The annual meeting went well on all counts. There were lively discussions on volunteers, workshops and the dance in general, followed by a wonderful potluck anchored by Jonathan Gilbert’s tamarind-plum ham and paprika-spice turkey, and a dance to a community band led by Laura Lengnick and Karen Gaughan with open mic callers. As has been the case in the past, the music was fantastic.
There was formal business to discuss at the meeting, the main bit being the election of new board members. Our new board members are:
Laura Lengnick, who is an extraordinary musician and professor at Warren Wilson, with an interest in developing local talent.
Terry Doyle, who brings lots of experience running dances (Contra Dancers Delight, Appalachian Spring, etc.) to the organization.
Owen Shaffer, who is a key organizer for Splash Dance and is the inspiration and energy behind our new advanced dances.
Able Allen, who has been on the board before, is a terrific organizer and is working on the volunteers.
The OFB will be starting a series of workshops for musicians, callers and dancers over the next few months. Keep your eye on the Web site, email and Facebook for details.
Let us know what sort of workshops you’re interested by using the OFB Website contact sheet and sending a message to ‘workshops’.
The first two advanced dances were well attended and enjoyed by all. The next two are 3/18 & 4/15.
No or brief walkthroughs, and/or slightly more challenging dances make up a great evening of dance for anyone with a little contra experience.
editor: Dennis Merritt
OFB Contra Jam
The OFB Contra Jams with open mics and pie and cake nights have been a blast. The stage has been overflowing. Laura Lengnick led one jam band and Laurie Fisher the other. Both nights we got awesome big band sounds that you simply can’t get most nights (and bagpipes!). And deserts!
The next is April 28th with AnneMarie Walter leading the callers with David White and Roger Gold leading the jam band.
What does this have to do with Splash Dance?
Unlike most dance weekends, Splash Dance is a solid weekend of this type of musical/calling/dancing fun. It’s affordable, it’s fun, it’s at a camp, there’s a lake, there’s excellent food, ...
Registration is open now!
August 26-28, 2011
The Mathematics of Contra
& the Key to Being on Time
Contra tunes are 64 beats, with each beat corre-sponding to a step in the dance. The music is broken into 4 phrases of 16 beats each, which the callers call A1, A2, B1 and B2.
The two A phrases echo each other, and then the music changes for the two B phrases, which also echo. Each phrase has two 8 count halves, which are also easily heard.
Listen for this timing the next time you dance, count the music in your head, 1-8, hear the changes for each of the two A and two B phrases.
The figures of the dance are aligned with these phrases. Balance and swings are often 16 counts, for example, and will take up one of the main A or B phrases.
If you’re listening to the beats, you’ll know exactly when to end that swing and nail the next figure, right on time.
Finger Nails & Hygiene
We had an unfortunate incident with a fingernail at a recent dance. It was long and pointed and punc-tured another dancer’s hand, which then got in-fected and required serious medical treatment.
Please keep your nails dull.
And while the subject is up, there have also been complaints about bad breath from women dancing under noxious clouds emitting from some dancers.
A little care here would be courteous, and maybe some gentle hints from those offended to those offending? One doesn’t always know...