Monthly Archives: May 2011

Photos from the 2011 Board Meeting

The CDSS Governing Board had its general meeting last Thursday and Friday in Easthampton, MA. By my count, there were 23 board members coming in from 19 states and provinces. I’ll share more information about the Board meeting in a later post, but for now here are a few photos I took.

Outgoing Executive Director Brad Foster speaks to the group on Thursday morning:

The Executive Committee of the Board has traveling meetings every November and February, respectively. This February the Exec meeting was in Houston, Texas. Next November — as we discovered at the meeting — they’ll convene in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Here, Linda Lieberman (IA) and Jenny Beer (PA) examine a map showing the locations of past CDSS Exec Board meetings:

Here’s the full list of Exec Board meeting locations since 1996, FYI:

Year Jan / Feb Oct / Nov
1996 Washington, DC Portland, OR
1997 Toronto, ON Berea, KY
1998 Philadelphia, PA London, ON
1999 New York, NY Lutherville, MD
2000 Houston, TX Ann Arbor, MI
2001 Seattle, WA Atlanta, GA
2002 Tucson, AZ Ottawa, ON
2003 Minneapolis, MN Vancouver, BC
2004 Durham, NC Oberlin, OH
2005 Tacoma Park, MD St. Louis, MO
2006 Printeton, NJ Los Angeles, CA
2007 Gainesville, FL Mt. Nebo, AR
2008 Ashland, OR Asheville, NC
2009 Lawrenceville, KS Upper Valley, VT, NH
2010 Buena Vista, CO Ann Arbor, MI
2011 Houston, TX Winnipeg, Manitoba

Of course, during the breaks there was singing and dancing. A dance in the hallway, called by Pat Peterson (NC):

At the end of Thursday’s meeting, the board celebrated Brad’s 28 years as Director of CDSS:

Among the components of the ceremony was the presentation of this director’s chair:

Those are the photos I’ve got for now.

There was, of course, a seemingly endless supply of chocolate continuously circumnavigating the table. Some of you may remember this fact from my ‘live’-blogging last year’s meeting on Facebook, which you can still read here: Part 1 and Part 2. I regrettably report that Wendy Graham’s (CO) accidental band name “Habits of Creature” has not, to my knowledge, yet been adopted by anyone. Morris teams?

— Max

Periodic Table of Contra

I’ve heard many a comment on the overlapping interests of dance and math/science, but usually folks aren’t talking about chemistry. Enter “The Periodic Table of Contra”:

This table (click on it for a larger version) was designed by April Blum, one of the organizers of the FootFall dance group. I asked April what had how she came about giving physical science twist to contra dance moves. Here’s the entertaining story she shared:

I had seen other Periodic Tables — there’s one of desserts, for instance, and one of fruits and vegetables, and I think I’ve even seen one of fishing lures. But for some reason I pulled up a “real” one and found myself wondering if I could use the actual abbreviations — no cheating — for terms that callers use.

I was absolutely OBSESSED with it for the better part of three weeks. Most of it was easy, but there were a few entries that were surprisingly difficult, since the collection of abbreviations is a VERY mixed bag. I made lists and lists and lists.

My personal “Eureka!” moment involved xenon (Xe). That was a tough one, and I’d been stuck on it for a week. Then, one morning as I was driving to work, I pulled up behind a car that had an “I love LAX.” bumper sticker. I was staring idly at it, waiting for the light to change, when I suddenly made the connection — Xe was “Cross Trails” of course! The driver behind me must have thought I’d lost it — I was pounding on the steering wheel and laughing like an idiot.

We’ve sold enough to cover our original printing costs and any additional posters that we sell go directly to FootFall. We hope to sell enough to provide some additional scholarships for young dancers (we already give a substantial discount, but we’d like to do more to make the weekend affordable, especially for students).

I’m sure this would make Mendeleev proud.

— Max

If you’d like to order a Periodic Table of Contra (while supporting youth scholarships at FootFall) contact April at aprilgblum@gmail.com.

Posters are 18 x 24 (they fit a standard size frame) and printed in color on poster-quality glossy paper.
$10 each, and $2.75 for postage per order of 1-5 posters.

Great for dance halls, dorm rooms, or perhaps your lab.

Morris Dancing at the UN (updated)

Happy May Day! In the spirit of this international day of morris dancing, here’s a photo from the archives showing morris dancing  at the UN:

This photo was taken in 1947 at the United Nations Fiesta at Rockefeller Plaza, NYC by Genny Shimer. My colleague Pat MacPherson shared this photo with me. While Pat might know more of the individuals pictures, I’m sorry to say at the moment I don’t. (If you know or think you know, drop a comment below!)

I can tell you that at the front right is Bob Hider, whose papers inspired two recent posts from Pat. The photographer, Genny Shimer, was a former CDSS director, teacher, and scholar. You can read more about her here and here (pdf). She authored, among other things, the modern Playford Ball (with Kate Van Winkle Keller) and our Genevieve Shimer Publications Fund is named in her honor.

You can also see Genny in this charmingly grainy video (featuring Tony Barrand) which I recently came across of a jig competition at Pinewoods in 1982:

(Parts two, three, and four also available.)

Traveling another thirty or so years forward, I never tire of watching Maple Morris: The Movie. If you need some morris inspiration and energizing, you can’t do better.

Well… I didn’t intend this post to be a mini-retrospective of morris over the last 50 years, but it’s happened anyway. Time to get outside and step sprightly. Enjoy your May Day!

— Max

UPDATE: Caller/scholar David Millstone, who scanned the original UN photo, provides the following elucidating information:

Left side, back to front: Jack Langstaff, William Partington, Russell Loughton

Right side, back to front: Jack Shimer, Bob Guillard, Bob Hider

Jack Langstaff is, of course, co-founder of Revels, along with his daughter, Carol, and he also led some weeks at Pinewoods for CDSS back in the day. I don’t know that we can say for certain that Genny took the photo, although it did come from the photo album that belonged to her and her husband, Jack Shimer. After Genny died, Jack Shimer married Joan Carr, who was for a time the CDSS Assistant Director. As Joan Carr, she was the recipient of Pat Shaw’s dance, “Quite Carr-ied Away, or Joan Transported”. And after Jack died and Joan was preparing to move, she asked that the album be passed along to CDSS.