Cracking Chestnuts

by David Smuckler
David Millstone

A CDSS Pubication

Based on the series of columns which appeared in the CDSS News for three years (2004-7), this book by New York caller/musician David Smukler with New Hampshire caller David Millstone takes a detailed look at 17 classic New England contra dances. The authors advocate for these older dances, writing about style, historical background, and how they have influenced and affected contemporary contra dances. This book is written for those already familiar with the basic figures and conventions of contra dancing and includes useful teaching guidelines. It includes music for each dance, dance level rating, an appendix of 20 additional dances which did not appear in the original columns, and essays on how to call chestnuts, triple minor math, and a biography of Ralph Page and his influence on much of the dance repertoire we use today. 2008

Links to YouTube videos of all of the chestnuts included in this book are provided on our Cracking Chestnuts page.


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