Contra Dance Callers Course
August 9-16, 2015
Held during CDSS at Timber Ridge.
Is there still room?
For up-to-date info about availability and wait lists,
see our Dance & Music Camps page.
Lisa Greenleaf has been treating dancers across the country to her high spirited, witty calling for many years, and is known for precise walk-throughs of zesty and flowing dances. Whether she is presenting cool contras, hot squares, or focused callers' workshops, Lisa engages the crowd with her humor and community spirit.
This contra callers course is an intensive workshop designed for advanced-beginner through intermediate callers who are ready to get to the next level. The focus is on two important topics: teaching skills (understanding choreography and crafting a concise teaching vocabulary) and stage craft (learning how to handle mistakes or unexpected situations and collaborating with musicians). All of this takes place in a supportive environment designed to help participants discover their strengths and explore new ideas.
This program, held concurrently with Adult & Family Week at Timber Ridge, is designed and led by Lisa Greenleaf. Lisa brings many years of experience to her callers workshops, having been on staff at camps across the country and beyond. She has designed both short and long callers courses, and she particularly enjoys observing how people learn dance moves, as well as how they build effective dance communities.
The course takes place for a solid three-tiered block in the afternoon. In the first portion, we cover such topics as teaching figures, recognizing good choreography and understanding effective walk-throughs. This is followed by the Dancing Through Time class with David Millstone, who explores the history of contras and other American country dance forms. The last period is a hands-on experience called the Contra Callers Dance Party, where mini course participants work with a live band and call dances from the stage. Each dance is followed by dancer critique using a safe and supportive feedback model. These last two sessions are open to dancers from the wider camp community.
Participation is limited to ten students, and before camp each student is asked to complete a preparatory assignment, which will be explained with acceptance. Please clearly indicate if you would like to attend Adult & Family Week at Timber Ridge, if you did not get a space in the course. Scholarships are available.
Requirements for callers who would like to attend the Contra Callers Miini Course at Timber Ridge 2015
This course is designed for advanced-beginner through intermediate level callers. A week is not a lot of time, so in order to hit the ground running, please make sure that you can fulfill these criteria by the time camp starts:
- Be familiar with the AABB structure of contra dance music.
- Know the difference between a jig and a reel.
- Know how to cue the first figure off of four potatoes.
- Know how and when to signal the band to go out.
- Have called at least 3 contras in a real dance setting (individual dances, not evenings). Some dances sponsor open mics or new callers’ nights, and some callers are willing to allow new callers to call one dance during an evening. Or you can get a bunch of friends together and host a dance party, but it needs to be to live music.
- Have a repertoire of at least 3 dances you know and feel comfortable teaching and calling.
- Attend contra dances regularly so that you are familiar with the moves, the culture and the music.
- Be prepared to receive and incorporate feedback, even if you have a lot of calling experience.
Teen Class (13-17): Suzannah Park, Ira Bernstein
This high energy group will delve into the dance and music of South Africa during the years of Apartheid. Ira will teach Gumboot dancing, a style of dance created by black miners in South Africa. Ira learned these dance steps from his friend and political exile, Tsepo Makone in the 1980s. Suzannah will teach songs and dances she learned in S.A. in 2014. Music and dance is what moves humans forward together, particularly in the face of great hardship.
Wake UP! Contras & Stuff: for All (18 & up): Janine Smith
Music by: Steve Hickman, John Devine
It's time to dance! Roll outta bed and come as you are, whether you are new to contras and squares or a seasoned veteran, Janine will get you up and dancing with style, grace, and pizzazz in no time flat.
English with a Twist: Experienced ECD (18 & up): David Millstone
Music by: Naomi Morse, Dave Wiesler, Ralph Gordon, Paul Oorts
Aimed at dancers comfortable with basic ECD figures and styling, this session will include less-familiar dances, including more set dances and some moderate challenges. Repertoire will span the centuries, from the early years to contemporary delights, and of course we'll enjoy stellar musical accompaniment.
I Dare You Dances (13 & up with experience): Lisa Greenleaf
Music by: Alexander Mitchell, Dave Wiesler, Ralph Gordon, Paul Oorts
This is Contras and More for Experienced Dancers! With Lisa at the helm, and her characteristic quick wit, humor, and excellent teaching at the ready, you will easily navigate the quirks and intricacies of even the most challenging American dances. The Gigmeisters provide music!
Rapper (13 & up): Kappy Laning
Music by: Robert Mills
Rapper is an English tradition from the late 1800s. Each dance that is taught is based on notes from traditional dances with input from the group when possible, and changes made to fit the energy and needs of the group to create an exciting dance of fast moving figures and team work that is fun for all.
|11:30-12:15||All Camp Gathering with songs, singing, games and stories|
|1:30-3:00||Contra Dance Callers Course|
Dancing Through Time: Evolution of Dance (13 & up): David Millstone
Music by: Steve Hickman, John Devine
From classic "chestnuts" to contemporary cool-move contras, we'll explore how American country dance has changed over two centuries. Our primary focus is contras, but we'll also dance traditional squares from different regions and some exemplary couple dances.
|4:00-5:00||Swimming at the pool|
|4:00-5:15||Canoeing in the River|
Callers Class Dance Party (9 & up): Lisa Greenleaf
Music by: Naomi Morse, Paul Oorts, Robert Mills
This delightful hour of dancing is hosted and called by participants in the Contra Callers Course. Come give them your support and you'll have a rollicking good time to the fabulous music of Naomi Morse, Paul Oorts and Robert Mills. Parents: This is a great chance to dance contras with your age 9+ kids!
|5:15-5:45||Sing for your supper|
|6:45||Parade to the Playhouse|
|7:35||All Camp Gathering|
|8:15||Pied Piper/Bedtime for children 9 & younger|
|8:30-11:00||Evening Dance Party|
|9:30||Bedtime for 10-12 year olds|