|February 27th, 2012|
|contra, music, calling|
Playing BIDA with the Free Raisins we picked Gaspé Reel for a dance. Lisa Greenleaf was calling, and she turned from the mic and started laughing. Calling the 4th Saturday Contra, when I chose Mary Cay's Reel and again when I chose Pedal Pushers Amy Larkin laughed. It's not that I have laughably bad taste in tunes and dances so much as out of date taste: these were popular in the 80's.
Contra dance is a traditional dance form: that we're doing the same dances to the same tunes as people were enjoying thirty years ago shouldn't be surprising. But the dance isn't static: people write new stuff. I think it was a big improvement when the good-flow equal-turn dances replaced "ones dance, twos stand there and assist". Similarly how the the modern tunes with interesting melodic hooks that I can match to particular dance sequences replaced most of the minimally phrased old-time ones.  Sometimes, however, a dance or tune becomes unpopular because it was too good: everyone was doing it all the time and people got sick of it. It's these I try to find: after decades of rest they're ready for new audiences.
 I'm sure not everyone will agree with me, and not everyone has to, but this view definitely affects my choices playing and calling.
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