The French called these dances contra-dances or contredanses (which roughly translated "opposites dance"), as indicated in a 1710 dance book called Recuil de Contredance. [43], Until the 1970s it was traditional to play a single tune for the duration of a contra dance (about 5 to 10 minutes). The Brattleboro Dawn Dance started in 1976, and continues to run semiannually.[21][22]. The Jazz Connection, Other Helpful Great Meadow Pages; Many modern contra dances have these characteristics:[39]. Every first Friday and 3rd Saturday at Pioneer Park Dance Hall – 8:00 pm September through May with an abbreviated summer schedule. The essence of the dance is in following the pattern with your set and your line; since there is no required footwork, many people find contra dance easier to learn than other forms of social dancing.[2]. Recent Examples on the Web Mud in Yer Eye, providing contra dance and folk music to Clevelanders since 1978, returns for another year of fun and frivolity. Thus, a contra dance is typically 64 counts, and goes with a 32 measure tune. “My mother was a pianist, that’s where the incentive came from origninlly. [6][7], Contra dances were fashionable in the United States and were considered one of the most popular social dances across class lines in the late 18th century, though these events were usually referred to as "country dances" until the 1780s, when the term contra dance became more common to describe these events. The A and B parts are each played twice in a row, hence, A1, A2, B1, B2. FREE Shipping on orders over $25 shipped by Amazon. [1], Contra dancing is a social dance that one can attend without a partner. A fundamental aspect of Contra Dancing is that each dancer interacts with several different people within the span of each song. Remembering Betty Ann, If you know what you want, click here for Order & Shipping Information, GREAT MEADOW MUSIC There are four common ways of arranging couples in the minor sets: proper, improper, Becket, and triple formations. While the same music is generally played in, for example, parts A1 and A2, distinct choreography is followed in those parts. best contra dance videos for new people to see what it is like :) This nomenclature stems from the music: Most contra dance tunes (as written) have two parts (A and B), each 8 measures long, and each fitting one part of the dance. Contra dance is a form of dance that thrusts a different person of the opposite sex into your arms every 30 seconds or so. Contra dancing is special because it is almost always done to live music. [5] As time progressed, these dances returned to England and were spread and reinterpreted in the United States, and eventually the French form of the name came to be associated with the American folk dances, where they were alternatively called "country dances" or in some parts of New England such as New Hampshire, "contradances". Like wise, traditional New England music is unique because it still has strong ties to a social dance form. Becket formation was introduced, with partners next to each other in the line instead of opposite. Sadly most music heard at contra dances today lacks the traditional roots and reflects the pop culture. Website. In the old-time tradition the musicians will either play the same tune for the whole dance, or switch to tunes in the same key. While all dancers in the room are part of the same dance pattern, half of the couples in the room are moving toward the band/music at any moment and half are facing away from the music, so when everybody steps forward, they will find new people to dance with for the next 30-40 seconds. The "walk through" also helps understand how the dance pattern leads toward new people each time. Welcome to CFOOTMAD, your information source for contra and traditional dancing and music around Boulder, Denver and the Front Range. Contra tunes are played at a narrow range of tempos, between 108 and 132 bpm. A count (as used above) is one half of a musical measure, such as one quarter note in 24 time or three eighth notes in 68 time. [10] Lovett and Ford initiated a dance program in Dearborn, Michigan that included several folk dances, including contras. Typical contra dance choreography comprises four parts, each 16 counts (8 measures) long. Click on any event for specific information about the music of the week, location information, price, and any other important information. You can hear much of the contra dance music in Portland at contra dances everywhere. Today, contra dance remains popular in the Appalachians. A Portland Selection: Contra Dance Music In The Pacific Northwest. For eighteen years GREAT BEAR set the standard and pushed the boundaries of modern contra dance music. Tunes used for a contra dance are nearly always "square" 64-beat tunes, in which one time through the tune is each of two 16-beat parts played twice (this is notated AABB). 2. Music and Dancing 6:30-9pm BYOB. In the span of 10-15 minutes, you often dance with everybody in the entire set of dancers. We also have additional special events such as Sunday afternoon contra dances and calling parties. In the 1930s and 1940s, the popularity of Jazz, Swing, and "Big Band" music caused contra dance to decline in several parts of the USA, and they were primarily held in towns within the Northeastern portions of North America, such as Ohio, the Maritime provinces of Canada,[13] and particularly in New England. We do have the first two music collections however, "The Portland Collection: Contra Dance Music in the Pacific Northwest, 1 & 2", which are valued by us in many ways, which have a lot of old friends in them ~ melodies ~ and people mentioned, associated with, and contributing to these two excellent books. Robert Cox hosts a biweekly radio show and podcast called Contracast featuring contra dance music. by George Penk , Susan Songer , et al. [3] Many dancers travel regionally (or even nationally) to contra dance weekends and week-long contra dance camps, where they can expect to find other dedicated dancers, great callers, and great bands.[4]. Contra Dance and Music. Minor sets originate at the head of the set, starting with the topmost dancers as the 1s (the active couple or actives); the other couple are 2s (or inactives). Booking ahead by asking partner or partners ahead of time for each individual dance is common at some venues, but has been discouraged by some. Once music starts, the Caller will continue to talk on their microphone and describe each move until the dancers are comfortable with that dance pattern. [32] However, low heeled, broken-in, soft-soled, non-marking shoes, such as dance shoes, sneakers, or sandals, are recommended and, in some places, required. The special sound of New England contra music has inspired dancers for generations. With longer sets (more than ≈60 people) time for one song does not allow dancing with every dancer in the group; but people do still enjoy a variety of dance personalities as they interact with most couples in the same set. The music played in the Monadnock Region along the Connecticut River from the 1970s to the early part of this century was particularly special. Many callers and bands perform for local contra dances, and some are hired to play for dances around the U.S. and Canada. Before around 1970, contra dancing was found only in New England, and danced primarily to traditional New England style music. Here, D is related to G as its dominant (5th), while D and Bm share a key signature of two sharps. Couples consist of two people, traditionally (but not necessarily) one male (typically referred to by the caller as the gent, lead, man, lark, or left) and one female (typically referred to by the caller as the lady, follow, woman, raven, robin, or right). Music in a dance can consist of a single tune or a medley of tunes, and key changes during the course of a dance are common. Tunes of this form are called "square"; tunes that deviate from this form are called "crooked". For those who love good music and almost know left from right. In practice it's easier to "just do it", with the caller explaining things, and other dancers helping point the way, and the overall effect is that you enjoy dancing with one "set" of four people for 30 seconds, and then step forward and find "new people to play with" as you move across the room. Beginners are welcome. An event which consists primarily (or solely) of dances in this style is sometimes referred to as a Modern Urban Contra Dance. Variable. This effect is almost like having a checker board with red & black pieces evenly arranged across the whole board, and all red pieces gradually moving toward one side while all black pieces progressing toward the other side. As the dance pattern progresses the "1s" within each group of four people will move Down the Hall away from the music to find new dancers, while the 2s in each group of four will progress/move UP the Hall toward the Caller and the music. Initially, Lovett could not as he was under contract at a local inn; consequently, Ford bought the property rights to the inn. Audio CD $9.99 $ 9. In fact, it is sometimes referred to as New England folk dance or Appalachian folk dance. "Contra Dance / Contradance in New England", "Contra Dance / Contradance Links for Festivals, Camps, and Weekends", "Longtime contra dancing program comes to an end", "Ed Larkin dancers head for Tunbridge again", "NEFFA – New England Folk Festival Association", how figures like heys and gypsies got into modern contradancing, "A look at late-night dancing in the Brattleboro, VT area from the 1920s to the 1960s", "Peterborough 1st Saturdays and Special Dances – Monadnock Folklore Society", "5/6/11, 2 of 9: Perpetual e-Motion at the Concord Scout House", "Susan Kevra's Letter to the Greenfield Contra Dancers", "Notes on Calling Contra Dances by Cary Ravitz", "Contra Dance – What to Wear? As musicians and callers moved to other locations, they founded contra dances in Michigan, Washington, Oregon, California, Texas, and elsewhere. Sets are generally arranged so they run the length of the hall, with the top of the set being the end closest to the band and caller. A typical room of Contra dancers may include about 120 people; but this varies from 30 people in smaller towns, to over 300 people in cities like Washington DC, Los Angeles, or New York. At the end of the 17th century, English country dances were taken up by French dance masters. About Us • What Is Contra Dance? Contra dance choreography specifies the dance formation, the figures, and the sequence of those figures in a dance. We feature the artists who played in this ‘classic’ period, and welcome you to share the joy of contra. The most common contra dance repertoire is rooted in the Anglo-Celtic tradition as it developed in North America. The tunes may range from traditional originating a century ago, to modern compositions including electric guitar, synth keyboard, and driving percussion - so long as the music fits the timing for Contra dance patterns. 99. However, because the friendly, social nature of the dances can be misinterpreted or even abused, some groups have created anti-harassment policies. The event consists of a number of individual contra dances, each lasting about 15 minutes, and typically a band intermission with some waltzes, schottisches, polkas, or Swedish hambos. They are learning a new dance style and moves that are generally easy, but are receiving it almost all at once. Box 4, Westmoreland, NH 03467 Irish, Scottish, French Canadian, and Old-time tunes are common, and Klezmer tunes have also been used. [24] Many events offer beginner-level instructions prior to the dance. 3. The most common contra dance repertoire is rooted in the Anglo-Celtic tradition as it developed in North America. A musician since age 5, he remembers enduring the pain of childhood piano lessons. Contra Dancing is a popular form of recreation enjoyed by people of all ages in over 200 cities and towns across the United states (as of 2020), yet it also has a long history that includes European origins, and over 100 years of cultural influences from many different sources. Notably, contra dance figures (with a few exceptions) do not have defined footwork; within the limits of the music and the comfort of their fellow dancers, individuals move according to their own taste. The caller gives the instructions orally, and sometimes augments them with demonstrations of steps by experienced dancers in the group. at, listening to new music and exercising aerobically. If the sets are short to medium length the caller will often try to run the dance until each couple has danced with every other couple both as a 1 and a 2 and returned to where they started. [26][27][28][29], Most contra dances do not have an expected dress code. The old-time repertoire includes very few of the jigs common in the others. I've limited myself to print versions and included the most common compilations, tunebooks from specific composers, and tunebooks from a historical or country of origin. Start at for a constantly-updated list and links. Correspondingly, the bottom of the set is the end farthest from the caller.[36]. The music played in the Monadnock Region along the Connecticut River from the 1970s to the early part of this century was particularly special. [8], Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company, had a role in preserving contra and American folk dancing generally, in part as a response in opposition to modern jazz influences in the United States. Just click on any title below to view the sheet music; you can also download and print the file directly from your web browser. The dance is led by a caller who teaches the sequence of figures in the dance before the music starts. Contra Dance Music: A Working Musician's Guide is a gold mine of links to articles about playing for dances by musicians and callers. CONTRA DANCE MUSIC. [14] The group Larkin founded is still performing, teaching the dances, and holding monthly open house dances in Tunbridge, VT.[14][15]. Techno differs from other contra dancing in that it is usually done to recorded music, although there are some bands that play live for techno dances. In the short break between individual dances, the dancers invite each other to dance. Contra dances are family-friendly, and alcohol consumption is not part of the culture. Get it as soon as Thu, Feb 20. After the walk-through, the music begins and the dancers repeat that sequence some number of times before that dance ends, often 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the length of the contra lines. In the early 1980s, Tod Whittemore started the first Saturday dance in the Peterborough Town House, which remains one of the more popular regional dances. Each time through the dance takes 64 beats, after which the pattern is repeated. The 1s are said to be above their neighboring 2s; 2s are below. Contra Borealis Dancers Fairbanks. Call 603 399-8361, click here for Order & Shipping Information. [17] Pittsburgh Contra Dance celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2015. Ralph Page almost single-handedly maintained the New England tradition until it was revitalized in the 1950s and 1960s, particularly by Ted Sannella and Dudley Laufman.

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