Contra Dance Callers Course

August 9-16, 2015

Held during CDSS at Timber Ridge.

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Tentative Schedule

Program Director

Program Description

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. Because we want to hit the ground running, attendees are expected to be advanced beginners or beyond; feel free to contact the CDSS office for more information about this. If the course is oversubscribed on March 16 there will be a lottery of the qualified applicants. 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.

Tentative Schedule

7:45-8:30 Breakfast
8:15-8:45 Daily Stretch
10:00 Refreshments
11:30-12:15 All Camp Gathering with songs, singing, games and stories
12:30-1:15 Lunch Buffet
1:30-2:15 Bookstore staffed
1:30-3:00 Contra Dance Callers Course
4:00-5:00 Swimming at the pool
4:00-5:15 Canoeing in the River
4:45-5:45 Bookstore staffed
5:15-5:45 Sing for your supper
5:45-6:45 Dinner buffet
6:45 Parade to the Playhouse
7:00 Community Dance
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
11:00 After-dance Activities