2011 Singing Squares Callers Course
|7:45-8:15||Hot Breakfast served cafeteria style|
|8:15-8:45||Cold Breakfast Coffee/Tea available|
Movement Improvement with Tai Chi: Cis Hinkle
We will use gentle movements designed to get your joints lubricated and your muscles and mind warmed up for the dancing day ahead.
||Singing Squares Callers Course|
|11:15-12:15||Swimming, Bookstore staffed, spaces available|
Argentine Tango: Matthew Duveneck, Anna Gilbert
Music by: Peter Barnes, Bill Tomczak, Dave Langford, Mark Murphy
A dance born in Buenos Aires during the earliest days of the last century, Argentine tango is popular all over the world. Ever mysterious, tango is considered by many partner dancers to be the ultimate form of creative dance. We will work on both the livelier "Milonga" style, born of multi- cultures merging in the outskirts of the city, as well as the sweeping, often melancholic tangos of the golden era (1940-50’s). And, we'll make time for "Chacarera" Argentine folk dancing fun! The class will compare tango to other dance forms and will explore a comfortable, joyful way to communicate through this beautiful and intimate dance. Please bring shoes you can pivot with. All levels are welcome!
What Makes Good Dance Music: Andrew VanNorstrand, Noah VanNorstrand
Do you know that moment when the dance and the music and the energy in the hall are all in perfect sync? This class / discussion will cover many different aspects of what makes that moment happen. Most of the subject matter will be of interest to both dancers and musicians (and callers too!), although it may become more musician oriented later in the week. Each day will have a broad focus, for example: "Thinking Like a Dancer" or "Picking the Perfect Tune" or "Between the Sheets: Music Not Fit for Reading" or "Practical Music Theory: Tension and Dynamics" or "Journey to the Edge: Exploring the Outer Limits of Dance Music" or others. Within each of these we'll be able to talk about more specific topics like timing, ear training, improvisation, harmonies and chord substitutions, repertoire and composition, communication on stage, developing creative arrangements of common tunes, etc. Much of the class will also be shaped by the questions and interests of the attendees.
Singing: Nils Fredland
Nils will deliver an instant choir experience that will amaze and inspire. He will lead songs from a wide range of choral singing traditions, focusing on American songs from the shape note and gospel canons, African songs (with accompanying dances!) and a few contemporary a capella gems. Basic music reading skills are helpful, but not necessary. We'll sound like a polished chorus by week's end!
Mind-bending Contras and More: Cis Hinkle
Music by: Andrew VanNorstrand, Kim Yerton, Noah VanNorstrand
For those who want a little more spice in their dancing experience, we'll explore some tricky moves, unexpected twists, and challenging timing in a variety of dance formations.
Musicians Dance Ensemble: Emily Troll
Explore the joys of playing dance music together. Sometimes in large groups, sometimes in small, we'll learn a little about a lot of things: harmony, chords, supporting other musicians, improvising, and creating musical drama. Bring questions, bring suggestions! Students should be able to play close to dance tempo in order to experience this class to the max.
Community Art: Ann Percival
There is nothing like sitting around a big table with a bunch of folks, creating an art project. Please join us as we work on the most fantastic collage project of all time: "Art On A Stick" This is a big mixed media bash with something for everyone. We'll work with wood, collage, house paint, sand paper, puff paint, smashed mirrors, wire, old toys, hot glue guns, beads and tissue paper. We'll each create a piece that can be hung on the wall or put outside, in the ground on a stick. It's fun, creative and easy! No previous experience needed. $5 Materials Fee payable at the first class.
|4:00-4:45||Tea, Swimming and Bookstore staffed|
Rendezvous: Lisa Greenleaf
Not to be missed! This is our community gathering for entertainment and laughs, singing and staff presentations.
Afternoon Tai Chi Warm-down: Cis Hinkle
Wind down and relax with tai chi, the ancient Chinese meditative martial art sometimes called "swimming in the air". We'll limber up after our day of movement, and perhaps learn a simple form (series of movements) to practice together.
|8:15-11:00||Evening Dance Party|
July 30 - August 6, 2011
Held concurrently with American Dance & Music Week at Pinewoods.
Is there still room?
For up-to-date info about availability and wait lists,
see our Program Weeks page.
Ralph Sweet has been calling square dances since 1948, and contras since 1952. His specialty these days is singing and patter square dance, as part of his contra dance programs. He has taught workshops in calling squares at Buffalo Gap Camp, at his Powder Mill Barn, and at the Dance Flurry Festival. His new book "On the Beat with Ralph Sweet", co-authored with Nils Fredland, is loaded with fun square dances for every level of dancer experience, with essays on how to get started in calling squares to contra dancers, or to complete beginners.
Nils Fredland has been calling dances since 2000. Respected for his expertise as a teacher and caller, and beloved for his sensitive leadership, generosity and friendliness, Nils is one of the busiest callers in the business. He is caller and trombone player with the touring contra dance band, Elixir, and can be heard playing his horn and calling with several other popular bands coast to coast and overseas. Nils is also widely known as an engaging and skillful song leader. His goal is to create a welcome and safe environment for all participants, and to deliver a joyful, community-building experience through learning and singing together.
Ralph Sweet and Nils Fredland bring two distinct and valuable perspectives to the unique art of calling singing squares. Ralph, at 81, has honed his skills over the course of a sixty-year career, developing his remarkably smooth delivery, collecting a vast repertoire of dances and passing on his love of singing squares to generations of contra and square dancers. During American Week, class participants will learn, and take inspiration, from listening to Ralph teach and call these dances; equal focus will be placed on experiencing Ralph’s calling as a dancer, and listening and analyzing from the caller’s perspective.
Nils is the ideal co-leader for this class; in his early 30s, he fell in love with singing squares upon hearing a recording of Ralph calling some of his standards. Nils immediately began his own process of learning to call singing squares by listening and dancing to Ralph as often as possible. Over the course of the last six years, Nils has developed a thorough understanding of what makes a great singing square dance caller. He will help class participants develop that same understanding, with a focus on putting the essential skills to practical use right away, in a safe and supportive environment.
The daily class period will be broken up into three parts: a whole group exercise, led by Ralph and Nils, with a focus on singing, basic patter square calling skills and how to combine the two; dancing, listening and analyzing, during which class participants will rotate between dancing to Ralph and participating in a “listening lab” with Nils in order to recognize and define the subtle skills that make Ralph a master; and mic time for each participant to try out what they’ve learned, backed by a fantastic musical staff, with supportive feedback from Ralph, Nils and other class participants.
All registrants will be expected to purchase a copy of On the Beat with Ralph Sweet (available from CDSS and at the camp bookstore), and be familiar with the basic concepts laid out in the essays in the book. Other helpful (but not required) resources include Ralph’s CD recording of singing squares, Shindig in the Barn, and the companion booklet (available soon) of the same title.
This course is limited to 12 callers to ensure plenty of opportunity for active participation. Previous experience calling patter and singing squares is helpful, but not necessary. The ability to match pitch is essential. If the class is oversubscribed, preference will be given to newer callers, and to callers from regions in which squares are under-represented. Recommendations may be required for acceptance.