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Cliche Contra

June 15th, 2015
contra, calling  [html]

How does the most cliche contra dance start? Neighbor balance and swing? Then there's probably a circle left to a partner swing? And I guess it should end with ladies chain, star left? Hmm, I think that works:
   Cliche Contra
   Jeff Kaufman

   Duple Improper

   A:  (16) Neighbor Balance and Swing
   B:   (6) Circle Left
       (10) Partner Swing
   C:   (8) Ladies Chain
        (8) Star Left
By taking only 24 bars instead of the more common typical 32 it maximizes clicheness per unit time. You do need to coordinate with the band to find tunes that fit with the odd length. A regular tune played AAB or ABB works, or you can take a three part tune and play it ABC. Just make sure that if you start with a 48 bar AABBCC that you skip the repeats and play it ABC. Might be a fun one for a 12 bar blues, half-time feel?

This dance can also be thought of as the basic structure underlying many other dances. Give them partner and neighbor swings, get them progressed, then add something interesting. Here are some dances you could think of as "cliche contra + hook":

  • The Baby Rose: Add a dosido and balance before the partner swing.
  • Bluebirds On My Shoulder: Add grand right and left between the neighbor balance and the neighbor swing.
  • Contra-Accordions: Add a rang tang at the beginning.
  • Judah Jig: Add a circle and star before the chain.
  • Nice Combination: Add a down the hall before the circle.
  • Simplicity Swing: Add a long lines before the chain and a dosido at the end.
  • Sleepless at Pinewoods: Add a grand right and left at the beginning.
  • Theory of Mind: Add Rory O'More at the beginning.
  • Zombies of Sugar Hill: Add slide, circle, twirl, and balance before the partner swing.

I called this during open calling at the Flamingo Fling this weekend, and the main thing to keep in mind is that it lives up to its name: there's really nothing interesting about this dance. Ultimately forgettable. But coming near the end of an open calling session where people were mostly choosing pretty tricky dances I think it fit well.

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