Sanitizer Shuffle – Singlet/Doublet/Solo – Don Veino

Type: Contra Dance, Singlet, Doublet or Solo
Progression: None
Status: Proven

Another exploration about how simple partner-role-agnostic “new model” contra compositions might fit into the virtual dancing phenomenon (see Can You Spare A Roll? for more info on my “new model” idea). Note there’s no need to specify which Partner does what in this dance – the choreography doesn’t care where you end the Swing and who starts the Figure 8.

The dance is somewhat “square” in default space usage but I suggest it start by folks facing across so the Sashay happens up & down along the “sides” of the set. Dancers can adjust the amount of the A2 Allemande to make the Dosido & Loops happen up & down if tight on width. They can then face down or up out of the Swing so the Figure 8 finishes facing across.

Naturally a Singlet, this one also works as a Solo dance – just remove any reference to a Partner. It can be done as a Doublet from a “Becket” hands-4, so long as the couples agree to finish the Swing facing away from the other couple up & down – then they will avoid each other during the Figure 8 and come back in alignment on the sides for parallel Sashays.

A1
Single Sashay Left and Right (back to neutral position opposite PNR but keep going…);
Sashay Right and Left back to PNR

A2
PNR Allemande Right 1+1/2x;
Pass PNR & Big Loop/Turn Single Over Left Shoulder (a.k.a. PNR RH Chain)

B1
PNR Dosido (or Balance), Swing

B2
Full Figure 8 [end facing PNR “across”]

End effects: N/A
Tune suggestions: Jigs, bouncy French Canadian tunes
Video:
See also: My overall set of virtual dances and this post of general guidelines in interpreting my “virtual” choreography.
First called by (I don’t know, but it’s been called a fair bit).

Posted in Contra, Contra Dances, Dance, Doublet, My Dances, Proven, Singlet, Solo, Virtual | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Can You Spare A Roll? – Singlet/Doublet – Don Veino

Type: Contra Dance, Singlet or Doublet
Progression: None
Status: Proven

Meow! Pass me the roll!

We almost ran out of these…

More exploration of purpose-built Singlet/virtual dances within my first group.

Was deliberately playing with a concept I’ve been quietly advocating for in regards to “gender free” contra dancing – that the choreography itself needs to change to fully reach the goals communities have been pursuing, such that the dance is successful regardless of which Partner finishes what actions relative to any Neighbor interaction. Then you don’t need to refer to any “gender” role at all, using traditional or “aliased” names (Lady/Gent or Lark/Robin). Notice this is somewhat different than “positional calling” for existing choreography, which still treats the roles as distinct but again aliases the naming in a mechanism once further removed.

My belief is that virtual dancing in the form of Singlet/Doublet and Solo dances presents a unique opportunity to try out the “new way” approach – note this dance features no differentiated typecast role, so all are equal in dance identity, but also works if you adhere to legacy expectations. The lack of progression for virtual dancing makes partner-role-agnostic choreography much easier to achieve while still feeling “like normal contra dancing”. This dance is also robust in regards to reversed actions: swap the A1 roll directions and who twirls under in the A2 and it has negligible impact on enjoyment of the dance.

This composition works for a single couple (Singlet) or for two dancing together (Doublet) if the couples line up as for a traditional hands-4. If Singlet, start facing the camera and B2 features a Two-Hand Turn. If Doublet, treat as a “Becket” dance (face across to other couple) and B2 features a Circle/4 Left. Can of course be danced solo but I’m not going to claim it’s a Solo dance, per se, because of the “Partner” focus in the story line.

Yes, the title is a nod to the great “loo roll shortage” crisis of 2020.

A1
Lines/2 Forward & Left Dancer Rolls Away Right Dancer on way Back;
Lines/2 Forward & Left Dancer Rolls Away Right Dancer on way Back [so roll positions swap] (keep last connection)

A2
Face PNR, Connected Hand Balance, Twirl to Swap (ideally, dancer using LH go under) [a.k.a. Star Thru + 1/4 turn];
Take Opp. Hand w/PNR, Connected Hand Balance, Twirl to Swap (same dancer, using RH, go under)

B1
PNR Balance & Swing

B2
PNR Allemande Left 1+1/2x;
Circle/2H Turn Left & open to face same direction as PNR (note who’s on Left, Right)

End effects: N/A
Tune suggestions: Punctuated or groovy marches, driving reels
Video: Coming soon!
See also: My overall set of virtual dances and this post of general guidelines in interpreting my “virtual” choreography.

First called by NAME at VENUE on DATE (I’ve danced this as a Singlet to another’s calling but don’t recall the details to share).

Posted in Contra, Contra Dances, Dance, Doublet, My Dances, Proven, Singlet, Virtual | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stretch & Fold – Singlet/Solo – Don Veino

Type: Contra Dance, Singlet or Solo
Progression: None
Status: Proven

Another exploration about how certain contra conventions might fit into the new model for distant dancing. This one looked at the use of “convenient Ghosts”. Notice that “Ghosts” are used wherever the composition needs a dancer to set up a return for “Partner” interaction, and the Ghost dancers are totally unrelated to each other – there’s no need to keep track of them and they dis/appear at the physical dancer’s convenience.

Note this one definitely isn’t a Doublet – there’s no way two physical couples could dance this in the same space without bumping into each other. It is a Solo dance, however – there’s no real need to reference “Partner” here – replace that with any (or no) term for another dancer (e.g.: Neighbor) and it still works.

This was written without any particular consideration of room configuration and is somewhat “square” or even “round” in its use of space (the dance doesn’t require dancers to complete any moves aligned to a particular wall, etc.). There’s no need to specify starting orientation to the room, trust the dancers to fit it to their space.

Yes, the title is another reference to the sourdough baking craze of 2020. 🙂

A1
PNR LH Balance, Swat the Flea; PNR RH Balance, Box the Gnat

A2
PNR Dosido 1x (look away and…);
Left Shoulder Around Ghost 1x

B1
RH to PNR, Contra Corners (Ghost Corners)

B2
PNR Right Shoulder Around (or Balance), Swing (or Two-Hand Turn/Circle Right)

End effects: N/A
Tune suggestions: Jigs,bouncy marches
Video:
See also: My overall set of virtual dances and this post of general guidelines in interpreting my “virtual” choreography.
First called by (I don’t know, it’s been called a lot).

Posted in Contra, Contra Dances, Dance, My Dances, Proven, Singlet, Solo, Virtual | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Masked Compassion – Singlet/Solo – Don Veino

Type: Contra Dance, Singlet or Solo
Progression: None
Status: Proven

Another from my early first set of purpose-built Singlet/virtual dances, continuing the exploration about how certain moves might fit into the new model for distant dancing. This considered how a Hey would best work with limited dancers and otherwise fit with the overall composition. In experiencing some early attempts by others to convert existing dances I noted that a typical contra Hey entry starting by passing a non-Partner ghost yielded a lot of confusion and milling around. My solution was to start the Hey passing Partner in the center, which is effectively impossible in conventional contras but works in a virtual context.

This was written without any particular consideration of room configuration. As I gained more experience with distanced compositions I became more aware of the typical spaces people were dancing in and how a composition might relate to those spaces plus the camera on their devices. This dance turns out to want a “square” space – the A1 uses a lot of real estate “up & down” and the A2 by contrast is wide “across”. This experience informed my guidelines linked below. With my added experience now I’d likely work at it a bit more to make the composition expansive in only one direction to better fit most dancer’s spaces – but it dances really well as is and has proven popular.

Note this one definitely isn’t a Doublet – there’s no interaction with another couple at all (though it could easily be danced in parallel with another couple if they lined up in the same orientation). This is a Solo dance as well – there’s no real need to reference “Partner” here – replace that with any (or no) term for another dancer (e.g.: Neighbor) and it still works.

I suggest starting from a position facing the camera.

A1
Lines/2 Forward & Back (a la Up a Double in ECD) & Turn 180 deg
[to face opposite direction on way back – suggest turning toward “PNR” and continuing that mirror turn to face 180 deg]
Lines/2 Forward & Back, face PNR on way back

A2
Full “Hey”: pass PNR Right, Loop Left, pass PNR Right, Loop Left
[to a Wave/2 (PNR RH)]

B1
Wave Balance Right & Left, Twirl Right;
Wave Balance Left & Right, Twirl Left

B2
PNR Balance & Swing

End effects: N/A
Tune suggestions: Bouncy, with fun uplift accents?
Video:
See also: My overall set of virtual dances and this post of general guidelines in interpreting my “virtual” choreography.
First called by (I don’t know, it’s been called a lot).

Posted in Contra, Contra Dances, Dance, My Dances, Proven, Singlet, Solo, Virtual | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Perspective – Singlet/Solo – Don Veino

Type: Contra Dance, Singlet or Solo
Progression: None
Status: Proven

Another from my early first set of purpose-built Singlet/virtual dances. Thinking about how certain moves might fit into the new model for distant dancing, I was playing around with some popular transitions – this one explored circle to wave. It also sets up for contra corners via an unexpected trick (dancers would expect Balance & Swing out of A2, but… surprise!).

Note this one works without any reference to hall orientation – it’s essentially a non-mixing scatter mixer. And it definitely isn’t a Doublet – there’s no interaction with another couple at all. Arguably, this is a Solo dance as well – there’s no real need to reference “Partner” here – replace that with any (or no) term for another dancer (e.g.: Neighbor) and it works.

A1
PNR Allemande Left 1+1/2x;
Circle (2H Turn) Left & Flatten to Wave/2 (RH to PNR)

A2
Wave Balance Right & Left, Twirl/Slide Right;
Wave Balance Left & Right, Twirl/Slide Left

B1
RH to PNR, Contra Corners (LH w/Ghosts)

B2
PNR Balance & Swing (end facing PNR)

End effects: N/A
Tune suggestions: Versatile – dial in your feel by this selection
Video:
See also: My overall set of virtual dances and this post of general guidelines in interpreting my “virtual” choreography.
First called by (I don’t know, it’s been called a lot).

Previously known as: New Order. This dance was originally named after a band whose music I liked in the 80’s. Another dance composed in the same session used an earlier iteration of that band’s name which turned out to have an horrific backstory (unknown to me), so it was immediately renamed when I was made aware. While the title New Order wasn’t offensive and made allusion to our current distanced dancing situation, I had no desire to perpetuate the connection in naming from the other dance. Hence this one was renamed as well. Please only use the title “New Perspective” going forward.

Posted in Contra, Contra Dances, Dance, My Dances, Proven, Singlet, Solo, Virtual | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Equal & Opposite (v2) – Singlet/Doublet – Don Veino

Type: Contra Dance, Singlet or Doublet
Progression: None
Status: Proven

Another from my early first set of purpose-built Singlet/virtual dances. Was striving for variety in simple yet satisfying dances, focused on just a few co-located dancers. This could be seen as a much re-processed & simplified version of The Spaniard’s Latte (To Go) as I refined my virtual dances approach.

A1
Forward & Back to PNR, PNR LEFT (was Right) Shoulder Around;
(end backing out slightly, wherever music puts you)

A2
Forward & Back to PNR, PNR Right Shoulder Around
(to wherever music puts you) – give LH to PNR

B1
PNR Allemande Left 1+1/2x;
PNR Pull By Left & Big Loop/Turn Single Right (a.k.a. PNR LH Chain) [or ALT: Allemande Right]

B2
PNR Dosido & Swing (end facing “across”)

End effects: N/A
Tune suggestions: Punctuated or groovy marches, driving reels
Video: Coming soon!
See also: My overall set of virtual dances and this post of general guidelines in interpreting my “virtual” choreography.

Previously known as: This dance was originally named after a band I knew of from the 80’s, Joy Division, as the phrase seemed to encapsulate the COVID-19 impact on our dancing communities. I had no idea of the horrific back story of that phrase/name but was thankfully advised of it by a dancer and immediately renamed this dance (plus one other that referenced the same band’s reincarnation name). Please do not continue using the original name for any purpose associated with this dance.

First called by (I don’t know, it’s been called a lot).

Posted in Contra, Contra Dances, Dance, Doublet, My Dances, Proven, Singlet, Virtual | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Together in Spirit – Singlet/Doublet – Don Veino

Type: Contra Dance, Singlet or Doublet
Progression: None
Status: Proven

Another from my first set of purpose-built Singlet/virtual dances. Was playing around with how basic moves could form a simple yet satisfying dance for a few co-located dancers with the very short duration of slots in a virtual dance (5-6 times through). A lot of the early virtual dancing being called by folks at the time were what I would consider festival or weekend contra material, expecting folks to imagine multiple adjacent minor sets and dealing with typical contra progression within their limited space at home. This was intended to try another way, freeing the dancers to just have fun and enjoy the music.

A1
Down the Hall 2-in-Line, California Twirl;
Up the Hall 2-in-Line, California Twirl & take other hand too, face PNR

A2
PNR 2-Hand Balance, Petronella twirl;
PNR 2-Hand Balance, Petronella twirl

B1
Circle Left, Right

B2
PNR Balance & Swing (end facing “down”)

End effects: N/A
Tune suggestions: Punctuated marches or bouncy
Video: Coming soon!
See also: My overall set of virtual dances and this post of general guidelines in interpreting my “virtual” choreography.

First called by (I don’t know, it’s been called a lot) but Lisa Greenleaf called it at House Party Live! 2020, a benefit for the Concord Scout House on September 5, 2020.

Posted in Contra, Contra Dances, Dance, Doublet, My Dances, Proven, Singlet, Virtual | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Infectious Energy – Singlet/Doublet – Don Veino

Type: Contra Dance, Singlet or Doublet
Progression: None
Status: Proven

My second purpose-built Singlet/virtual dance. I wanted something very up energy and memorable so calling could taper quickly. As is likely becoming obvious, my naming scheme for these dances all play off the situation/setting we’re dancing in currently.

A1
PNR RH Balance, Box the Gnat;
PNR Dosido

A2
PNR LH Balance, Swat the Flea;
PNR SeeSaw

B1
PNR 2-Hand Balance, Petronella twirl;
PNR 2-Hand Balance, Petronella twirl

B2
PNR Balance & Swing (end facing PNR “across”)

End effects: N/A
Tune suggestions: Jigs or bouncy French Canadian
Video:
See also: My overall set of virtual dances and this post of general guidelines in interpreting my “virtual” choreography.

First called by PERSON at VENUE on DATE (I don’t know – but it’s been called a lot!)

Posted in Ceilidh, Contra, Contra Dances, Dance, Doublet, My Dances, Proven, Singlet, Virtual | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sourdough Starter – Singlet/Doublet – Don Veino

Type: Contra Dance, Singlet or Doublet
Progression: None
Status: Proven

My Sourdough Starters

Bubbly friends – Robin is an overachiever!

This is the first of my purpose-made remote/virtual dances in a genre that I began referring to as “co-contras.” I had previously composed The Spaniard’s Latte (To Go) for similar purposes in support of the 2020 Virtual New England Folk Festival.

Following NEFFA, the phenomenon of virtual/Zoom dances started to take off. Attending a few of these “Zoom dances” in spring 2020 I was struck by how the use of “standard”/existing contra dances for these events, only mildly or totally unchanged, was complicating the experience for dancers. Having to envision the full set of other dancers in order to follow the pattern (while many were dancing solo or as a pair in their distanced space), plus having to somehow compensate for the (oft retained) progression, wasn’t optimal in the small dance space available.

So I started playing with all-new purpose-built “co-contra” dances in the early spring and quickly developed a set of maxims/guidelines for them. I ended up publishing my ideas and first dances as a Shared Weight Contra Caller’s list post on June 9th, 2020. Chris Page rightfully reclassified these longways-style formation virtual dances as Singlets and Doublets when adding them to The Caller’s Box – akin to how we have had Triplets, etc. historically. As a result, all my dances of this type (including some ECDs) are now labeled as such – or as “Set” dances if they really don’t fit a standard longways setting. This particular dance is optimized as a Singlet but easily done as a Doublet (see A1 adjustment).

Please see this post of general guidelines in interpreting my “virtual” dances.

And yes, I took up sourdough baking during the yeast shortage phase of COVID-19. 😉

A1
Down the Hall 2-in-Line, California Twirl;
Up the Hall 2-in-Line, California Twirl (2s end turning toward PNR to face “up” in Doublet)

A2
Circle Left; Right

B1
Star Right; Left

B2
Loop Single Right (away from PNR & back to face them); PNR Swing (end facing “down”)

End effects: N/A
Tune suggestions: Good ones! 🙂 (almost anything in 32 bars 4/4 works or this one can even be done in waltz time @24 beats/part)
Video:
See also: My overall set of virtual dances.
First called by PERSON at VENUE on DATE (I don’t know – but it’s been called a lot!)

Posted in Contra, Contra Dances, Dance, Doublet, Family Dance, My Dances, Proven, Singlet, Virtual | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Guidelines for Interpreting My Virtual Dance Choreography – Don Veino

Starting in spring of 2020 I began writing purpose-built dances for socially-distanced “virtual” (a.k.a. “Zoom”) dancing. This work in progress post is intended to help folks considering one of my virtual dances understand my general approach to them and provide interpretation guidance for the same.

Unless explicitly stated otherwise, all my virtual compositions adhere to existing contra or ECD terminology for figures and roles in the dances. Some personal adjustment by the dancer(s) for their situation is allowed and expected – the goal is for distanced dancers to have fun with something that “feels as close to normal dancing as possible” in the very not-normal situation we find ourselves in.

  • My virtual dances are typically designed around the common shared experience in pre-COVID-19 days: one would ask/agree to dance with a Partner. So, in general, my virtual dances are designed around you having a real or imagined Partner to dance with. I strive to minimize your need to keep track of/imagine any other dancers’ positions in the pattern. There are other choreographers currently aiming compositions at solo dancers (a design point of 1 dancer) but so far I’ve done very little along those lines. (Note that a Solo dance is not typically a dance formation in itself but rather a focus away from any Partner role/interaction within the context of an otherwise specified formation.)
  • Partner Fungibility. Unless specified otherwise in the choreography, I typically don’t care who finishes in which of the Partner Couple’s two places (what’s been known as Men/Women, Ladies/Gents, Larks/Robins, etc.). Unless the dance has a (very rare) Neighbor Swing, you can generally swap role positions with your Partner anywhere in the dance pattern without significant consequence. Instructions given to do something with a Neighbor generally apply to any/everyone equally at the same time. However, if the move is for one Partner plus their Neighbor then either one of the Partners may do the action with the (imagined or real) Neighbor dancer without detriment to the success of the dance. A move may flow better for a specifically placed Partner to do but must not break down when done by either.
  • Singlet Formation. The dances I label as Singlet work with no modification for a Solo Dancer or a Couple. Singlets assume any Neighbors or Shadows are not real physical dancers but rather placeholders who appear solely when you need them – in just the right spot for your purpose – and for no longer than required (never in your way). One or more actions in my Singlet dances will not work for a 3+ dancer set without an adjustment by the dancers. For example, in a Singlet, “everyone” can start a Hey across passing their Partner in the center – which is impossible in the real world!
  • Doublet Formation. Dances I label as Doublet should work with no modification for Solo dancers up to 2 real Couples, akin to a traditional hands-4 contra or ECD. Any Neighbors or Shadows keep their place within the pattern at all times as one would expect a real dancer to do. All moves will work with actual physical bodies performing any specified role/figure in the dance on time. As a principle, I try to avoid any need to specify a Partner role in my Doublets unless absolutely necessary and stick to positional language for that purpose when avoidance isn’t possible.
  • Set Dance Formation. This is an “other” category which may accommodate a unique number of dancers or otherwise not fit a typical “longways” or “in lines” formation. Only applies when specified but most Singlets and Doublets can be adapted to fit other size “pods” as a Set Dance with adjustments made by the caller or dancers. As a caller I strive to provide such guidance when it might be uniquely helpful – it can easily be overdone given the relative rarity of 3+ dancer pods.
  • “Hall” and Set Orientation/Dancer Positioning. For my purposes, I expect the “Up & Down” directions in the dance to be along the longest axis in the room and optimize for that. Ideally, the camera of the device dancers use to connect with the event would point along this longest axis, so they’d face the camera “up & down” as if “taking hands 4” for a typical Proper or Improper, etc. longways dance. In general, I expect solo dancers or a single couple to assume the “Couple 1” place(s) like for a typical contra or ECD such that they “face down” to the camera. I may take advantage of that in a dance’s story line to play off remote dancers on screen. Solo dancers can take and swap into any position in the dance. Note that Singlets and Doublets may also be “Becket” dances, beginning facing across the long axis of the room.
  • Figure Customs. By default, figures are used just as they are normally defined for contra, squares or ECD. However, because there’s variability in remote pod sizes, some figures could be interpreted more than one way. For example, in a Singlet, a Circle Left can either be done as if with a ring of 4 dancers or as a Two-Hand Turn. If it’s important, I will specify one or the other – otherwise do as you wish. A Star may be adjusted to a low-hand Allemande (a la ECD hand turn) instead (with caution about the speed/ending position of the figure). And so on. Bottom line, I will specify when it’s important to use one over an equivalent for flow but dancers may/should adjust as they see fit for their enjoyment!
  • Progression. On principle & unless stated otherwise, my virtual dances do not progress dancers to another minor set – you’ll stay with your original group of dancers throughout the composition. Some specific dances may progress one role or the active couple to some index around the original formation but will always return to the original minor set’s boundaries. For instance, a dance may progress one couple to the opposite couple’s position each cycle or to some other fractional place around the minor set.
  • More to come as I compose and enter more dances!
Posted in Ceilidh, Contra, Contra Dances, Dance, Doublet, English, English Country Dance, Family Dance, Mixer, My Dances, Set Dance, Set Dance, Singlet, Triplet, Virtual, Waltz | Leave a comment

The Spaniard’s Latte (To Go) – Set Dance – Don Veino 202003

Type: Set Dance
Status: Proven

Due to the 2020 COVID-19 health issue, April’s New England Folk Festival (NEFFA) was canceled. As a scheduled performer I was invited to submit material for a “Virtual NEFFA” to be presented on-line via video. This inspired me to write an early “virtual” dance that could be offered asynchronously and in people’s social isolation situations (nobody had come up with the “Zoom dance” phenomenon yet). I was very lucky to partner up with Julie Metcalf (fiddle) and Max Newman (guitar) whom are wonderful and I knew could play the tune I wanted for this dance, La Sansonette by Dominique Forges. This sequence is a riff off of an English Country Dance (ECD) composition I have been working on to the same tune. We also partnered on a “Family Dance” submittal which was a riff on my existing dance “Clap Happy”.

This dance is what started me thinking about writing specific socially distanced “Zoom dance” compositions, which are now mostly classified as “Singlet” dances in online databases like The Caller’s Box.

The dance name is influenced by Julie Metcalf and my wife Sage – way back when, I discovered the tune and asked Julie about it by its proper name. That didn’t strike a bell but I hummed a bit and she lit up and told me that when she was in music school they’d played it and always called it “Spanish Latte”. Sage had observed to me that ECD dances seem to require titles in the form of article – person/noun – verb/noun. So… those blended together and yielded this name.

This sequence works for ECD or Contra dancers with slight adjustments. Starts facing your partner or in a ring of 3 to 4 dancers. Adapt styling to ECD or contra as needed.

A1
Set to PNR (or Ring Balance), Twirl Right 1 place (a la Petronella);
Set to PNR (or Ring Balance), Twirl Right 1 place

A2
(4) Facing PNR, Fall Back separately then (4) Forward into a Hole-in-the-Wall Style Cross (into PNR spot);
(4) Facing PNR, Fall Back then (4) Forward into a Hole-in-the-Wall Style Cross (into PNR spot)
[if more than 2 dancers, adapt the HitW crosses so everyone passes on tangent in center and ends on opposite side facing in]

B1
Left Shoulder Siding with Partner
[3-4 dancers ALT: forward on right diag into NBR’s spot & back];
Right Shoulder ‘Round PNR 1+1/2x (to face away/out on opposite side)
[3-4 dancers ALT: Right Hand Star to fill the phrase, 1+x around]

B2
Large Loop/Turn Single Left back to face PNR;
Partner CW Two-Hand Turn 1+1/2x (sneak in Swing?)
[3-4 dancers ALT: Circle Left instead of 2H Turn to fill the phrase]

End effects: N/A, there are no ends and no progression
Tune suggestions: La Sansonette by Dominique Forges, played in driving style
Video: Our Virtual NEFFA 2020 offering is also on YouTube as well.
See also: my unpublished draft original ECD on this theme
First called by me at Virtual NEFFA 2020

Posted in Contra, Contra Dances, Dance, Doublet, English, English Country Dance, My Dances, Proven, Set Dance, Set Dance, Singlet, Virtual | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kitty Awesome! – Becket – Don Veino 20200124

Type: Contra Dance, Becket Left/CW
Status: Proven

Kitty Awesome drawing

It’s Kitty Awesome! by Raeden

The name and artwork for this one comes from our daughter. She’s currently crazy about kitties and her highest compliment is when something is “kitty awesome.” Unusual enough to be interesting, this one seems to work for just about any crowd – folks often comment on liking it.

A1
Star Left 1x (to back on side w/PNR, note these star NBRs)
Big Oval RIGHT

A2
Big Oval Left PAST star NBRs
w/Next NBRs LDY/RN Right 1+1/2x

B1
NBR Balance & Swing

B2
Give & Take to GNT/LK, PNR Swing
[ALT: PNR Pousette CW around NBRs; PNR Swing]

End effects: Get in on the oval to (re-)enter the dance – you may have to “insert” yourself between the star couples.
Tune suggestions: Driving reels; anything with strong 8-beat hinting
Video: My calling at the NEFFA Thursday Contras at the Concord, MA Scout House on 2/13/2020.
See also: my currently unposted Trip Through The Stones
First called by me at the Groton, CT Mystic Pie Dance on 1/25/20.

Posted in Contra, Contra Dances, Dance, My Dances, Proven | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Subaru Outback Emergency Rear Hatch Release

I’ve been looking at the idea of using our 2011 Outback as a quick overnight camping solution for times when I’m out on the road for dance calling gigs. With some minor rejiggering and construction, it is easy to put a twin mattress in the back of the car for short term camping.

As part of that investigation, I was looking into how one could get out of the rear hatch in an emergency. There is no inside door handle, button or similar in the rear of the Outback of this model year. Apparently, the rear is not subject to the same emergency release requirement (law?) that is now addressed in vehicles with an enclosed trunk, so there’s no emergency release handle or similar. Searching around on line found no information about a solution – so I worked on figuring it out myself and here’s my write up of how I enabled a tool-less emergency exit release.

There’s a small plastic cover on an approximately 1″ x 1″ hole at the bottom center of the interior hatch panel with a small slot or indentation where one can pry off that cover. But the slot is on the bottom, so would be impossible to access with the hatch closed – not the best engineering attention to detail! With the hatch open you can easily (but carefully to avoid damage) pry the cap off.

Click on any of these images to see larger ones with detail

Click to view larger image

Access Hole Cover

Click to view larger image

Access hole to hatch release

Inside the hole is the hatch mechanical release mechanism. In this close-up you can see a triangular-shaped white plastic part in a curved slot. This is the hatch release. Moving the part towards the metal bracket will release the hatch catch and allow you to push the door open. Great!

Click to view larger image

Release mechanism detail

As I didn’t want to simply keep the cover removed, I came up with an easy way to remove the cover in an emergency. I drilled a small hole just over the diameter of a small cotter pin and put that through the cover hole, spreading and curling the tabs to secure it on the inside. The cotter pin’s head loop was just big enough to thread a keychain ring through to use as a pull. The result is quite unobtrusive but easy to use when needed.

Click to view larger image

Cover with drilled hole and parts

Click for larger image

Cotter pin tabs spread out

Click to view larger image

Cover with pull installed

I’ll feel much more safe knowing we can now easily open the back hatch from inside whenever needed.

BTW, an additional search while I was writing this up uncovered this thread which talked about the release but not how to access it without a tool, as I detail above.

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Suggestions Toward a Personal Caller Feedback System

I have a process I use to gather feedback on my calling in pursuit of continuous improvement. My “day job” background is in business process & product engineering, program management and quality systems – so bringing a closed loop monitoring and improvement process into my calling is somewhat of a natural thing for me. I’m not trying to say my system is the best and that everyone should follow it but rather that this is what I’ve found to be effective for me. I offer for you to take what parts you find valuable from it.

Personal Considerations

  • Do you really want direct feedback? Asking for others to provide input on your performance can be a quite personal thing. When folks shower you with compliments it can be wonderful! When the comments are complaints or a need for improvement, it takes a bit of resilience to get past your personal reaction and gain the benefit of others’ perspectives.
  • When do you want feedback? I welcome feedback at any time which doesn’t impede my performance (e.g.: not when I’m walking through or actually calling a sequence). I know others who don’t want to hear anything the night of an event they’re performing, or only want it at the end. Early and often, positive or problem is fine with me! Praise can wait but problems should be surfaced ASAP. My way of looking at this is: the sooner I know of an issue, the quicker I can do something to address it. In my experience dancers will quickly forget a transient problem if you can rally in good spirit and supply them with fun from there forward.
  • How do you want to get feedback? Do you have the interpersonal skills necessary to actually be welcoming while someone is telling you face to face about how you annoyed them? Or do you prefer avoiding such interactions and wish to provide another means for them to submit their feedback to you?
  • What will you do with the feedback? In my opinion, if you ask for feedback you must honor the investment people are making to supply it by incorporating the learning into your future performances. They should see the result of their investment or there’s no motivation to continue their making such an effort. This doesn’t mean you have to always agree with their input! It’s not that unusual for me to receive diametrically opposed comments or something that doesn’t match common practice or my own experience as a dancer or caller. However, I’ve found there is almost always something you can take away from each person’s supplied feedback to carry forward.

Soliciting and Welcoming Feedback

At my gigs I make a clear request for feedback on my performance. Typically I will make a verbal solicitation “on mic” somewhere early in the event. I try to make this brief and with humor such that my request doesn’t burden the dancers. I’m clear about the ways I welcome feedback plus that I’m truly soliciting both positive things and opportunities for improvement. It appears my interest in feedback has become well accepted – dancers now offer me their views on other caller’s performances and selected material, even when I’m simply there to dance!

Opportunities for Caller Feedback

  • Feedback Notebook. I have a standard school composition notebook with a distinctive graphic pattern cover, a big bright orange “Calling Feedback for Don Veino” sign on the front and a pen on a leash. I put this in a visible spot in the hall for dancers to access. I’ve recently taken to holding it up during my solicitation so folks can recognize it and only afterward placing it in the hall. I check the book when I have a moment (i.e.: at the end of the break or evening), making sure to keep it available to others. I try to ignore it otherwise so folks are free to use it without concern I’m watching over them. If I find a note that warrants follow-up while at the event I try to seek out that individual (if possible) to ensure they know I accept their input and value it. This has often caused folks frustrated with me (i.e.: in my pre-perfection early calling career 😉 ) to become valuable allies.
  • Web Comments. For a while I tried putting up a little poster with a QR code/web URL to a comment form for folks to use. They didn’t. I discontinued it.
  • Dancers Coming Up to Speak Face to Face. I’m thankful that folks give of themselves to come and speak with me about my performance or material. I’ll often write myself a note after such conversations to be sure to retain the key points of our talk. I make sure to thank them for their feedback – no matter what it is. I do my best to keep a pleasant, engaged expression on my face if the message is uncomfortable for me – even in those situations I know they’re giving me a gift. I try to engage them (if they appear to be willing and doing so will not impact their fun) and listen more than I talk to ensure I fully understand their view or reasoning. It would be a lot easier for them to simply ignore me or to avoid my gigs in the future – by engaging with them I’m demonstrating my real interest in their views. I try to always close with a sincere “thank you” and assurance I’ll honor their input.
  • Checking in with Dancers. I periodically check in with dancers, once the sequence has settled down and folks are out at the top, to see how things are going. I don’t do this more than a couple of times in an event and choose best opportunities. For instance, if there’s a sequence I’m calling for the first time, I may run down to say “I’ve never called this one before – what do you think of it?”. I only do so if things are stable without me, it appears the dancers are not otherwise engaged in conversation and mostly only with folks I know would be willing.
  • Checking in with Organizers. I try to check in with the dance organizers when they’re not otherwise engaged – best times are when they’re out at the top, at the break or after the dance while I’m helping break down the sound system or similar. I try to ask open ended questions about how they feel things are going/went. They may even have their own feedback system for their series’ dancers – if so, you can say you’re interested in what folks tell them about you.
  • Checking in with the Band. At the break I will typically ask the band if they need me to do anything differently and get their input on how things are going for them. I’m usually able to express hearfelt appreciation for their music at the same time – it’s a pleasant surprise when they ask me how they’re doing in return. Similar follow up at the end of the dance as appropriate.
  • Checking in with Colleagues. If there are caller or musician colleagues on the floor at an event I may seek them out at a suitable time for their view on the event. I’ll typically ask them specific questions about some aspect I’d value their expert opinion on. This makes it easier for them to provide valuable input, rather than a generic “nice dance” comment. I’m not asking them to tell me how great I am!
  • Checking in with a Mentor. Earlier in my calling career I was fortunate to gain a primary mentor to bounce things off of and get feedback from. They were in the same dance community orbit as I was calling in, so I’d often have an opportunity to get their views on my own work and/or hear their opinion on how someone else’s event was going when we’d talk on the sidelines. Compassionate honesty is the key value here. It was really rewarding when those conversations later evolved into being more of two-way thing, and something I really miss now.

Utilizing the Feedback

Once you’ve got feedback, it’s your job to figure out what is valuable, take away the lessons to be had from it and make changes (or enforce good things) going forward. One thing I do that may seem counter-intuitive is to leave all the pages of input in my comment book, even if the comments are critical of me. I may sometimes write an explanatory margin comment (e.g. if there was a complaint or compliment about a given sequence, I may add the dance name) and my takeaway of what the cause of the problem was or my planned solution. This transparency into problems might possibly hurt my reputation under an “I’m always perfect” publicity mindset, but I think it solidly demonstrates my openness and willingness to engage to improve. One exception: if a comment mentions another performer or individual in a negative way I will redact that part – it’s not my place to impact another’s reputation!

Summary and Solicitation

I’ve found these feedback techniques to be invaluable as part of my overall tool set in development as a dance caller and choreographer. As is typically the case under continual improvement systems, serious users may see most rapid improvement in the earliest stages. As things evolve, the need for significant correction diminishes and gains become harder to achieve. While in my earlier calling career I could typically count on several comments with each and every appearance, it’s not unusual now for me to have no written comments for extended periods. Sometimes there’s blips with lots or little new info to leverage. Folks are typically more willing/interested to share praise face to face – so you may find it more difficult to capture the learning from that (e.g. particular dances which folks enjoyed enough to mention, why they enjoyed a given evening more than another, etc.).

I hope you’ll find this information useful in your own personal development and welcome hearing about any other techniques you may utilize to gain feedback toward improving your own calling.

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A Long Courtship – Becket – Don Veino 20181209

Type: Contra Dance, Becket Left/CW
Status: Proven

This dance came out of a discussion Will Mentor and I had about writing a dance which built up and defied expectations regarding when you’d get together with your partner. It was briefly titled “Finally!” during testing. Have received really positive dancer feedback on this (it’s pretty cool when dancers seek you out at the end of the evening to praise/discuss a particular dance – you know it brought them joy. 🙂 ).

A1
Ladies Chain, Mad Robin CCW (Ladies front first) & look away from these NBRs
(w/Next NBRs) Circle Left 1/4x and continue into…
[see alternate original A1 notation below]

A2
Circle Left 3/4x, Neighbor Swing

B1
Full Hey (Gents Pass Left to start) BUT LADIES BOUNCE BACK SECOND TIME

B2
Partner Gypsy & Swing

End effects: Wait out crossed over on left to slide into A2 circle.
Tune suggestions:
Video: Me calling at the Greenfield, MA Shooting Star Series, 3/8/19
See also:
First called by me at Concord Scout House Monday Contras Series on 1/28/19.

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Dreaming of Dolphins – DI – Don Veino 20190123

Type: Longways, Duple Improper
Status: Proven

The title pretty much says it all. I was in a period where I was thinking about Dolphin Heys repeatedly, generating gobs of DH dances. Between this Duple Improper dance and two other 4-Face-4 compositions, From Here to Dolphinity and To Dolphinity and Beyond, I feel like I’ve got to where I wanted and the urge should finally be out of my system.

I’m pretty pleased with this – it incorporates some feel of the traditional dance Devil’s Dream plus the Down The Hall/Turn As Couple and Up The Hall/Cross Trail idea I found in The Campbells are Coming. Feedback from the first trial was extremely positive. I hope to get a chance to dance it someday! 😉

I think of this as a contra dance but it’s sort of a crossover contra/ECD composition… so I’ve labeled it as simply a longways duple improper here.

As this is an uneven dance, I recommend multiple shorter lines to give everyone a chance at playing dolphin. I start the walk through at A2 and finish with the A1 then have dancer couples swap places to retake hands four for a second quick walk through from A2 with the twos active. Reset and start at A1.

A1
Neighbor Balance & Swing

A2
LLF&B, 1s Swing
[face NEW 2s below] [NOTE this NBR!]
#progression

B1
Dolphin Hey, Centers/1s as couple passing solo LDY/RVN 2 by LEFT
[end with Centers facing down, Outsides facing UP]

B2
1s in Center DTH, Turn as CPL /*WHILE*/ 2s Outside UTH, Turn Alone
As Return, 1s Cross Trail to “Hey” NBR &…

Contra Variations (included only for completeness – I strongly prefer the above): Twos can stay put in B2 to anchor the set. Everyone could turn alone in B2 and omit the Ones Cross Trail into the A1 Balance (or Gypsy) & Swing.

From an ECD standpoint: A1 would likely be better as Gypsy & actives Two Hand Turn. The remainder would involve the ECD equivalents of the contra terms.

End effects: Be aware of the change in couple roles at the ends.
Tune suggestions: Of course Tom Kruskal’s – the “international standard” tune for Dolphin Hey dances. 😉 Other suitably regal yet driving tunes.
Video: First trial at Concord Scout House Monday Contras Series on 1/28/19.
See also: My other related dances, including So Long And Thanks For All The Fish, Fun With Flipper, From Here to Dolphinity and To Dolphinity and Beyond.
First called by me at Concord Scout House Monday Contras Series on 1/28/19.

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Becky’s Boulder – DI – Don Veino 20180522

Type: Contra Dance, Duple Improper
Status: DRAFT

One of several related dances composed this date which were inspired by the new Becky Tracy tune Black Rock, off the Eloise & Co. album with Rachel Bell. Yeah, I love the tune. 😉

A1
Wave/4 across Balance Right & Left, Slide/Twirl Right
Wave/4 across Balance Left & Right, Slide/Twirl Left

A2
Neighbor Gypsy & Swing

B1
Give & Take to Gents, Partner Swing

B2
Pass the Ocean to Wave/4 across, Balance Fwd/Back
Gents Orbit 1/2x CW *WHILE* Ladies Allemande Left 1x and all step forward
[to new Wave/4]

End effects: none
Tune suggestions: Bouncy and driving – composed to match Becky Tracy’s tune Black Rock, others include Circular Reel (Daniel Boucher), Epic Reel (Keith Murphy), etc.
Video:
See also: Rockslide, You Caught My Eye
First called by PERSON at VENUE on DATE.

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Rockslide – DI – Don Veino 20180522

Type: Contra Dance, Duple Improper
Status: Proven

One of several related dances composed this date which were inspired by the new Becky Tracy tune Black Rock, off the Eloise & Co. album with Rachel Bell. Yeah, I love the tune. 😉

I was lucky to have the privilege of dancing this one to Steve Zakon-Anderson’s calling with Becky and Keith (Murphy) playing their tunes – IIRC, they started with Keith’s Epic Reel and when they switched to Black Rock the energy in the room zoomed from a 10 up to 12!

A1
Wave/4 across Balance Right & Left, Slide/Twirl Right
Wave/4 across Balance Left & Right, Slide/Twirl Left

A2
Neighbor Balance & Swing

B1
Gents (low) LH Balance & Pull By, Partner Swing

B2
Ring/4 Balance, Petronella Slide/Twirl Right
Ring/4 Balance, California Twirl and form new wave/4
[CA Twirl and Gents shift to the ends to step into wave/4 with new Ns]

End effects: none
Tune suggestions: Bouncy and driving – composed to match Becky Tracy’s tune Black Rock, others include Circular Reel (Daniel Boucher), Epic Reel (Keith Murphy), etc.
Video: Portland (ME) In-Town Contra Dance (PICD) series 8/30/18
See also: You Caught My Eye, Becky’s Boulder
First called by Steve Zakon-Anderson at the 2018 CDSS Ogontz Family Camp.

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You Caught My Eye – DI – Don Veino 20180522

Type: Contra Dance, Duple Improper
Status: Proven

For Sage, who caught my eye. ♥ One of several related dances composed this date which were inspired by the new Becky Tracy tune Black Rock, off the Eloise & Co. album with Rachel Bell. Yeah, I love the tune. 😉

A1
Wave/4 across (N by RH) Balance Right & Left/Back, walk Forward on Right Diagonal
New Wave/4 across (G by RH, N by LH) Balance Left & Right, Slide/Twirl Left

A2
Neighbor Gypsy & Swing

B1
Give & Take to Gents, Partner Swing

B2
Pass the Ocean to Wave/4 across, Balance Fwd/Back
Partner Allemande Right 1/2x, Gents center Left 1/2x, Neighbor Right 1/2x
[Ladies take LH to end in Wave/4 w/same Ns]

End effects: none
Tune suggestions: Bouncy and driving – composed to match Becky Tracy’s tune Black Rock, others include Circular Reel (Daniel Boucher), Epic Reel (Keith Murphy), etc.
Video: Concord Scout House Monday Contras series 10/15/18
See also: Rockslide, Becky’s Boulder
First called by me at Concord Scout House Monday Contras series on October 15, 2018.

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Three Out Of Four Ain’t Bad – 4 Face 4 – Don Veino 20180829

Type: Contra Dance, 4 Facing 4
Status: Proven

Another of my “extra swings” dances – you get to swing with 3 out of the 4 opposite role dancers in your set without resorting to tricks like ending one swing mid-phrase to swing the next. I use dances like this to make up with the “every dance must have two swings” crowd when I wish to call an interesting but swing-light dance in a program. The timing of this easy one is right on and satisfying but not so tight that slower dancers can’t make it.

A1
Lines/4 Forward & Back, Corner Swing

A2
Gents Star Left 1/2x, Neighbor Swing (the one that’s not your corner)

B1
Ring/8 Balance, Gents Roll Neighbor Lady (you Swung)
Ring/8 Balance, Ladies Star Right ~1/2x (to P)

B2
Partner Balance (or Gypsy) & Swing, face next

End effects: none
Tune suggestions: Bouncy French Canadian, driving reels (e.g.: Silver Spear)
Video: Monday Contras 10/15/2018
See also: Bonus Round/Repeatronella
First called by me with the B2 Balance at the Monday Contras series, Concord Scout House on 10/15/2018

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Pumpkin Spice Madness – DI – Don Veino 20181006

Type: Contra Dance, Duple Improper
Status: Proven

Keep calm.

Pumpkin Spice is everywhere!

We’re in that season again – where everything gets offered in some form of pumpkin spiced variant. I find most such things (but for pancakes or other baked goods) totally foul but the other residents of our household seem to relish them. So I figure I just have to embrace the amusement of the Pumpkin Spice Madness season and trust it’ll come to an end soon! At least I got a decent dance theme/title out of it. 🙂

A1
Ring/4 Balance, Gents Swap (passing left – in essence, Partner Lady rolls the Gent while staying put)
Ring/4 Balance, Ladies Swap (passing right – in essence, Neighbor Gent rolls the Lady while staying put)
[Alt: Ring/4 Balance & Petronella Slide/Twirl 1 place, repeat]

A2
Neighbor Balance & Swing

B1
Mad Robin CW (Gents in front first) 1x, Gents Cross (to P)
Partner Swing

B2
Circle Left 3/4x, Pass Through (up/down)
Next Neighbor Dosido into Ring/4

End effects: none
Tune suggestions: Bouncy French Canadian, Jigs
Video: Guiding Star Grange 10/27/2018, Laura Johannes at Scout House Monday Contras (Petronella var.) 1/7/2019
See also:
First called by me at Monday Contras series, Concord Scout House on 10/8/2018

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Fun With Flipper – Triplet – Don Veino 20181006

Type: Proper Triplet
Status: Proven

Flipper approval graphic

Shouldn’t this be a Dolphin of Approval?

Yep, I’ve been on a real Dolphin Hey compositions run – which led me to research the history of that move back toward its origin. It appears the Dolphin Hey first appeared in the modern era Scottish Country Dance Pelorus Jack out of New Zealand, named after a famous dolphin there. I saw the opportunity for this triplet to use the Dolphin Hey in essentially the same way as the original Scottish dance but with differences in the formation, set up for the move and the exit. While the Scottish dance is done with skipping steps to a particular jig, this triplet is intended to be danced with a typical contra/ECD walking step.

A1
(4,4) Lines/3 Forward and Back
(4) Ones Cross and Go Below 1 Couple (as Twos shift up)
(4) Ones Allemande Right ~3/4x (to Gent 1 face Lady 2, Lady 1 falls in behind Partner)

A2
(8) Ones Pass Lady 2 Right for a Half Dolphin Hey* w/Second Diagonals and then to their right
(half = Second Diagonals swapped, Ones back in center)
(8) Ones Pass Gent 2 Right for a Half Dolphin Hey w/First Diagonals and to their right
(First Diagonals swapped)

B1
Ones Pass Lady 2 Right for a Half Dolphin Hey w/Second Diagonals and to their right
(Second Diagonals swapped back)
Ones Pass Gent 2 Right for a Half Dolphin Hey w/First Diagonals and end below the Threes, facing Partner
(First Diagonals swapped back, all but Ones are Proper, couples are in 2-3-1 order)

B2
All Partner Balance and Swing
[end Proper (as if facing up, 2-3-1 order) and face Partner across]

*Dolphin Hey: a hey for four traveling the path of a hey for three. One “couple” (in this dance, the Ones) travel as a unit while the other dancers travel solo. The couple stays in their respective orientation relative to the hall so they alternate the lead position as they travel the heys together, sweeping wide at the corners to trade the lead. In this dance that means Gent 1 leads up & out to the right, then Lady 1 leads the pass down & across the set, Gent 2 leads down & right and it ends with Lady 1 leading up and across the set toward the bottom. The pattern in this dance for the ones looks a lot like a Mac Command Key symbol

End effects: N/A
Tune suggestions: Energetic with strong 8 beat hinting and a nautical feel – e.g.: Quindaro Hornpipe, Fisher’s Hornpipe, etc.
Video: Pelorus Jack Scottish Country Dance: History, Easy to Follow
See also: Pelorus Jack Scottish Country Dance, my Dolphin Series dances
First called by me at Concord Scout House Monday Contras series on 10/8/2018.

Posted in Contra, Contra Dances, Dance, English, English Country Dance, My Dances, Proven, Triplet | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Feeling Gravity’s Pull – DI – Don Veino 20180710

Type: Contra Dance, Duple Improper
Status: Proven

I wanted something smooth and stately which swapped around the idea of who typically does certain sorts of moves (e.g.: in this dance, it’s the Ladies who gate the Gents – not the other way around) plus avoided overused elements like allemandes and circles to keep things unique. This one came along pretty easily, once I thought of deconstructing a normal Figure 8 so only one party would walk that path – which is what the Gents do in the A2 here.

Dancers report liking this very much and the Ladies “bounce-back” in the A2 was a dancer-invented alternative.

During development, this was also known as “The Eyes Have It” because of all the eye play possibilities, but I discovered that title was already taken. Yes, I’m a big fan of very early R.E.M. music.

A1
Neighbor Gypsy, Swing

A2
Gents Swap Places (passing left) and face out
Gents Loop Left *WHILE* Ladies Slide Left+ (so each move into Partner’s starting place)
(inside hands) Ladies Gate the Gents 1x
[+Alternative for the Ladies here: Walk forward on the slight left diagonal to bounce back into the left hand position next to Partner Gent]

B1
Pass Through straight across, Partner Swing

B2
Gents pass Left for a Full Hey (EXCEPT Ladies Bounce Back the FIRST time)

End effects: none
Tune suggestions: Smooth/romantic/driving
Video: First trial at Concord Scout House Monday Contras series
See also:
First called by me at Concord Scout House Monday Contras series on 9/17/18.

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Mad For Ogontz – DI – Don Veino 20180808

Type: Contra Dance, Duple Improper
Status: Proven

At CDSS Ogontz Family Camp 2018 Steve Zakon-Anderson wanted to teach Mad Robin to the 11s & 12s group but didn’t have a suitable dance. We couldn’t find one in my deck either, so I wrote this one. This one I wrote for MR newbies but an experienced dancer has since told me it is their “new favorite all-time dance” because of the “great smooth flow” :-).

Encourage dancers to really relax into the B1 & B2 timing to avoid arriving early for the A1 (you may need to stretch out the lines to allow for this). I’ve noticed dancers sliding past and curling back to their next Neighbor to smooth that out, should it happen (rather than stopping dead and then starting the Gypsy).

A1
Neighbor Gypsy, Swing

A2
Gents Allemande Left 1+1/2x, Partner Swing

B1
(8,8) Long Lines Forward & Back, Half Hey (Ladies Right start)

B2
(8,8) Ladies Chain, Mad Robin CCW (Ladies thru center first) to next

End effects: none
Tune suggestions: flowy with strong 8 beat hinting, particularly in the Bs
Video: Top Hill Music dance at the Greenfield, MA Grange
See also: Rainbows Over Ogontz, Fairly Nicked From Nick
First called by Steve Zakon-Anderson at CDSS Ogontz Family Camp on ~8/9/2018.

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Bonus Round/Repeatronella (in Dublin) – DI – Don Veino 20180726

Type: Contra Dance, Duple Improper
Status: Proven

This is a set of dances approaching the same two-Neighbor-Swing theme in different variations. Dancers seem to really like these and they can scale in difficulty from working with more beginner dancers or as a “dance trance” later program slot with experienced folk, through to some uniqueness with the “in Dublin” variations.

I sometimes use the base versions of these as a way to compensate after calling a beginner friendly no-Neighbor-Swing dance like Delphiniums and Daisies for a mixed capability crowd. One can also play with calling the variations in different combinations in a single program slot.

BONUS ROUND

A1
LLFB, (New) N Swing

A2
Line/4 Down the Hall, turn as couple,
Line/4 Up the Hall, bend the line
[“in Dublin” variation:
Line/4 Down the Hall as in Dublin Bay*,
Line/4 Up the Hall as in Dublin Bay, bend the line]

B1
Circle Left 3/4x, Partner Swing

B2
Circle Left 3/4x, Neighbor Bonus Swing

REPEATRONELLA

A1
LLFB, (New) N Swing

A2
Line/4 Down the Hall, turn as couple,
Line/4 Up the Hall, bend the line
[“in Dublin” variation:
Line/4 Down the Hall as in Dublin Bay,
Line/4 Up the Hall as in Dublin Bay, bend the line]

B1
Ring/4 Bal, Petronella to Partner Swing

B2
Ring/4 Bal, Petronella to Neighbor Repeat Swing

*Down|Up the Hall as in Dublin Bay: Line/4 takes 4 steps down, dancers turn single (in this dance, toward Neighbor as they do) to face up to re-form the line and continues down the hall 4 steps. Line/4 takes 4 steps up, turns single to face down, and continues up the hall.
Should be used sparingly – some dancers have a strong aversion to backing up blind.

End effects: none
Tune suggestions: high energy tunes – Repeatronella and “in Dublin” variations require strong 4 beat chunks – or smooth/flowing for Bonus Round, as a breather between higher energy dances.
Video: Repeatronella variation at Concord Scout House Monday Contras series, Bonus Round variation at Portland, ME PICD
See also:
First called by me at several places on several dates starting with Bonus Round in Dublin at Mystic, CT Pie Dance on 7/28/18 with Gotham Carnival Trio.

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Fairly Nicked From Nick – Becket – Don Veino and Nick Howe 20180815

Type: Contra Dance, Becket
Status: Proven

In a conversation with Nick Howe following Ogontz Family Week 2018, we reviewed a draft of his 2017 “The Cuckoo and The Robin.” Nick’s dance features a double Mad Robin sequence (CCW into CW) to a Circle Left to Swing. I liked his idea for the transitions and it inspired me to take a shot at flipping the Mad Robin rotation and grafting on other parts to arrive at this co-author dance nicking Nick’s core idea.

This dance has been called several times to great dancer feedback. While you probably want to stress with dancers to take big graceful 8-beat Mad Robins in the B1, the subsequent circle acts as a timing shock absorber should everyone rush them. Energetic music seems to drive dancers to really haul on that bit while flowing/romantic encourages them taking up the time.

A1
Slice Left, Ladies Allemande Right 1+1/2x

A2
Neighbor Balance & Swing

B1
(Gents thru Middle First) Mad Robin CW around THIS Neighbor,
(Gents thru Middle First) Mad Robin CCW around NEXT Neighbor

B2
(w/orig. Ns) Circle Left 3/4x, Partner Swing

End effects: If you’re in the dance and nobody’s at the end for the second Mad Robin, either Mad Robin around a ghost or SeeSaw your Partner across and back to your side to continue with the Circle. If you’re out, cross over and come in temporarily for the second Mad Robin then wait on the left diagonal for the slice.
Tune suggestions:
Video: Thursday Contras at the Concord Scout House, Inc., Top Hill Music dance at the Greenfield, MA Grange.
See also: Mad for Ogontz
First called by me at the NEFFA Thursday Contras dance at the Concord Scout House on 9/20/2018.

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So Long and Thanks for All the Fish – 4 Face 4 – Don Veino 20180528

Type: Contra Dance, 4 Facing 4 – single progression, alternating sides
Status: Proven

Don't Panic!

Don’t Panic!

I’ve become slightly obsessed with Dolphin Hey dances. In this case I was striving for one that automatically alternates who gets to act as the traveling pair, so there’s no need to have differing choreography in alternating cycles. A 4-Face-4 achieves this – but note the resulting hey is unusual in that it’s Trail Buddies (not Partners) that are traveling as a pair together.

The key teaching point (over how to do the Hey) appears to be stressing who is doing the roll-away (I’ve found saying “the most recent person you swung” is better than “original corner”).

You may get a chuckle out of Hitchhiker’s Guide fans when you tell dancers the title. 🙂

A1
Long Lines Forward & Back, Corner Swing
[Those swinging on the outsides of the set separate from their corner (take a step apart) after the swing and face across, so there are clear columns of 4 across the set. Trail Buddies who swung (in the center) face to their original left toward the outside of the set. Note partners are in separate columns/4.]

A2
Center Trail Buddy pair starts a Dolphin Hey* across the set (passing the solo Lady by the left with the TB Gent in the lead).
[after the hey, all end up back in their swing ending positions]

B1
Ring/8 Balance, Gents Roll Away their Original Corner (one you swung, R->L) and face Partner
Pass Partner by Right to Weave the Ring/8 half way
[back to Partner, in progressed location]

B2
Partner Balance & Swing (end facing direction of progression)

*Dolphin Hey: Borrowed from English Country Dancing, this is a hey for four traveling the path of a full hey for three. One “couple” (in this dance, the designated Trail Buddy pair) travels as a unit while the other dancers travel solo. The pair stay in their respective orientation relative to the sides of the hall so that they alternate the leading position as they travel the hey together. In this dance that means the Gents lead out to the left, then the Ladies lead the pass back across the set and the Gents lead the finishing partial pass back to the center.

End effects: none
Tune suggestions: Driving with strong 8-beat phrasing, or romantic with flowy A2 and well hinted 8 beats elsewhere. Not unsurprisingly, Tom Kruskal’s fits – it’s the tune for Christine Robb’s ECD, Sapphire Sea, which got me interested in the Dolphin Hey to begin with.
Video:
See also: Sapphire Sea; my other Dolphin Hey dances, not yet posted
First called by me at the NEFFA Thursday Contras dance at the Concord Scout House on 9/20/2018.

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Hey, Ack is Back! – DI – Don Veino 20180711

Type: Contra Dance, Duple Improper
Status: DRAFT

Named in celebration of Lynn Ackerson having completed her Veterinary Tech program and, hopefully, her return to the contra dance community. Lynn’s an all around good egg and was very welcoming and helpful to me as I started calling contras. Until deep in her school program, she was the person that organized and put together the contra medleys for the first few times I called the New England Folk Festival. Welcome back, Lynn!

A1
Neighbor Balance & Swing

A2
Down and Up the Hall as in Dublin Bay, bend the line
[Dublin Bay = 4 steps facing down, turn alone, continue down backing up 4 steps. Come back up in similar style.]

B1
Ring/4 Balance, Petronella Slide/Twirl 1 place, Partner Swing on side

B2
Gents LH Open Chain (G Pull By Left, N Allemande Right 3/4x) [or actual Gent’s Chain w/Courtesy Turn]
Half Hey (Gents Pass Left) to next

End effects:
Tune suggestions: Bouncy/driving high energy
Video:
See also: Butty Dance
First called by PERSON at VENUE on DATE

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(Home Again, Home Again) Jiggity Jig – DI – Don Veino 20180430

Type: Contra Dance, Duple Improper
Status: Proven

This dance was a bonus spin-off while thinking through my dance The Right In Tension. It was intended to be useful as an easy frame for the Right Hand High, Left Hand Low move suitable for community dances, etc.

The name here comes from my youth – I was the only one in the family with a car at one point and used to drive the extended family to the supermarket. As we’d turn the corner to approach my grandmother’s home I’d always hear her chime from the back seat “home again, home again, jiggity jig” as she’d dig the house keys out of her purse.

A1
Neighbor Balance & Swing (end facing down)

A2
Line/4 Down the Hall, G1 turns alone while G2 does RH High, LH Low w/Ladies to all face up (swapping the Ladies)
Line/4 Up the Hall, Pivot to face Partner

B1
Partner Balance & Swing

B2
Long Lines Forward & Back
Ladies Pull by Right, Neighbor Allemande Left 1/2x and step forward to next Neighbor

End effects:
Tune suggestions: strong marches, driving tunes – and, of course, jigs.
Video:
See also: The Right In Tension

First called by me at the Worcester Contra Dance in MA on 6/8/2018.

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The Bubbles Incident – Becket – Don Veino 20180620

Not THE bubbles incident - but close to another!

Not THE bubbles incident – but close to another!

Type: Contra Dance, Becket Left/CW
Status: DRAFT

I was playing with new ways to do a Down-the-Hall dance – in particular, how to achieve the progression. I hit on the idea of a ring of dancers going down and then twirling to change facing direction into a new ring before coming back up… and realized this could work in a duple longways as well as a 4-face-4 setting – this is the longways dance.

The title here was inspired by an event with our daughter in her first grade class at school. They were doing bubble painting, where the kids blow bubbles into liquid tempera paint with glycerin and then use the bubbles to create a design on paper. However, our daughter got so carried away with the fun and laughing that she forgot you needed to blow out and ended up sucking the painty bubbles into her mouth – yuck! The rings/4 here reminded me of the bubbles in that infamous family incident.

While not yet tried out, I expect you’ll want to have the lines stretch down a bit to make room for rings/4 going down the hall… but not too far.

A1
Long Lines Forward & Back
Circle RIGHT 3/4x (to the 1s face up, 2s down)

A2
(~7) Ring/4 Down the Hall (2s are walking forward, 1s backward as the 2s steer)
(~2) Turn Alone (inwards, glance at partner as continue turning to face next couple)
(~7) New Ring/4 Up the Hall (2s are walking forward, 1s backward as 2s steer)

B1
Ring/4 Balance, Gent Roll Partner Away across
Neighbor Swing

B2
Ladies Allemande Right 1+1/2x (Alt.: Circle Left 3/4x), Partner Swing

End effects: Wait out Indecent (Gent on Right, Lady Left) to enter the A2 Ring. The rest is somewhat straightforward but just to be complete: twos pay attention to the line’s movement so as to be in place to form the new ring at the bottom (and scoot out of the way when ejected at the top). New ones wait out at the top for the twos to come up the hall to you.
Tune suggestions:
Video:
See also: the 4-Face-4 mentioned above and another slightly crazier DI dance (coming soon!)

First called by PERSON at VENUE on DATE

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Totally Ridiculous Utterly Mad Proposition – DI – Don Veino 20160112

Type: Contra Dance, Duple Improper
Status: EXPERIMENTAL – NOT INTENDED TO EVER BE ACTUALLY DANCED!

On January 11, 2018 the Third Occasional Bad Contra Choreography Contest was announced by Gregory Frock. The goal of this contest was to write the worst (ostensibly intended to be danceable) contra dance. Unfortunately, the lure of the contest generated a major time suck for my brain when I wanted to focus elsewhere and I had to submit something so I could stop thinking about it. So I submitted an entry on January 12th, the next day:

Hi Greg,

As soon as I became aware of your contest it was pretty much sucking all my thought energy. So I thought I better put together something that sucked right away so I could stop the stinking thoughts from continuing to suck on my brain. So here’s my stinker…

Good luck – that’s quite an impressive crew of judges you’ve assembled!
Don

Submitting the entry did the trick and I was able to forget about it and return to more productive endeavors.

Judges for the contest included a lot of the contra choreography luminaries of our age: Kathy Anderson, Bob Isaacs, Rick Mohr, Chris Page, Cary Ravitz and Sue Rosen. It took a while but the contest winners (i.e.: the losing dances – a tie), written by Yoyo Zhou and Ethan Ableman, were announced in April at NEFFA 2018. After the ceremony I was pleasantly surprised to be notified I was a top (so really bottom) 5 runner-up, with the committee remarks including:

“you need dancers’ insurance to try that B2”
“5 awkward transitions […] and a too-short neighbor swing”
“[…] there’s a consistent string of bad transitions ranging from dubious to awful”
“Awkward transitions, timing issues, no flow”

All in all, I’m going to consider this a success. Maybe I’ll make a more comprehensive effort for the next contest, which I’m told we might expect in something like 11 years… enjoy! 😉

A1
Neighbor Allemande Right 1+1/2x
Ladies Chain (to P)

A2
Right Hand Star 1x
Shadow RH Balance and Box the Gnat, Pull By

B1
Gents Swing (in the center)**
Partner Swing

B2
Gents Allemande Left 1/2x, Pick Up Neighbor for a Star Promenade 1/2x, Butterfly Whirl
Neighbor Swing (and look to the next N…)

[**This bit probably worked against me – after I’d submitted my entry there was a clarification on the criteria re: having same role swings (which a prior contest had considered a qualification for badness) being not an effective property for this round. My intent with the Gent’s Swing was not to have the same role/gender interaction be the bad part but rather having two folks that were already pretty much headed CCW and away from each other somehow get into a CW Swing and then find their Partner mid-phrase to Swing them… but c’est la vie.]

End effects: N/A
Tune suggestions: Silence
Video:
See also: the contest web page and Facebook event

Never to be called by any PERSON at any VENUE on any DATE

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The Oddball In Charge – Mixer for 5, 7 or ? Dancers – Don Veino 20171210, rev. 20180112

a.k.a. “The Magic Charm”

Type: Circle Mixer for odd number of dancers, Gender-free
Status: Proven

At smaller venue dances you may find yourself at the beginning or end of the evening below the comfortable number of dancers for a contra or square dance for an extended time. The Levi Jackson Rag or Triplets are nice but then you have the situation where you have 7 willing dancers or just 5 and there’s something up such that you as a caller can’t easily jump in to dance and call…

So I wanted to create another dance that would fit this situation and have some chance to work with beginning dancers – fitting the traditional tunes that smaller venue bands’ repertoires often contain. This is one attempt at such a thing.

Since writing this dance, I’ve not run into a situation where I could use it! I hadn’t wanted to share it until I had a chance to try it out with dancers but some local callers facing the same venues asked for the dance as word got around (we all dread the tiny crowd issue). It became a private joke because for a long time it held some weird form of protective charm power for our group – a caller would have 7 people and walk through this dance… and then a wave of dancers would show up such that they could swap to a conventional contra or square. We’d have an upcoming gig where we expected it would be used and then have to report back that we didn’t. And then one night Linda Leslie called to a crowd of 7 people at the start and 5 at the end of an evening – so they danced it twice as bookends with success.

Some people might object to the term “Oddball” – it’s not intended to be negative but rather as descriptive. I’d be sure to explain to dancers that we all sometimes feel like the Oddball in a situation, and this dance will give you several times to experience the power of that unique role. There can be a somewhat competitive aspect to the B parts – encourage folks to watch out for each other and be safe!

Starts with an even number of dancers in a ring with an extra dancer (“Oddball”) in the center. Minimum 5 or possibly up to 9 (or more?) dancers – works with any mix, i.e. “gender free.” If there’s any question of who does what, have dancers note the Oddball (the person in the center at the moment) is always in charge (so they select and raise their hand for the twirls, etc. – FWIW, some dancers have played this back as “the Oddball is always the Gent/Lark”).

A1
Ring Balance, Petronella Slide/Twirl Right
Ring Balance, Petronella Slide/Twirl Right

A2
Oddball picks any outside dancer to LH Balance & Swat the Flea to swap (center person lifts, outside twirls under)
New center/Oddball reaches out RH at angle to Balance and Box the Gnat (center lifts, outside twirls) to swap with the other adjacent outside dancer

B1
This New Oddball Circle Left 1x (with grace in 8 counts) with the dancers who did the twirls (anyone bracketed by this set of Oddballs if more than 5 dancers in set)
Oddball look away to Circle Right with the other remaining dancers (use up remaining 8 counts)

B2
Everyone find another dancer to Balance and Swing (Gender Free Swing in some form)
[end with the one dancer left over in the center and all the others form a ring to…]

End effects: N/A
Tune suggestions: Written for trad tune Petronella, other traditional tunes may work
Video:
See also:

First called (twice!) by Linda Leslie at the East Sandwich, MA Grange on January 20, 2018.

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Force of Nature – DI or Becket – Don Veino 20180620

Type: Contra Dance, Duple Improper or Becket Right/CCW
Status: Proven

Shel Michaels made me write this… just kidding ;-). But he did suggest I write a dance to commemorate this event.

On 6/18/18 a microburst/tornado struck our neighborhood. Nobody was hurt but nature flexed its capricious muscle in snapping and tossing around many trees.

Duple Improper version:

A1
Neighbor Balance & Swing

A2
Gents LH Chain (to P) with Courtesy Fling* to Wave/4 across (G by LH & RH to P)
[Easier teach alternative: Gents LH Pull By across, Partner Allemande Right 1x]
Wave Balance, Gents Allemande Left 1x (back to P)

B1
Partner Dosido (or whatever) & Swing

B2
Ring Balance, Petronella Twirl/Slide Right
Ring Balance, Partner California Twirl to next

Becket Right/CCW Version: Begin at the B2 above

*Courtesy Fling: in this instance, Lady stops their motion in the Courtesy Turn ~half way to face up/down the set (away from progression) and the Gent continues pivoting around their connected right hands to face the opposite direction to take left hands in a wave across.

End effects: Cross over at ends
Tune suggestions: Jigs, tunes with 4 beat accents in the A2 & B2
Video: Thursday Contras series at the Concord Scout House, Inc.
See also:

First called by me at the Wolfeboro, NH G.A.L.A. contra dance with the Old Favorite band on 6/23/18.

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Clap Happy – Gender Free Longways or Circle – Don Veino 20180115

Type: Longways or Circle Family/Ceilidh Dance – Gender Free
Status: Proven

Clap Happy being danced

Clap Happy dancers!

This dance always gets smiles with the right crowds. Very useful for those community dances where you want want to sense the crowd or provide some variety without the possibility of a crash and burn. Works well as a keeper with smaller kids paired to a bigger kid or parent. Can be used as a mixer with older kids or adults.

In larger crowds run this in multiple “longways for as many as will” sets with partners opposite.

In smaller venues as a circle dance, I get folks to take hands in a single circle with Partner, then have them adjust to have one person in each couple face me or put their back to me in the center so the couples form radial spokes for two concentric circles. Then I have them compare wingspans and move the bigger folks to face in on the outside circle and narrower wingspans to face out from the inner circle.

UPDATE 5/12/20: I created a “to Go” variation of this dance for the 2020 “Virtual” New England Folk Festival (NEFFA) – see the first comment below for details.

Starts facing Partner opposite:

A1
(8 @ 1 beat/move) Clap two hands over (own! 🙂 ) left leg, under left leg, over right leg, under right leg, in front at waist, behind back at waist, in front again and then two handed “high five” with Partner
(8) Repeat pattern
[Encourage adjustments for mobility issues as required – can clap high/low instead of over/under leg, etc.]

A2
(8) Partner Right Elbow turn 1x
(8) Partner Left Elbow turn 1x (so back at starting spot)

B1
(8,8) Facing Circles or Big Oval to your own personal RIGHT (opposite direction from Partner) and back left
[as a keeper, left is return to Partner – as mixer, go one person past Partner to next]

B2
(keep or new) Partner Balance & Swing (two-hand, whatever – end in place, facing in or out)
ALT: Partner Dosido & Swing

End effects: Never out
Tune suggestions: Bouncy 32 bar jigs, marches – bouncy A1 is key to the fun!
Video:
See also: Probably some traditional dances that are similar…
First called by me at Hancock UCC Barn Dance on 1/20/2018.

Posted in Ceilidh, Circle Mixers, Contra, Contra Dances, Dance, English, English Country Dance, Family Dance, My Dances, Proven | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Right In Tension (a.k.a. Synchro de Mayo) – Becket – Don Veino 20180430

Type: Contra Dance, Becket Left/CW
Status: Proven

I’ve written a series of dances playing with the residual tension from the last contact in a roll-away and this one I feel is my simplest solution to date for it feeding a hey (suitable for a mixed crowd). Some of my related dances are listed in See Also below.

I find it very helpful to demo the roll to hey transition for dancers and stress keeping the tension of the last contact to pull into the first pass right of the hey. Once dancers get this they’re pleasantly surprised that the move works smoothly and feels great.

The secondary name for the dance honors first calling it on Cinco de Mayo 2018 and my coming up with another substitute term for Gypsy – using “Synchronize” (Sync) for the move.

A1
Slide Left, Ladies Allemande Right 1+1/2x
Neighbor Swing (end facing down)

A2
Line/4 Down the Hall, G1 turns alone while G2 does RH High, LH Low to all face up (swapping the Ladies)
Line/4 Up the Hall, Gents Roll Partner Lady Away (w/half sashay) and KEEP last HOLD tension to face P across

B1
(pull into) Partner Pass Right Full Hey (P by R, L1 & G2 by L, Same Role by R, G1 & L2 R, etc.)

B2
Partner Synchronize (a.k.a. Gypsy) & Swing

End effects:
Tune suggestions: well-phrased, driving.
Video:
See also: Lobster Roll, Rolling & Strolling, Proof of Concept, Shaken Not Stirred, Stirred Not Shaken, … (yep, there’s a lot of them!)
First called by me at the Berlin Country Orchestra dance in Berlin, MA on 5/5/2018.

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Two Hearts Beat As One – DI – Don Veino 20180203

Type: Contra Dance, Duple Improper
Status: Proven

For my wife Sage on our 10th Valentine’s Day. Written independently but likely strongly inspired by my recollection of Don Flaherty’s Heartbeat Contra – the A parts are the same and the B parts are a sort of inverse, with a unique twist via a Gent’s Balance and Pull By.

A1
Ring/4 Balance, Petronella Slide/Twirl
Ring Balance, Petronella Slide/Twirl (now on side with N)

A2
Neighbor Balance & Swing

B1
Gents LH Balance & Pull By
Partner Swing

B2
Circle Left 3/4x, Ring/4 Balance
2s Arch, 1s Duck through to new Ring/4

End effects:
Tune suggestions: Jigs work great
Video: Monday Contras, 5/7/2018
See also: Heartbeat Contra by Don Flaherty
First called by me at the Concord Scout House Monday Contras dance on 5/7/2018.

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Filet Mignon – DI – Don Veino 20170918

Type: Contra Dance, Duple Improper
Status: Proven

The instant I heard Simon Riopel’s tune L’Air Mignonne played by Eric Boodman I knew I must write a dance to match. This dance plays with dancer expectations re: Rory O’Moore moves, so it may take a couple of cycles for them to settle down into the A1 and then folks start to really smile and enjoy the tune. The dance had a couple of names through drafting but the final decision was made when Julie Metcalf told me she always associated “filet mignon” in conjunction with the tune – the band lobbied hard for that title. 🙂

I originally featured a “funky” hey in the B2 (see below) – it fits the music perfectly and has a nice “snap” ending action via a catch right, half allemande with Neighbor to re-form the starting wave… but it requires a careful teach/demo and some dancers simply never get it. The primary version below is a simplification with a more conventional hey, which can end ~1 beat early – so encourage dancers to relax into the overall easy going pace to form the wave on the last beat. (Feel free to go with the Funky version if you have a suitable crowd.)

Starts in Wave/4 across, Neighbor by Right and Ladies Left hands in center.

A1
Rory Wave Balance Right & Left, Twirl/Slide Right, Catch Left hand
Neighbor Allemande Left 1+1/4 to long waves (Gents face out)
[Progression]

A2
Wave Balance Fwd/Back, Box Circulate (G loop right, L cross set)
Partner Swing

B1
Circle Left 3/4, (the new) Neighbor Swing

B2
Full (actually, 15/16) Hey, Gents Pass LEFT to start – end with Ladies catch left, RH to N
OR
[“Funky Hey” (two rights don’t make it wrong) version B2: Ladies pass TWO RIGHTS (Lady, Partner) to start a Full Hey (then Gents pass Left in center, N by R, etc.) ending by catching Right with N for an Allemande Right 1/2x to reform the Wave across. The double pass at the start saves ~2 beats which then get tagged on for the ending N Allemande Right.]

End effects:
Tune suggestions: Simon Riopel’s tune L’Air Mignonne, obviously. 🙂
Video: “Funky Hey” Version at Monday Contras 5/7/2018
See also:
First called by me at Concord Scout House Monday Contras dance

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¡Que Linda! – DI – Don Veino 20180211

Type: Contra Dance, Duple Improper
Status: Proven, Public

Linda Leslie photo

Linda Leslie

Here’s a contra in honor of Linda Leslie. I wanted to give Linda a dance more likely to be regularly called than my prior dance Linda’s Gifts (which is a waltz-time Contra or English Country Dance (ECD)).

Linda and I were in a correspondence around the Mad Robin to a wave idea I’d first used in my dance Super Robin. She’d written a couple of sequences (which are not published on her site but were called in her final few gigs, with lovely dedications) featuring the idea with different solutions around it. This was to be my choreographic response – using a CCW rotation instead of the Gents first/CW MR in those dances. Unfortunately, she never got to see this dance.

May it bring dancers joy – as did she. Linda spoke fluent Spanish and, I believe, would have appreciated the word play of the title.

A1
Neighbor Balance & Swing

A2
Long Lines Forward & Back
Mad Robin CCW 1+1/4x (Ladies through center 1st, to Wave/4 across)
[N by LH, Ladies RH center]

B1
Balance Wave, Neighbor Allemande Left 1/2x,
Gents Pass Right to cross, Partner Swing

B2
Circle Left 3/4x, Ring Balance & CA Twirl

End effects:
Tune suggestions: Bouncy & driving – we used The Kitchen Girl & Stampin’ and Champin’ (Glen Loper) for NEFFA 2018 with the YFO. Reel Circulaire (by Daniel Boucher) is another good pairing.
Video: Scout House Monday Contras 20180507
See also: My Super Robin and Linda’s dances Creativity and Felicidades.

First called by me in final form at the FSGW Sunday dance at Glen Echo’s Spanish Ballroom with the Dead Sea Squirrels on 4/15/2018 and dedicated to Linda at the New England Folk Festival in a session with the Youth Festival Orchestra on 4/21/18. Earlier drafts were shared with the Portland Intown Contra Dance (PICD) and Scout House Monday Contras communities.

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Swinging Chainsaws – DI – Don Veino 20171006

Type: Contra Dance, Duple Improper
Status: DRAFT (but proven via transitive property…)

This dance is one of a set that grew out of my work on (Like) Juggling Chainsaws. There is a mirror role and move dance to this one, Dosi Dude, which could be paired with this for an alternating dance.

The dance is pleasantly simple yet slightly different due to the Dosido to face away transition. The Chain/CT and pull into the See Saw on the side should work well (the mirror move in Dosi Dude does). Encourage the dancers to use the full measure of each phrase of the music for the moves – the dance could get “big” as a result.

A1
Neighbor Balance & Swing

A2
Ladies RH Chain
Ladies See Saw

B1
Partner Balance & Swing

B2
Ladies RH Chain (keep LH connected with Neighbor as you face them up/down to pull into a…)
Neighbor See Saw (and look away to next)

End effects:
Tune suggestions:
Video:
See also: (Like) Juggling Chainsaws, Dosi Dude

First called by PERSON at VENUE on DATE.

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Dosi Dude – DI – Don Veino 20171006

Type: Contra Dance, Duple Improper
Status: Proven

Let's Dosi, Dude!

Let's Dosi, Dude!

This dance is one of a set that grew out of my work on (Like) Juggling Chainsaws. There is a mirror role and move dance to this one, Swinging Chainsaws, which could be paired with this for an alternating dance.

The dance is pleasantly simple yet slightly different/challenging due to the relatively uncommon Gent’s Chain and Dosido to face away transitions. The Chain/CT and pull into the Dosido on the side works well. I carefully teach the Gent’s LH Chain to ensure folks turn properly (CW – Gents forward, Ladies backing up) in the associated Courtesy Turn so the flow is smooth and satisfying. Encourage the dancers to use the full measure of each phrase of the music for the moves – the dance can get “big” as a result.

A1
Neighbor Balance & Swing

A2
Gents LH Chain
Gents Left Shoulder Dosido (See Saw)

B1
Partner Balance & Swing

B2
Gents LH Chain (keep RH connected with Neighbor as you face them up/down to pull into a…)
Neighbor Dosido (and look away to next)

End effects:
Tune suggestions: Bouncy Quebecois tunes, bouncy jigs
Video:
See also: (Like) Juggling Chainsaws, Swinging Chainsaws

First called by me at Concord Scout House Monday Contras on 10/23/2017 (I got a chance to dance it too – folks really liked it). We had a wonderful group of Quebecois musicians playing this evening and the tunes really drove the energy.

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The Devils A Swinger – DI – Don Veino 20171012

Type: Contra Dance, Duple Improper
Status: DRAFT

The actual title of this dance is “The Devil’s A Swinger” but WordPress currently won’t show the post if any form of apostrophe is used in the post title, so this is the second try without the punctuation. 🙁

A respin on the traditional dance Devil’s Dream to incorporate swings yet retain much of the tradtional feel. This dance was inspired by the posting of Devil’s Dream on the Shared Weight Caller’s List – I really liked the A parts action of that traditional dance but know there would be dancer complaints about the no swings situation were I to call it at an average dance in the USA. I put a wrinkle in the A parts here (vs. Devil’s Dream) to get the dancers across the set and then set up and add the swings. I’ve refactored this further to create I ♥ Devil Dogs.

Starts with the 1s facing down in the center and 2s facing up on the outside.

A1
(6,2) 1s go down center/2s go up outside – 1s turn as couple, 2s turn alone
[I’d probably teach/prompt “centers as couples, outsides turn alone” as it fits both instances]
(6,2) 1s go up center/2s go down outside – Handy Hand Allemande 1/2x same role Neighbor to 2s in center

A2
(6,2) 1s go down outside/2s go up center – 2s turn as couple, 1s turn alone
(6,2) 1s go up outside/2s go down center – Right Hand Allemande 1/4x opposite role Neighbor
[NOTE: Couples promenade in the same direction both times]

B1
Half Hey (G Pass Left to start)
Neighbor Swing

B2
Long Lines Forward & Back [Alternative: Circle Left 1x]
1s Swing in Center, all face progression

End effects: Be mindful of the differences when changing couple numbers at the ends.
Tune suggestions:
Video:
See also: I ♥ Devil Dogs, The Devil’s Dream (below)

First called by PERSON at VENUE on DATE [include links as appropriate]

Here’s the original traditional dance:

The Devil’s Dream – DI – Traditional

A1
1s face down and lead down the centre while the 2s face up and go up the outside
all turn alone and lead back to give neighbour nearest hand and half turn neighbour

A2
1s facing down the outside and 2s up the middle: lead up or down again
you promenade in the same direction both times
all turn alone and lead back to give left hands to neighbour

B1
turn neighbour into a full ladies chain across

B2
half promenade neighbour across set
half right and left back

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I ♥ Devil Dogs – DI – Don Veino 20171012

Type: Contra Dance, Duple Improper
Status: DRAFT

Yep, named for the snack cake that was my second favorite in the Drake’s lineup when I was a kid, right behind Ring Dings and just before Yodels. OK, so maybe behind Yodels too. 🙂

A respin on the traditional dance The Devil’s Dream to incorporate Partner and Neighbor swings. This dance is a further refactoring of my contemporaneous dance The Devil’s A Swinger.

Starts with the 1s facing down in the center and 2s facing up on the outside.

A1
(6,2) 1s go down center/2s go up outside – 1s turn as couple, 2s turn alone
[I’d probably teach/prompt “centers as couples, outsides turn alone” as it fits both instances]
(6,2) 1s go up center/2s go down outside – Handy Hand Allemande 1/2x same role Neighbor to 2s in center

A2
(6,2) 1s go down outside/2s go up center – 2s turn as couple, 1s turn alone
(6,2) 1s go up outside/2s go down center – Right Hand Allemande 1/4x opposite role Neighbor
[NOTE: Couples promenade in the same direction both times]

B1
Gents Cross
Partner Swing

B2
Give & Take to Gents (N Swing), all face progression
[Alternative: Circle Left 3/4x, Neighbor Swing, all face progression]

End effects: Be mindful of the differences when changing couple numbers at the ends.
Tune suggestions:
Video:
See also: The Devil’s A Swinger, The Devil’s Dream (below)

Just FYI, the title is pronounced “I Heart Devil Dogs.”

First called by PERSON at VENUE on DATE [include links as appropriate]

Here’s the original traditional dance:

The Devil’s Dream – DI – Traditional

A1
1s face down and lead down the centre while the 2s face up and go up the outside
all turn alone and lead back to give neighbour nearest hand and half turn neighbour

A2
1s facing down the outside and 2s up the middle: lead up or down again
you promenade in the same direction both times
all turn alone and lead back to give left hands to neighbour

B1
turn neighbour into a full ladies chain across

B2
half promenade neighbour across set
half right and left back

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Oh, The Indecency! (v2) – Indecent – Don Veino 20170802

Type: Contra Dance, Duple Indecent
Status: Proven

Grandma in shock photo

Grandma’s shocked at the indecency!

Indecent formation = ones proper, twos crossed over

Not much to say about this one other than I hope dancers really enjoy the novelty of the formation and somewhat uncommon moves. I’m guessing this would routinely be an Intermediate dance yet I was able to call it successfully for the first time with a mixed crowd following a single careful teaching with a Gent’s Chain demo (stressing the reverse direction of the courtesy turn). Several dancers came up to say how much they liked it. 🙂

A1
Partner RH Balance, Cross-Trail to New Ring (pass P right across, N left along)
Ring Balance, Petronella Twirl to Right (face P)

A2
Partner Balance & Swing

B1
LLFB, Gents Left Hand Chain

B2
(G Pass Left) Half Hey, Neighbor Swing

End effects: Wait out crossed over, ready to join dancers for the second ring balance & petronella.
Tune suggestions:
Video: Lavender Country Folk Dancers Contra 9/30/17 (Gender-free, Larks and Ravens)
See also:

First called by me at the Woods Hole, MA Contra on 9/2/2017

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Wild Mouse – 4 Face 4 – Don Veino 20170823

Type: Contra Dance, 4 Face 4
Status: DRAFT, EXPERIMENTAL

Amusement park ride image, 1960s

The Wild Mouse ride at Revere Beach, MA sometime in the 1960s or early ’70s

This sequence re-imagines the B parts from my dance Lobster Roll. I wanted to find another way of resolving a 4 Face 4 than has been done to date. Originally I thought of having the two Mad Robin (MR) figures be in opposite rotation with a cross-over (as in a figure 8) in the middle (a la the on the sides action in Sharon of the Green) but was concerned about the possibility of collisions while crossing.

The B1 “Experimental” bit below is my attempt to simplify the MR motion to be consistently in one rotational direction and avoid the collision issue by making the MR path for each dancer into something like a sideways “6” or “9”. The MR pieces in the B1 are in quarter multiples so the dancers can slide past each other across the set in the place between the couple dyads.

Once learned, I think this sequence will be easy to dance – given the Partners facing & associated guidance possibility in the B1 – but could be a challenge to teach!

The title of this dance comes from one of the last amusement park rides remaining at Revere Beach, Massachusetts in the late ’60s – that ride featured a series of loop-backs and sharp turns/feints that made it appear (at least to a ~8 year old) like you were going to fly off the track and land in the nearby Atlantic ocean! The B1 circuitous loops here made me think of that ride. Sadly, what was once quite a stretch of rides at that beach have since become an unbroken line of oversize condos forming a tall wall across from the sand.

A1
Rings/4 Balance, Petronella Right 1 place
Rings/4 Balance, Petronella Right 1 place

A2
Rings/4 Balance, Gents Draw Opposite Lady Back & Swing

B1
(~4) Mad Robin CW 3/4x around Opposite, Gents L->R through center first (facing P up/down)
[so temporarily we have transitory columns of 4 up/down the set with Ladies face to face and two couples “outbound” to edge of set and two couples “inbound” to cross the set]
(~4) Outbound* couples continue MR 1/2 more, WHILE inbound* couples slide straight across set to other side (so Gs behind Ls)
[to temporarily form transitory columns of 4 up/down with opposite roles facing in mini cols of 2 – have swapped inbound and outbound couples]
(~4) Outbound* couples MR 1/2x, WHILE inbound* dancers slide across to other side (L behind G)
(~2,~2) All MR 1/4x+, Ladies Pass Left up/down WHILE Gents MR 1/4x+ to face P

B2
Partner Balance & Swing, end facing progression

[*Inbound/Outbound is relative to the dancer’s (couple’s) current vector at that moment]

End effects: Remember to face progression at the end of the Partner Swing!
Tune suggestions: Bouncy As, smooth Bs
Video:
See also: Lobster Roll

Here’s a video of a different but similar Wild Mouse ride than the one I rode as a kid. Note the complete lack of safety railings on the majority of the track – that’s what got me worried about flying off into the ocean when I was a kid.

First called by PERSON at VENUE on DATE

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Lobster Roll – 4 Face 4 – Don Veino 20170823

Type: Contra Dance, 4 Face 4
Status: DRAFT

Lobster and lobster roll

Classic New England seaside shack delight

This sequence re-uses a concept I’d first developed for a down the hall dance Strolling & Rolling. When thinking about the commonality of facing lines/4 and a line/4 down the hall I recognized the same idea of a roll away into a hey would fit into a 4 Face 4 as well. This dance is the result – I paired very bouncy A parts to smooth Bs to give bands some sonic room.

The lobster roll is a classic New England gustatory treat – heck, even McDonald’s offers them here in season. Come visit, find a classic oceanside seafood shack and give one a try!

A1
Rings/4 Balance, Petronella Right 1 place
Rings/4 Balance, Petronella Right 1 place

A2
Rings/4 Balance, Gents draw Opposite Lady Back & Swing

B1
Ladies Chain (up/down to Partner)
Long Lines Forward, Lady Roll Away Partner (and face P across the set)

B2
Half Hey (Partner Pass Right)
Partner Swing, face progression

End effects: Remember to face progression at end of the Partner Swing!
Tune suggestions: Bouncy As, smooth Bs
Video:
See also: Strolling & Rolling, Wild Mouse

First called by me at the Jamaica Plain Gender Free dance on 9/30/17.

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Strolling & Rolling – Becket – Don Veino 20170725

Type: Contra Dance, Becket Left/CW
Status: DRAFT

This dance sprang out of my interest in doing something unique out of a Partner Roll Away. I’ve experienced other callers’ attempts at making a roll away feed something with Partner focus like a roll to a swing – and there’s always been some significant flow issue, because the lingering tension from the last contact in the roll got in the way. This dance was crafted specifically to use that tension to launch the next action: entering a hey.

This is most likely an intermediate level dance due to the need for timely and slightly differing action in the A2 as well as the need for good dancer technique to make the roll to heys timing work and everyone end up in the right places. Because all the hey action is focused on Partners, the dance should provide effective recovery points that would keep it out of “advanced” territory.

So far this dance has been walked through successfully but not yet called/danced. I’ve since leveraged this roll to hey into a 4 Face 4 dance, Lobster Roll.

A1
Left Diagonal Circle 3/4x, Swing Neighbor
[first time through, circle is straight across]

A2
(8) Ladies Chain (to P) to face down the hall (so Courtesy Turn = different fractions for 1s and 2s)
(6,2) Down the Hall in Line/4, Gents Roll Partner w/HS (face Partner across set)

B1
Half Hey (pass P Left to start, end in mirror position of start, facing up, Ladies on left of P)
(6,2) Up the Hall in Line/4, Gents Roll Partner w/HS (face P across set)

B2
Half Hey (pass P Right to start, end in mirror position of start, facing P)
Partner Swing

End effects: Wait out on left diagonal to enter in the circle
Tune suggestions: Strongly phrased/driving smooth tunes
Video:
See also: Lobster Roll, The Right In Tension

First called by PERSON at VENUE on DATE

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Counter Clock-Weiss – DI – Don Veino 20170729

Type: Contra Dance, Duple Improper
Status: DRAFT, EXPERIMENTAL

Eph & Raeden waltzing

Eph Weiss and our daughter Raeden doing their first waltz in 2013.


This dance was written in memoriam to Eph Weiss. Eph was an active dancer in many folk styles in the Boston, MA area up until nearly his 93rd birthday and was known for doing a CCW Swing to give his knees some relief.

Eph had the grace to be able to substitute a CCW Swing for a conventional Swing and have it work smoothly. In this dance, I rely less on the skill of dancers to accomplish that by making all the moves in the dance facilitate CCW Swings. Because of that, the dance counts on ending the CCW swings (done in reverse ballroom position or other comfortable hold) with the Gent on the right. For a conventional swing respin of this dance, see Ephervescence.

Note that this dance and Ephervescence are sufficiently similar/tune equivalent that they could be easily medleyed to provide dancers the novelty of reverse action for a short while and then switch to conventional moves.

Unbeknownst to me while Eph was still dancing with us, some dancers had nicknamed him “Counter Clock-Weiss” – it seemed the perfect title for this composition!

A1
Neighbor LEFT Gypsy 1x
Gents Pass Right, Half Hey

A2
Neighbor LEFT Gypsy & CCW Swing (end with Gent on RIGHT)

B1
Give & Take to Gents, Partner CCW Swing (end with Gent on RIGHT)

B2
Long Lines Forward & Back
Star Right 3/4x to next

End effects: Wait out crossed over.
Tune suggestions:
Video:
See also: Ephervescence

This has been dry run with some dancers on the sideline successfully, but not yet called/danced.

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Ephervescence – DI – Don Veino 20170729

Type: Contra Dance, Duple Improper
Status: Proven

Eph & Raeden waltzing

Eph Weiss and our daughter Raeden doing their first waltz in 2013.


This is a conventional respin of my all-reverse dance Counter Clock-Weiss, written in memoriam to Eph Weiss. Eph was an active dancer in many folk styles in the Boston, MA area up until nearly his 93rd birthday. See Counter Clock-Weiss for the original composition.

A1
Neighbor Gypsy 1x
Ladies Pass Left Half Hey

A2
Neighbor Gypsy & Swing

B1
Give & Take to Gents, Partner Swing

B2
LLF & G Roll Away Partner on way Back
Star Right 3/4x to next

End effects:
Tune suggestions:
Video: First trial
See also: Counter Clock-Weiss

First called by me at the Greenfield, MA Guiding Star Grange on 8/18/2017.

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Wicked Smooth – Becket or DI – Don Veino 20170803

Type: Contra Dance, Duple Improper or Becket Left/CW
Status: Proven

There’s been a dance “seed” on my whiteboard for some time, which germinated today into what I think is a wonderfully smooth dance (what we New Englanders might describe as “wicked (very) smooth).” Depending upon programming needs, it can be run as a Duple Improper or Becket – it seems to fit tunes well either way.

Becket Version (Primary)

A1
Ladies Chain (to N)
Star Left 1x

A2
With NEXT Neighbors Circle Left 1x
Neighbor Swing

B1
(6) Mad Robin (Gents through center first/CW)
(2) Gents Pass Left to cross
Half Hey (Pass Partner by Right)

B2
Partner Gypsy, Swing

Duple Improper Version

Before walk through, have dancers Swing their Neighbor briefly to put the 1s below the 2s – this is their home position.

A1
(6) Mad Robin (Gents through center first/CW)
(2) Gents Pass Left to cross
Half Hey (Pass Partner by Right)

A2
Partner Gypsy, Swing

B1
Ladies Chain (to N)
Star Left 1x

B2
With NEXT Neighbors Circle Left 1x
Neighbor Swing

End effects: Wait out crossed over and rejoin the dance via the Circle.
Tune suggestions: Well phrased romantic/sultry tunes
Video:
See also:

Becket version first called by me at CDSS Family Week 2017 at Ogontz Camp on 8/10/2017. Received well with a very mixed crowd – two caller colleagues present asked for the choreography. Finally got a chance to dance it myself when Nils Fredland called it with a really gorgeous tune by Elixir at the Concord Scout House Challenging Contras series on 10/6/17.

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Poussettey Spaghetti – DI – Don Veino 20170715

Type: Contra Dance, Duple ImproperImage of Camp Ogontz logo
Status: DRAFT

This dance came out of a comment my wife, Sage, once made while we were walking down to the dance hall at Ogontz camp in Lyman, NH. There was an English Country Dance session going on and Sage was ahead of me in getting towards the hall – I asked her what was going on and she said something to the effect of “I don’t know – some form of Poussettey Spaghetti.” Well that immediately went into the notebook as a future dance title!

It took me nearly a year to finally come up with the dance to fit the name – I’d penned an unpublished one earlier which worked but was too much to teach for contra dancers (used a draw poussette in addition to the conventional one here). When this simpler sequence with similar feel popped into my head I knew Poussettey Spaghetti was finally born.

A1
Neighbor Gypsy & Swing

A2
Circle Left 1x (Face P across and take 2 hands)
1/4 Poussette CW, 2 Hand Turn 1/2 CCW, 1/4 Poussette CW, separate, Gents pass Left

B1
Half Hey, pass Partner Right to start
Partner Swing

B2
Long Lines Forward & Back
Gents Pull By Right, Neighbor Allemande Left 1+1/4x (to next N…)

End effects:
Tune suggestions: Romantic yet with definite cadence
Video:
See also: Poussette in Boots

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Poussette in Boots – Becket – Don Veino 20170715

Type: Contra Dance, Becket Left/CWPuss in Boots image
Status: Proven

This dance came out of playing with Poussettes towards my dance Poussettey Spaghetti, intended to be simpler than that dance. At the time of it’s composition, our daughter Raeden was obsessed with getting a cat as a pet and talked about it constantly – for that reason the play on words re: “Puss in Boots” for the title was forward in my mind.

A1
Left diagonal Circle Left 3/4x (G face back at P to take 2 hands)
Half Poussette CW, separate from Partner
Gents Allemande Left 1x (to face N)

A2
Full Hey, pass Neighbor Right to start

B1
Neighbor Gypsy & Swing

B2
Give & Take to Gents, P Swing

End effects:
Tune suggestions: Romantic yet with definite cadence
Video: coming soon
See also: Poussettey Spaghetti

First called by me at the Concord Scout House Monday Contras series 7/24/2017.

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(Riding in the) Zoomy Car – DI – Don Veino 20170717

Type: Contra Dance, Duple Improper
Status: Proven

The A parts of this composition were inspired by Lindsey Dono’s work-in-progress composition Working Title (WT), which I’d become involved in discussing. Lindsey, several others and I were challenged to date in finding a smooth two-swing resolution to Working Title’s unique/signature compound-action Figure 8 and Hole in the Wall A parts.

However, after reporting back my best attempt on that to Lindsey, my brain wouldn’t let go of the feel of the dance and I came up with the following re-imagining on WT‘s A parts theme and married it to one of the B parts solutions I’d offered up for Working Title (which worked in that context only if the “half” Figure 8s in that dance included a second cross-over for the actives – becoming a “5/8ths Figure 8”?).

The title for this one is again inspired by our daughter Raeden. My sports car has remained in the garage for the 5 years since her birth (car seats are unsafe in two-seaters). Raeden loves speed/curves/inertia and frequently talks about a future day “when I’ll get to ride in Daddy’s zoomy car.” The swooping action of this dance reminded me of her dream – which I look forward to fulfilling soon.

A1
2s Handy Hand Gate 1s 1+1/4x (mirror move)
[Simpler alternative: Long Lines Forward & Back]
1s Half Figure 8 down through 2s (around same role and above to center of line/4 facing down, L2,L1,G1,G2)

A2
Line/4 Down the Hall, bend line
[pssst: the bend is actually a 1s Gate 2s 1/2x – but they don’t need to know that if you did LLFB in A1]
2s Half Figure 8 up through 1s (around opposite role and below to center of line/4 facing up)
[to G1,L2,G2,L1 from dancer’s perspective (or L1,G2,L2,G1 from stage)]

B1
Line/4 Up the Hall; Gent 1 lets go, the Twos arch* via Gent doing Left Hand High/Right Low to shoot Lady 1 through to Gent 1
Partner Swing
[*note Lady 2 continues walking forward during Left High/Right Low move to make space for Lady 1 to pass through straight across and can keep hands directly into the Swing]

B2
Gents Allem Left 1+1/2x
Neighbor Swing (and take [handy] hand with next…)
[Alternative for Allemande: Give & Take in some form to Ladies]

End effects: Be mindful of how your action changes when crossing over at ends
Tune suggestions: Marches, strongly phrased romantic tunes
Video: Princeton, NJ
See also: Lindsey Dono’s work-in-progress Working Title

First called by me at the Princeton, NJ Country Dancers contra on 7/19/2017 with LLFB option in A1.

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Horseplay – DI – Don Veino 20170714

Type: Contra, Duple Improper
Status: DRAFT

A riff on our daughter Raeden’s Pony Fun, leveraging the A parts of that dance.

I’ve been on the lookout for an opportunity to get Gents in on the Rory O’Moore “super twirl across the set” fun – this one delivers it. The wave balance and Rory twirl here atypically cross the B1→B2 phrase boundary but will work out fine.

A1
(8) Star Left 1x
(8) This Neighbor Allemande Left 1+1/4x (and Lady tuck in behind N Gent to end facing CW around current group/4)

A2
(6,2) Single file Promenade CW 3/4x (to Gent’s home side with P), Ladies turn back over Right Shoulder
(8) Partner Swing

B1
(8) Long Lines Forward & Back
(4,4) Pass The Ocean, Short Wave Balance Right & Left

B2
(4) Slide/Twirl Right (Gents Super Twirl across to N)
(12) Neighbor Swing (and look away to new…)

End effects: None, couples cross over.
Tune suggestions: Bouncy jigs, French Canadian tunes.
Video:
See also: Pony Fun, Super Robin

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Dance No Evil – Becket – Don Veino 20170710

Type: Contra Dance, Becket CW/Left Formation
Status: Proven

Another in a series of my “not evil” Star 3/4 explorations.
See Shining Sparkle for my original Star 3/4 composition and motivation.

This dance counts on the “New England Style” Promenade and Star holds for best flow. This dance is best considered with an intermediate crowd or higher.

A1
Long Lines Forward & Back
Gents Cross (passing left), Neighbor Allemande Left 1x
Keeping left hands, Gents continue pivoting behind Lady to take right hands in Promenade position (adjust left hand hold as required – end facing CCW around oval)
[Following the LLF&B one could substitute a Gents Allemande Left 1+1/2 but I prefer the above]

A2
(6,2) Neighbor Promenade CCW, Ladies Turn Back (over right shoulder) WHILE Gents continue forward
(8) Next Neighbor Swing

B1
Neighbor Promenade CW (back to opposite P)
Star Right 3/4x (Lady in front of N, to Shadow) [see teaching note]
Shadow Allemande Left 1x

B2
Partner Gypsy & Swing

Teaching notes:

  • At starting LLF&B, you have your Partner in one hand and Shadow in your other (at ends they’re across from you). Looking past your Shadow at this point, you are facing the same direction (up or down the hall) as you will begin the Promenade in the A2 and you’ll find them in the B1.
  • For the B1 Star, do not turn as a couple to face across out of the Promenade – Ladies lead entry into the Star, placing RH on Partner’s wrist – Gents stay behind and put RH on this N’s wrist – rotate Star 3/4x to Shadow.

End effects: Ends enter via the A2 Promenade with your Partner. You’re never out, Shadow needs you.
Tune suggestions: Sultry, romantic
Video:
See also: Shining Sparkle and Trip Through Athol.

First called by me at the Concord Scout House Monday Contras series 7/24/2017.

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Trip Through Athol – Becket – Don Veino 20170609

Type: Contra Dance, Becket CW/Left Formation
Status: Proven

US Route 2 is a significant road connecting contra dances in the eastern and western parts of Massachusetts (in particular at the Concord Scout House and Guiding Star Grange in Greenfield). To go from one to the other on Route 2 you pass through the town of Athol. Enunciate this dance title carefully! 🙂

Writtten in response to a calling colleague’s declaration that a Star 3/4 was “Evil, Don. Super evil.” See below links for other “not evil” Star 3/4 compositions.

A1
Circle Left 3/4x
Neighbor Swing

A2
(4,4) Ring Balance, Petronella Slide/Twirl 1pl Right (no clap)
(6) Star Left 3/4x
(2) Next Neighbor Allemande Right 1/2x (to long waves, G face in)

B1
(4,4) Wave Balance (fwd/back), Gents Cross, Ladies Loop (ends RH w/P, on away side)
(4,4) Wave Balance, Ladies Cross, Gents Loop (RH w/N, L @home)

B2
(4,4) Wave Balance, Gents Cross, Ladies Loop
(8) Partner Swing

End effects: Ends wait out crosssed over, enter via the A2 Allemande 1/2.
Tune suggestions: Atholl Highlander (contra 32 bar length version), Bouncy Jigs
Video: coming soon
See also: Shining Sparkle and Dance No Evil

First called by me at the Concord Scout House Monday Contras series 7/24/2017.

Interesting tidbit: there’s a song from another era which plays on these unique MA signs and towns with person names – some versions mention Athol in the lyrics.

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Shining Sparkle – DI – Don Veino 20170609

Type: Contra Dance, Duple Improper
Status: Proven
Alternate Title: During testing this was temporarily known as “The 75% Solution” and “Stellar Redemption.”

While discussing a caller’s draft dance with colleagues, one persisted that a Star 3/4 was always “Evil, Don. Super evil.” I disagreed, asserting they do need a clear, defined end but were not necessarily evil. Having a dislike of absolutes, I worked up two response/proof of concept dances using a Star 3/4 – this one and Trip Through Athol. (Dance No Evil has now come since.)

The dance is named after one of our daughter’s stuffed “friends” (Shining Sparkle, who is a very magical unicorn) and I thought it fit well for a “not evil” Star. It can reward timely dancing with a satisfying *thwack* connection arising from the B part Star-Allemande to Wave sequence.

A1
Neighbor Balance & Swing

A2
Circle Left 3/4x
Partner Swing

B1
(8) LLFB
(6) Star Right 3/4x
(2) This Neighbor Allemande Right 1/2x (to long waves, G face in)

B2
Long Wave Balance Right & Left, Slide/Twirl Right
Long Wave Balance Left & Right, Slide/Twirl Left (to new N)

End effects: Probably less confusing if ends don’t participate in long waves and just wait for their Neighbor to come to them out of the B2.
Tune suggestions: Bouncy Jigs
Video:
See also: Trip Through Athol and Dance No Evil

First called by me at the East Sandwich, MA Grange on 6/17/2017.

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Trip to Santa Fe – Circle Mixer – Don Veino 20170622

Type: Circle Mixer
Status: Proven

During a trip to New Mexico for other reasons I arranged to be booked for the Santa Fe FolkMADS Contra Dance. Shortly before the event I was informed that a group of 20+ international students who’d never done contra were planning on attending (turned out to be ~60% of the attendees at the start). In planning my program I realized the existing mixers in my deck were either too risky for those folks or too simple for the regulars. I wanted something that would build on the sequence of moves introduced in my teaching plan (which factored in language challenge) so I came up with the following. It worked out well with that group.

A1
Into the Center and Back
Circle Left

A2
Circle Right
Partner Dosido (and turn away from P)
[so Gents look CW, Ladies CCW]

B1
Neighbor Balance and Swing

B2
(new) Partner Promenade

First called by me at the FolkMADS Contra Dance in Santa Fe, NM on 6/24/2017. They created a nice flyer for the event (featuring our respective state birds!), which I’ve included below. Hope to get back together with them sometime!

Santa Fe Contra 6/24/17 Flyer

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House of Love – DI – Don Veino 20170529

Type: Contra, Duple Improper
Status: Proven

This is a re-imagining of my dance Soft Gummy Tummies to provide everyone partner and neighbor swings plus allow for greater tune flexibility. Note the A-parts marching direction is reversed here vs. SGT in order to ease the A2 swing entry. An alternate approach is to have the marching start CW and continue CW all the way around the 4 sides of the box back to the start – but I prefer it as written below.

The title for this dance was supplied by our 5 year old daughter Raeden and she made this illustration to go along with it (I’m the tall guy on the right pushing the swing):House of Love drawing

A1
(Facing CCW around your hands/4 – think of the hands/4 as a box with the dancers at the corners)
(4,4) March 4 steps & turn 90 deg. left, march 4 steps more & turn to face center
[have walked around 2 sides to opposite the starting spot, facing back at original spot]
(4,4) Take 4 steps to center, loop/turn single over right shoulder to face CW back at this corner spot

A2
(Facing CW around your hands/4)
(4,4) March 4 steps & turn 90 deg. right, march 4 steps more & Ladies turn back over right shoulder
[have walked around same 2 sides back to starting corner spot]
(8) Neighbor Swing

B1
Give & Take to Gents, Partner Swing
[Alternate tune fit: Ring Balance, Gents draw Partner back to Swing]

B2
(4,4) Ring Balance, Petronella Twirl/Slide Right
(4,4) Ring Balance, Pass Through Up/Down

Tune: Softly Good Tummas still works. For others suggest bouncy/march tunes, e.g.: Keith Murphy’s Reign of Love, The Wren, Burning of the Piper’s Hut, etc.
Video: First test at the Berlin, MA Country Orchestra dance 6/3/2017

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Dark Side of the Moon – DI – Don Veino 20170526

Type: Contra, Duple Improper
Status: Proven

In the Contra Dancers Facebook group Emma Rushton posted to ask if anyone had or was planning to write a contra themed for the August 21, 2017 total eclipse of the sun. I originally offered my recent dance Oh, Yeah! as a possible theme fit. A couple of days later the idea for this sequence arose, which riffs off that dance but now includes a shadow figure plus orbiting in various forms for theme fit. 🙂

Could also be called as a Becket CW dance, starting at the B2.

The title is a nod to the classic Pink Floyd album containing their tune Eclipse, which ends:

and everything under the sun is in tune
but the sun is eclipsed by the moon.

A1
Neighbor Gypsy & Swing [ALT: Dosido & Swing]

A2
Long Lines Forward & Back
Gents Gypsy Left 1x in center
     WHILE
Ladies Orbit CW 1/2x, pass Partner by right shoulder

B1
Gypsy Left with Shadow (back to)
Partner Swing

B2
(6) Circle Left 3/4x
(8) Couple Dosido Current Neighbors 1x
(2) Pass Through to next

Looking across at your Partner in your original hands four, Shadow will be on your right diagonal.

End effects: Don’t cross over until after your Shadow move. If you swing your Partner out of the Shadow Gypsy, you’ll end up naturally crossed over at the ends.
Tune suggestions: Note tune choice will affect A1 move selection.
Video: First trial run.
See also: Oh, Yeah!

First called by me at the Greenfield, MA Guiding Star Grange on 8/18/2017 with music by Annika Amstutz (fiddle), Daniel Plane (cello) and Becky Hollingsworth (piano). As I was explaining the provenance of the dance to the hall, Daniel slipped in a fun snippet of Pink Floyd (from the correct album) on cello which had us cracking up!

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Super Robin – DI – Don Veino 20170523

Type: Contra Dance, Duple Improper
Status: Proven

Dedicated to Robin Humes – family friend and super volunteer in service of the Concord Scout House area contra community. It’s only fitting this dance include a Mad Robin (besides the obvious eponymous link), because Bob Isaacs’ dance Redbeard Reel (commissioned by Robin for her husband – John Wasser) features one as well.

When mentioning the title, I think it’s fun to give it proper super hero intonation: “SUP-er Robin!” 🙂

A1
Neighbor Gypsy (or Balance) & Swing

A2
Mad Robin CW 1+1/4 (Gents start Forward & Right, to Wave Across, G by LH in center)
Short Wave Balance Right & Left, Twirl/Slide Right (Ladies Super Twirl across)

B1
Partner (Balance &) Swing

B2
Circle Left 3/4 to Wave (L by LH in center, facing progression)
Wave Balance Fwd/Back, Dance Fwd to next

End effects: Wait out crossed over
Tune suggestions: Note tune choice will affect A1 and B1 move selection. Dancers seem to enjoy twirling straight into the B1 Partner Swing.
Video: N/A
See also: N/A

First called by Linda Leslie at the Guiding Star Grange Extravadance on 5/27/2017.

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Bang a U-Ey! [V2] – DI – Don Veino 20140321

Type: Contra Dance, Duple Improper
Status: Proven but revised 20170528

I wanted to create an improper dance which provided the opportunity for cross-set play so often available in proper contras. Originally the A1 action was for the ones and then twos (allemande and turn single), the May 2017 version 2 changed that to Gents and then Ladies (allemande and walk around N). Dancers still have an opportunity for same role cross-set allemandes, while the opposite role is doing their primary allemande in the A1 – but this requires timely execution!

When I was growing up in Eastern Massachusetts, if you were giving directions and wanted someone driving to make a U-Turn, you’d say “bang a U-Ey” – the title here refers to the several instances of U-Turn action in this dance.

A1
Gents Allemande Right 1x and walk around the new Neighbor by the Left Shoulder to face in
Ladies Allemande Left 1x and walk around their Neighbor by the Right Shoulder to face in
[all end back in their original spots]

A2
Star Right 3/4x (until with P on Ladies’ home side)
Gents Turn Back (over right shoulder), Partner Swing

B1
Gents Cross to Neighbor (passing Lefts), Swing

B2
Right Hand to Partner (across set)
Interrupted Square Through 2, 2x (Balance, Partner Pull by RH across, Neighbor LH along set, repeat)
[Gents look to next and…]

End effects: Wait out crossed over
Tune suggestions: N/A
Video: N/A
See also: Hey, Bang a U-Ey! (not yet posted)

First called by me in 2014, revised 5/28/2017 – revision not yet called.

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The Mighty Mommy Mole – Proper Triplet – Don Veino 20160327

Type: Proper Triplet
Status: Proven

This is my first Triplet dance. I was inspired to come up with this after seeing Bob Isaacs’ dance Cinnamon Cruller on the SharedWeight Caller’s List. I love the transition from the star into the big circle in the traditional dance British Sorrow and strove for a similar feel in the B2 of this dance. This dance is unusual in having the Twos be the active couple.

A1
(16) 2s Full Figure 8, starting below through the 3s
[2s down center around opposite role 3s below, then up center around same role 1s (back to place)]

A2
(16) 2s turn Contra Corners (w/opposite role Corners)

B1
(4,12) 2s Balance & Swing in center/middle, end facing up (1s face down)
[1s & 2s Form Ring, 3s Take Hands with Partner]

B2
(4,4) All Balance, Two-Hand Turn Left 1/2 or Circle Left 1/2 (becoming improper)
[1s below 2s, all open out to…]
(8) All Circle/6 Left 1/2 (all back to proper
[ending 3-1-2]

First called by me at Berlin, MA Contra dance 20160402

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Oh, Yeah! – DI – Don Veino 20170428

Type: Contra, Duple Improper
Status: DRAFT

Alternative Title: When I’m Sixty Four
as in (sung to the refrain of the Beatles tune of the same name):

Am I too dizzy?
Will you still dance me?
When I’m sixty four?

More Mad Robin sequence investigation. In this dance I revisit a theme from my prior “Cricket’s Reboot” dance inspired by Kent Koeninger’s “Cricket’s Delight” – in this case the rest of the dance resolves differently (and – I think – with more elegance).

Some callers would disqualify this dance based on a CW beat count using the simplistic “40 CW beats” filter for potential dizziness. I’ve investigated the “dizziness power” of CW moves and my contention is that certain moves with fixed facing direction have effectively zero dizziness impact (e.g. Mad Robin) and others are perceived in proportion to the radius of the move and the degree to which dancers face along the radius (Swings = most dizzy). This dance is an experimental proof of concept to test my theory – chock full of CW goodness! I welcome you to give this ostensibly dizzy (56 to up to 64 CW beat count) dance a trial and prove to yourself it’s not “Too Dizzy”.

Can also be called as a Becket CW dance, starting at the B2. Several B2 alternatives included below for anticipated live testing.

The title is a nod to the classic Mello Yello song and I encourage you to say it the same way. 🙂

A1
Neighbor Gypsy & Swing [ALT: Dosido & Swing]

A2
Mad Robin 1x (Gents L->R through Center first, facing P across)
Gents Gypsy Left 1x
     WHILE
Ladies Orbit CW 1/2x

B1
Partner Gypsy & Swing

B2 (preferred, but will timing work?)
(6) Circle Left 3/4x
(2) Half Zig Left (forward & left 2 steps, to pass current N Couple by Right Shoulders)
(6) Next Couple Dosido 3/4x (to face this second couple)

B2 Alternative 1 (preserves CW motion theme but I like the feel less; easier end effects?)
(6) Circle Left 3/4x
(8) Current Neighbors Couple Dosido 1x
(2) Pass Through to next

B2 Alternative 2 (good feel if Roll well done; doesn’t fit CW theme as well)
LLF & Ladies Roll Gents L->R on way back
Star Left 3/4x

B2 Alternative 3 (double progression; doesn’t fit CW theme as well)
(6) Circle Left 3/4x
(4,4) Couple Zig-Zag, to left around current Neighbors, to right around 2nd, to face 3rd couple

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The Love Pirate – Becket Right/CCW – Don Veino 20170331

Type: Contra Dance, Duple Becket Counter-Clockwise
Status: Public, Proven

This is a spin-off of my dance Ladies, Whirled.

The ends must participate in the big oval promenade and interleave between the two neighbor-partner dyads coming out of the endmost star to enable the progression (not jump ahead of or wait behind). Timing is leisurely/smooth in the A1 – encourage dancers to relax into and enjoy the refined pace. A minor key marchy tune is a great fit with the dance.

Will Mentor called Ladies, Whirled at the Rehoboth, MA Challenging Dance on 3/31/2017, where I got a chance to dance it. Discoveries there led to a B1 tweak as shown below to adjust & make things that much simpler. Had to find another suitable name – given the “Whirl” was no longer part of this dance. 🙂

A1
(8) Hole in the Wall*
(8) Left Hand Star 1x**
(Gent is looking at N Lady’s back across set, they keep walking forward and to the left to…)

A2
(6,2) Neighbor Promenade CCW around the set, Ladies Turn Back (over right shoulder) as Gents continue forward to
(8) Next Neighbor Swing

B1
(8) Promenade back to across from Partner
(8) Ladies Allemande Right 1+1/2

B2
(4,12) Partner Balance (or Gypsy) & Swing

*Hole in the Wall: Borrowed from an English Country Dance move, you walk forward 3 steps to face N across, Gypsy Right 1/2x to swap places with the Neighbor and back out 3 steps. It’s very similar to a hands-free Long Lines Forward & Back (with the same cadence) – except you change places/facing direction with your Neighbor in the middle. For contra dancers, I call this with something like “Forward, Neighbor Swap, Fall Back” – I avoid using Hole in the Wall to limit the terms in play.

**Will teaches this as a Star 1+1/4 so the first couple of steps of the A2 Promenade automatically happen and the Neighbors are on the side facing their CCW oval direction

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Hey, Aren’t You With Me? – Becket – Don Veino 20170416

Type: Contra Dance, Becket Left/CW Formation
Status: DRAFT

Another dance playing with Mad Robin transitions (see similar posts). In a way this is a return to one of my earliest dances (Raeden’s Curls), which used a Mad Robin 1+1/4 – Slide – Gents Pass & P Swing sequence. Here the extended motion Mad Robin sets up parallel full Heys where the partners diverge & travel separately (with a Shadow) to subsequently reconnect.

NOTE: this dance can also be danced without the parallel Heys, if the A2 Mad Robin is 1+1/4x around instead. In this case, the Partners will dance together (without Shadows) for the full Hey but they may come back together a beat or two before the B2 phrase – such that having the Ladies do a Bounce Back to let the Gents pass right to start the Hey may be more appropriate for timing.

A1
Slide Left, Single File Promenade CW 3 places, Ladies Turn Back (or, of course, Circle Left 3/4x on diagonal)
Neighbor Swing

A2
Ladies Chain (to P)
Mad Robin 1+1/2x (looking across at a Neighbor) until Partners slide into separate adjacent columns, all facing center
[Gents slide right on the outside, Ladies slide left and are facing in middle. Shadow is the opposite role person closest to you in this column, MR Neighbor is the furthest.]

B1
Full Hey, Ladies Pass Right to start

B2
[look to adjacent Hey]
Partner Balance & Swing

End effects: To be confirmed – should be somewhat funky but workable. When ejected from the Mad Robin, dancers can either do the Full Hey with a Neighbor and the couple waiting out (which should include at least one shadow), or Hey with ghosts (if nobody’s there), or simply wait for their partner to return from their own Hey. When really out, wait on the left side and enter via the A1 Slide Left.

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(Like) Juggling Chainsaws – DI – Don Veino 20170406

Type: Contra, Duple Improper
Status: DRAFT

For this dance the Chain to See Saw[1] progression idea (the “experimental” part) came first. Then the title[2], which implied there must be more than a single Chain/Saw, which drove the rest of the composition. To minimize dizziness risk, one can omit twirling in their See Saw, if desired.

This is most likely an Intermediate to Advanced level dance, given the lack of easy recovery points (like Long Lines) while containing quite a bit of disconnected motion.

UPDATE 20171005:

Since my original posting of this dance, I’d put it aside wanting to come back and refine it (I do this when I’m too engrossed in a particular sequence as a way to reset my brain and find “grace” or “simplicity” in the sequence later). Shortly thereafter a solution offered itself – which I’ve only just now transcribed from my notebook. The post has been updated to show my revised solution – I’ve left the original “experimental” draft at the end of this post so one may see the evolution (if interested).

A1
Neighbor Balance & Swing

A2
(8) Gents LH Chain (to P)
(8) Gents See Saw 1+1/2x (or See Saw 1x and pass Lefts across)
WHILE
Ladies Orbit CW 1/2x (Pass RT shoulder w/next Lady)

B1
Partner Balance & Swing

B2
Ladies RH Chain, ending Courtesy Turn facing N (up/down, reverse of progression), keep left hands w/N
(pull into) See Saw 1x with THIS Neighbor, end facing NEXT Neighbor

End effects: Wait out crossed over for N to come to you out of B2 See Saw.

Notes:

[1] See Saw = Left Shoulder/CCW orbiting Dosido

[2] Original title ideas included “Concord Chainsaw Massacre” which I thought was pretty catchy/fun for horror movie fans (playing off the Texas named classic) but potentially off-putting to others. The new title still fits in the Chain & See-Saw play on words while hopefully being less discomforting. 🙂

See Also: There’s a series of dances featuring this Chain/See-saw concept and the Roll Away to Partner Shoulder Pass used in my Strolling & Rolling and Lobster Roll dances, which should be posted shortly.

ORIGINAL EXPERIMENTAL DRAFT:

If the timing turns out as I expect, the Orbit and Gent’s chain to Courtesy Turn transition should be a wonderful pairing of clockwork action and delicious momentum. Or an utter disaster. 🙂

A1
Neighbor Balance & Swing

A2
(8) Gents See Saw[1] 1x WHILE Ladies Orbit CW 1/2x (Pass RT shoulder w/next Lady)
(8) Gents LH Chain (to N)

B1
Gents Cross, Passing Lefts
Partner Swing

B2
Ladies RH Chain with partial CT to end facing CCW around oval, Ladies go forward along the side while Gents turn over their LT Shoulder
See Saw Next Neighbor

End effects: Wait out crossed over, ready to come in for the B2 See Saw.

Notes:

Of course, there are prior dances using a Ladies Chain to progress and Dosido as a linking move, either as the last of B2 or first of A1. I’ve not yet encountered a Chain to See Saw combination as used here – there may be good reason for that.

Should the original B2 above not work out well when danced, there’s a similar alternative which should:
B2
Ladies Pull by Right, Neighbor Allemande Left 1/2
(to face progression – Ladies CCW, Gents CW around oval)
Walk Forward and Dosido next Neighbor

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Soft Gummy Tummies – DI – Don Veino 20170415

Type: Contra (or ECD), Duple Improper (or Gender Role Free)
Status: Proven

The inspiration for this dance came from Jeff Kaufman on Facebook. He related a story where his band The Free Raisins were asked to play the English Country Dance (ECD) tune “Softly Good Tummas” at a contra dance and that got him to think about adapting the associated ECD to a contra format. We had some discussion on that FB thread and he posted his Becket formation dance.

This discussion forced the tune to become an ear worm for me and I was compelled to take my own shot at composing a very simple dance to match the tune – one that could be used for a very beginner heavy dance venue. I put mine nominally in Duple Improper formation (but it arguably also works as a gender-role-free dance – so long as you’re careful to end in correct spots/facing direction with your P). As Jeff did, I lifted the A parts pretty much intact from the ECD.

A1
(Facing CW around your hands/4 – think of the hands/4 as a box with the dancers at the corners)
(4,4) March 4 steps & turn 90 deg. right, march 4 steps more & turn to face center
[have walked around 2 sides to opposite the starting spot, facing back at original spot]
(4,4) Take 4 steps to center, loop/turn single over left shoulder to face CCW back at this corner spot, clap
(for a simpler version, substitute a double ring balance for the into the middle and turn singles)

A2
(Facing CCW around your hands/4)
(4,4) March 4 steps & turn 90 deg. left, march 4 steps more & turn to face center
[have walked around same 2 sides back to starting corner spot]
(4,4) Take 4 steps to center, loop/turn single over your inside shoulder (wink at your Partner) to face your Neighbor on the side, clap
(for a simpler version, substitute a double ring balance for the into the middle and turn singles)

B1
Neighbor Balance & Swing

B2
(4,12) Ring Balance, 1s Swing & all face new group/4

B2 Alternatives:

  1. 1s Balance & Swing
  2. 1s Gypsy & Swing
  3. 1s Half Figure 8 up and around opposite N to Swing P below
  4. Circle Left 1x, 1s Swing
  5. 2s take the place of the 1s for any of the above/mirror moves
  6. Alternating action for 1s then 2s

Tune: Softly Good Tummas (see the original ECD with the tune)

First called by Linda Leslie at the LCFD Spring Dance Camp in Woodstock, CT – May 5-7, 2017

Fun fact: The title is obviously a play on Softly Good Tummas, but was inspired by a yummy candy from Trader Joe’s…
Gummy Tummy Penguins!

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Spring Fling – Becket – Don Veino 20170404

Type: Contra, Becket Left/CW
Status: Proven

A relatively simple/straightforward composition containing two uncommon points: a Mad Robin figure (easy, once taught – and which I feel flows wonderfully into a chain) and a Courtesy Fling*. Dancers often rush a Mad Robin which should work works well in this dance (I hope!) to provide a little bit of extra time for the Courtesy Fling. Significant Partner focus and Shadow anchor point in the wave should help make this suitable for a less than experienced crowd.

Composed while I was thinking about dances to call for the crowded Festival Orchestra session (in the HS Gym right after the Saturday Medley) at the 2017 New England Folk Festival. Melanie Axel-Lute called this during our shared session.

A1
Slide Left, Ladies Pass Right shoulders to cross
Neighbor Swing
Alternative:
On left diagonal, Circle Left 3/4x
Neighbor Swing

A2
(~6) Mad Robin (CCW/Ladies through the center Rt->Lt to start)
(~10) Ladies Chain (to P) with Courtesy Fling* (ending in long waves, Ladies facing out & Gents in)
[LH with P and RH with Shadow in wave]

B1
Rory O’Moore Wave Balance Right & Left, Slide/Twirl Right
Rory O’Moore Wave Balance Left & Right, Slide/Twirl Left

B2
Partner Balance & Swing

End Effects: When in the last place still in the dance, you’ll do the wave balance sequence with ghosts if nobody is out. When waiting out, do the waves with whomever comes at you and then wait on the left diagonal for the circle start.

*The Courtesy Fling is a conventional Courtesy Turn with the motion for the Ladies extended in an arc around the still connected left hands to end facing the opposite of the Gents. In this dance it results in a long wave.

Video: 2017 New England Folk Festival – Melanie Axel-Lute calling, with music by the Festival Orchestra.

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The Whole Slice – Becket – Don Veino 20170401

Type: Contra, Becket CW/Left
Status: Proven

I was reviewing candidate dances for the 2017 New England Folk Festival, and this dance literally wrote itself. It came to me in a straight stream of consciousness, in a little under a minute. Despite the date, that’s not an April Fool’s joke – don’t you wish they all came that easily? 🙂

This is one of a series of dances I’ve written featuring a Hole in the Wall* move taken from English Country Dance. Like Mad Robin, this is not a literal lift of the move here but rather a modification for contra dance use. For other compositions with a similar move, see my The Love Pirate & Ladies, Whirled, Linda’s Gifts, Give the Gents a Whirl and Another Gent-le Whirl dances.

Emphasize with the dancers that the Hole in the Wall bit takes a full 8 beats or it’s likely they’ll rush it (by design, the circle and swing can absorb that). One way to do this would be to tell them it’s effectively a hands-free Long Lines Forward & Back – except you swap facing direction with your Neighbor halfway through. Having a partner target for the left diagonal chain helps anchor dancers.

A1
(4,4) Slice Forward on left diagonal, Fall Straight Back
(8!) Hole in the Wall* (with N straight across – “Go Forward, Neighbor Swap, Fall Back”), look away from Partner

A2
(6) Circle Left 3/4 (w/same N & your shadow)
(10) Neighbor Swing

B1
(8) Left Diagonal Ladies Chain (to P)
(8) Half Hey Ladies Pass Right (straight across)

B2
(4,12) Partner Balance & Swing

End effects: When ejected for the circle, swing your neighbor on the left diagonal and be ready for the Ladies Chain. Wait out with your Partner on left diagonal to enter via the slice.

*Hole in the Wall: Borrowed from an English Country Dance move, you walk forward 3 steps to face N across, Gypsy Right 1/2x to swap places with the Neighbor and back out 3 steps. It’s very similar to a hands-free Long Lines Forward & Back (with the same cadence) – except you change places/facing direction with your Neighbor in the middle. For contra dancers, I call this with something like “Forward, Neighbor Swap, Fall Back” – I avoid using Hole in the Wall to limit the terms in play.

First called by me at the Monday Contras series at the Concord, MA Scout House on 6/5/17.

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Ladies, Whirled [V2] – Becket Right/CCW – Don Veino 20160716

Type: Contra Dance, Duple Becket Counter-Clockwise
Status: Public, Proven but REVISED since (3/31/2017) and likely to be significantly revised once more. See my dance The Love Pirate for my recommended current variation.

This dance is a further refinement of an idea I’d first developed in my dance Give the Gents a Whirl. First called from (a reconstructed) memory at the Rutland, MA contra dance in Summer 2016, I polished it a bit more and called it successfully at the Monday Contras dance at the Concord Scout House on 2/13/2017.

The ends must participate in the big oval promenade and interleave between the two neighbor-partner dyads coming out of the endmost star to enable the progression (not jump ahead of or wait behind). Timing is leisurely/smooth in the A1 – encourage dancers to relax into and enjoy the refined pace.

Will Mentor called this at the Rehoboth, MA Challenging Dance on 3/31/2017 where I got a chance to dance it. We discovered dancers completed the promenade back much quicker than expected, so I’ve revised the B1 to adjust for that experience. See The Love Pirate for an alternative fix and The Whole Slice for a different take on the same opening move.

A1
(8) Hole in the Wall*
(8) LHS 1x
(Gent is looking at N Lady’s back across set, they keep walking forward and to the left to…)

A2
(6,2) Promenade N CCW around the set, Ladies Turn Back (over right shoulder)
(8) Next N Swing

B1
(4,4) Promenade back to across from P, Courtesy Turn 3/4 [L fwd, G back up] to face across
(8) Ladies Allemande Right 1+1/2

B2
(4,12) Partner Balance & Swing

Version 1 was:
B1
Promenade back to across from P (8)
Courtesy Turn 3/4 [L fwd, G back up] to face across (6), Ladies Pass Right to cross (2)

*Hole in the Wall: Borrowed from an English Dance move, you walk forward 3 steps to face N across, Gypsy Right 1/2x to swap places with the Neighbor and back out 3 steps.

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Holy Cannoli! – DI – Don Veino 20160415

Type: Contra, Duple Improper
Status: Proven

I wrote this dance on the way home from the 2016 New England Folk Festival’s Friday session, after indulging in some delicious cannoli in the food hall.

Suggest dancers take hands in Long Lines to stretch out up & down and then reform their hands/4 to ensure there’s enough space for the A2 action.

First called by Linda Leslie at the Monday Contras series at the Concord Scout House on 4/25/2016.

A1
(4,12) Neighbor Balance & Swing

A2
(6) Circle Left 3/4 (to face up/down, looking at your P – on Gents’ home side)
(10) Mad Robin 1+1/2 (moving – instead of looking – across set, Gents going Left to Right through center first)
[so this is at a right angle to what most people think a Mad Robin orientation is typically]

B1
(16) Partner Gypsy & Swing (on Ladies’ home side)

B2
(8) Ladies Chain
(8) Half Hey, L Pass Right to start (and look towards progression…)

See also my Madly in Love dance for a similarly rotated Mad Robin across the set.

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Sage Thoughts – 4 Face 4 – Don Veino 20170315

Type: 4 Facing 4
Status: Proven, reviewing B1 timing

This dance’s feature sequence is all in the Bs. My wife, Sage, really liked the feel of the Butterfly Whirl in my dance Give the Gents a Whirl (where Ladies whirl the Gents) so I tried fitting that feel into this otherwise very straightforward dance. I believe the sequence feels more conventional here than in my other, such that it should be very accessible to a beginner/intermediate audience.

As of posting, I’ve called this a couple of times with a minor tweak in between to B1 (now as shown here). It has been received well, and two couples the last time reported they found a Butterfly Whirl 2x in the B1 fit perfectly to make the Promenade end right on the phrase. I need to check that out the next time it’s called (and I’d love to get a chance to dance/feel it myself).

Should you give this one a try, please comment back on how it worked and what the B1 timing actually worked out as for you.

A1
(8) Long Lines Forward & Back
(8) Gents Allemande Left 1+1/2x

A2
(4,12) Neighbor Balance & Swing

B1
(~3) Ladies Allemande Right 1/2x, pick up Partner
(Lady put her arm over the Gent’s to position best for B2)
(~7) Star Promenade 1/2x, Butterfly Whirl – if time (some dancers report 2x works!)
(keep Star/Butterfly hold w/Partner, face clockwise around oval)
(~6) Partner Promenade the Oval/8 CW 1/2x

B2
(16) Partner Swing, end facing progression

Flipped role/motion variation:

A1
(8) Long Lines Forward & Back
(8) Ladies Allemande Right 1+1/2x

A2
(8,8) Neighbor Gypsy & Swing

B1
(~3) Gents Allemande Left 1/2x, pick up Partner
(~7) Star Promenade 1/2x, Butterfly Whirl – if time
(keep Star/Butterfly hold w/Partner, face counter clockwise around oval)
(~6) Partner Promenade the Oval/8 CCW 1/2x

B2
(4,12) Partner Balance & Swing, end facing progression

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Traditions With Benefits [V3] – 4 Face 4 – Don Veino 20151004

Type: 4 Facing 4
Status: Proven but REVISED since

My experiment with adopting the signature move of Dan Pearl’s contra Beneficial Tradition (flowing from Cor Hogendijk’s English dance Pat’s Tradition) into a 4 Face 4 format. Note this dance never changes to “square” formation, staying in lines/4 throughout. The dance incorporates two hands-free star right sequences, which I dub here a “Roundabout” (the name suggested by my wife, Sage).

Most likely to be considered an “advanced” dance. 🙂

A1
(8) GENTS ROUNDABOUT 3/4 (Star Right 3/4 w/no hands, eye contact with diagonal Gent – leisurely timing)
(8) NEIGHBOR SWING (in Lady’s spot, END facing up/down to maintain 4-Face-4 formation)

A2
(8) LADIES ROUNDABOUT 3/4 (Star Right 3/4 w/no hands, eye contact with diagonal Lady – leisurely timing)
[Gents face to their right along short line (across hall), wait for Partner]
(4,4) PARTNER Two Hand BALANCE, INSIDE hand TWIRL TO SWAP* (along short lines), FACE UP/DOWN
[Partners should drop hands as soon as they complete the Twirl to Swap so Ladies have free right hand for B1]

B1
(4,4) OPPOSITE Role pull by RIGHT STRAIGHT UP/DOWN, SAME Role pull by LEFT on slight left DIAGONAL
[If no one on left, do nothing]
(4,4) OPPOSITE Role pull by RIGHT STRAIGHT UP/DOWN, SAME Role pull by LEFT on slight left DIAGONAL
[If no one on left, do nothing. Every other cycle of the dance, this opposite role person will be your Partner.]
#PROGRESSION

B2
(4,12) PARTNER BALANCE & SWING (end facing direction of progression)

Notes:
*A2 Twirl to Swap is effectively a reversed Star Through.

In B1, it can be very helpful to have the dancers momentarily maintain the hand connection from the former pull by as they then reach with the other hand for the next dancer.

Tune selection will probably be different than those used for Beneficial Tradition, as the “zipper” changes happen in a different part of the dance.

In my original draft V1 the A1 and B2 used Gents and Ladies Star Right 3/4, respectively, both revised to “Roundabouts.” Roundabout revisions not yet called publicly.

Revision history: Original V1 composed (dictated) while I was driving to & then tested at a calling party 20151004. V2 20160128 (Gents Roundabout) and V3 20170303 (both Roundabout).

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Tale of the Tricky Triple Timer – DI – Don Veino 20170218

Type: Contra, Duple Improper
Status: DRAFT, EXPERIMENTAL

I’m still playing with this one a bit.

This dance features two “deconstructed” chains – one for each role. Regular chains with Courtesy Turn would be functionally equivalent and may be used instead, but I wanted to provide an opportunity for eye play and also to avoid the need to free hands out of the Courtesy Turn for the subsequent Balance. For related themes, see also my Dirty Rotten Double Crosser and Double Crossed Again! dances.

A1
Neighbor RH Balance, Square Through 2 (pull by N right, P left)
Neighbor Swing (on away side)

A2
Ladies Pull by Right, Walk Around* Left/CCW Partner to all face in
[this is effectively a Ladies Chain with an eye contact Courtesy Turn – encourage Partner eye connection through the Walk Around]
Neighbor across RH Balance, Square Through 2 (N right, P left)

B1
Shadow Balance and Box the Gnat/Pull by back to P [or Shadow’s choice, e.g.: Allemande Right, Walk Around*, etc.]
Partner Swing (on Gent’s home side)

B2
Gents Pull by Left, Walk Around* Right/CW Neighbor to all face in
[this is effectively a Gent’s (LH) Chain with an eye contact Courtesy Turn – encourage Neighbor eye connection through the Walk Around]
Partner across RH Balance, Square Through 2 (P right, N left) to next N up/down

*Walk Around is also known as Gypsy.

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Madly in Love (with Mermaids) [V2] – DI – Don Veino 20160430

Type: Contra, Duple Improper
Status: Public, Proven

Dedicated to all those who’ve found their joy through our Concord Scout House Monday dance (we’ve hosted several weddings!). Another dance in my “Mermaid” series – which all feature a Diagonal Pass The Ocean progression (hence the parenthetical subtitle term above).

At hands four, have lines spread down to make space for the A2 cross set action. Can rotate to Becket formation, starting with the B2.

FYI, one must carefully address the A2 Mad Robin in the teaching/calling – too many dancers (and at least one caller) I’ve run into have a firm association with a MR happening in the facing across orientation and “fixing” the dance that way, blowing things up. I’ve been accentuating “FACING your Partner UP and DOWN” and have tried using Sliding Doors instead of MR language (“GENTS through the CENTER, Sliding Doors”) with success.

Second version added the A2 ring balance – dancers seemed to want to rush through the circle and MR, making B1 start early and awkwardly without it. First called at the Monday Contras series at the Concord Scout House on 5/30/2016. I’ve heard of at least one instance of it being called at a festival session so far.

A1
(16) Neighbor Gypsy & Swing
[I prefer B&S with a timely crowd]

A2
(4,6) Ring Balance, Circle Left 3/4 (to face Partner UP&DOWN)
(6) Mad Robin Sliding Doors 1x ACROSS set (CW – Gents through center first, left to right facing up & down)

B1
(4,12) Partner Balance & Swing (end facing left diagonal)

B2
(4,4) Left diagonal Pass the Ocean, Wave Balance
#PROGRESSION
[Teaching note: Look at Neighbor in this wave, Gents will cross set to start the dance again with this Lady]
(5,3) Partner Allemande Right 1+1/4~ (to G face in), Gents Cross to Neighbor (passing LEFT) and with THIS Neighbor…
[Passing left helps to diminish the bucksaw offset created by the diagonal wave – the A2 further fixes things up]

END EFFECTS: Wait out on the left diagonal to come in on the Pass the Ocean.

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Dirty Rotten Double Crosser [V2] – DI – Don Veino 20140723

Type: Contra, Duple Improper
Status: Public, Proven

My second double cross-trails dance, see also Double Crossed Again! Rewritten 6/15/15 to retain the main theme but make the timing more forgiving in light of feedback I’d received on Double Crossed Again!

Tune fit and difficulty can vary by selection of options for A2. The V2 dance with neighbor allemande A2 debuted successfully at the Thursday Contras NEFFA Caller Showcase at the Concord Scout House on July 9, 2015.

A1
(8) NEIGHBOR DOSIDO
(4,4) Right Hand NEIGHBOR BALANCE, CROSS TRAIL (Pass N by Right up/down, P by Left across)

A2 (See other options for tune/crowd fit, below)
(8,8) NEIGHBOR BALANCE, SWING

B1
(6) CIRCLE LEFT 3/4
(10) PARTNER SWING

B2
(8) LADIES CHAIN to N, Right Hand to P across
(4,4) Right Hand BALANCE PARTNER, CROSS TRAIL (Pass P by Right across, N by Left up/down) to next

Other A2 Options:
[Retaining more of the feel of my original version – but more fiddly for dancers/callers via non-shadow out of minor set action]
(2,6) PASS NEIGHBOR RIGHT, FORMER NEIGHBOR ALLEMANDE LEFT 1X
(8) NEIGHBOR SWING
*OR*
[Easiest timing]
(8,8) NEIGHBOR GYPSY, SWING

FYI, the original (deprecated) version of this dance was:

A1
(4,4) Ring Balance, Petronella Twirl
(4,4) Ring Balance, Cross Trail (Pass N by Right across, P by Left up/down)

A2
(8) Shadow Allemande Left (or dancer’s choice) back to
(8) P Swing

B1
(8) G Allemande Left 1+1/2 (to cross set)
(8) N Swing

B2
(8) Circle Left (1x)
(4,4) Ring Balance, Cross Trail (Pass P by Right across, N by Left up/down)
to next Ns for…

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Double Crossed Again! [V2] – DI – Don Veino 20140721

Type: Contra, Duple Improper
Status: Public, Proven

My first double Cross-Trails dance. Revised 6/15/15 per trial feedback from Lisa Greenleaf, to better meet dancer expectations (add balances pre-cross trails), ease timing and to allow for dropping calls sooner. Revised dance has been called several times to success. See also my Dirty Rotten Double-Crosser dance – which debuted first but was actually my second composition on this theme.

A1
(4,4) Right Hand BALANCE, CROSS-TRAIL (Pass current N (N1) Right up/down the set, Pass P Left across)
(8) N1 SWING (on away side)

A2
(8) LEFT DIAGONAL LADIES CHAIN (to Shadow)
(4) Right Hand to N2 (across set), BALANCE N2
(4) CROSS TRAIL (pass N2 by right across, pass Shadow by left up/down to face P)
#PROGRESSION

B1
(8,8) PARTNER GYPSY, SWING (on G’s home side, opposite N2)

B2
(8) LONG LINES FORWARD & BACK
(8) STAR RIGHT 3/4 and face progression to take Right Hand with THIS neighbor…

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Linda’s Gifts (of Time) – Longways Duple Proper in Waltz Time – Don Veino 20160818

Type: Longways Contra or English Dance, Duple Proper
Status: Public, Proven

Linda Leslie photo

Linda Leslie

In grateful recognition of Linda Leslie‘s investments of time in the folk dance community and in particular her consultation and mentoring given me as I hone my dance calling and composition.

A1
(6,6) First Corners Set to each other (small steps to the Right-2-3, Left-2-3), Hole in the Wall cross (forward 3 beats/steps, pass rights as pivot 1 step, fall back 2 steps into each other’s places)
(12) Second Corners, same thing

A2
(12) Partner Two-Hand Turn 1x
(12) Circle Left 1x

B1
(12) Ones Half Figure 8 up and around Twos to finish below
(12) Twos do similar below, to finish above

B2
(12) Partner Back to Back/Dosido
(6) Ring Balance with current Neighbors
(6) Cloverleaf Turn Single over outside shoulder to face new Neighbors

B2 Variation (To fit Northdown Waltz tune, December 2017)
(12) Partner Back to Back/Dosido
(12) Four Changes of Rights and Lefts to next

Working title was “Two Rivers”, written to go with the tune of the same name by Larry Unger – twice through the dance for one cycle of the tune. Turns out Linda isn’t fond of that approach as she feels the dance/music fit varies.

In consideration of Linda’s view, I had previously recommended Max Newman’s waltz Saari & Kristen off the Nor’easter CD. As of March 2018, I’ve now come full circle back to a common repertoire Larry Unger tune which I find to be a perfect fit to the original (non-variation) dance – Judy and Jim’s Wedding (YouTube).

See also: ¡Que Linda!

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(I’ll Take) What’s Behind Door #2 – DI – Don Veino 20160822

Type: Contra, Duple Improper
Status: Public, Proven

A1
Star Right
Neighbor Allemande Rt. 1+1/2

A2
Next Neighbors Star Left
Original (Allemande) Neighbor Swing

B1
Circle Left 3/4, Partner Swing
[alt. music fit: Give and Take to Gent’s Side, Swing]

B2 (Author preferred)
Ring/4 Balance, Slide/Twirl Right 1x
Neighbor Left Hand Balance, Pull By Up/Down (leisurely)

B2 (Easier alternate)
Ring/4 Balance, Slide/Twirl Right 1x
Ring/4 Balance, Pass Through Up/Down

Tune: Written to match with the tune Door County #2 by Larry Unger.

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Hey, Mary Cay! – Becket DP – Don Veino 20160723

Type: Contra, Becket Double Progression
Status: DRAFT

In the past I’d played with the idea of a butterfly whirl to a Ladies allemande in the center leading into a diagonal hey, but didn’t write a complete dance with that (and worry about the inertia involved = injuries). The seed of that motion idea germinated into this dance. Made out of whole cloth, it was only after the fact I realized it shared a similarity in the A1 to a reverse role Mary Cay’s Reel. Partner Hey start was chosen to try to make it more accessible to a wider audience.

A1
LLFB
Gents Allemande Left 3/4 (to transitory wave in center)
New Gents Allemande Right 1x (to face P on left diagonal)
[encourage Gents to use the last bit of arm connection to boost each other towards P]

A2
Left Diagonal Half Hey (pass P Left to start)
#PROGRESSION
Straight Across Ladies Allemande Right 1+1/2 (to N)

B1
N Balance & Swing

B2
Give & Take to Ladies’ side, P Swing

End Effects: (to be verified) Never really out. Wait out on left diagonal, Gent will enter first via the A1 Allemande Right, Lady via the A2 Half Hey.

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Slice AlleMANde – Becket – Don Veino 20160918

Type: Contra, Becket
Status: DRAFT

One of two takes on a similar theme – for a less zesty dance, see my Slicing the Waves.

A1
Slice Forward Left
Gents Allem Rt 3/4 *WHILE* Ladies Loop over their Left shoulder 3/4 to face CCW on the side
[All give P LH to form a wave]
Wave Balance Rt & Lt, Gents Rory Slide/Twirl Right to cross set to N

A2
Neighbor Balance & Swing

B1
Ladies Chain
Half Hey, Ladies Start by Right

B2
Partner Balance & Swing

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Slicing the Waves – Becket – Don Veino 20160918

Type: Contra, Becket
Status: DRAFT

One of two takes on a similar theme – for a zestier dance see my Slice AlleMANde.

A1
Slice Forward Left, to Gents form Wave in Center
Gents Wave Balance Right & Left *WHILE* Ladies Fall Straight Back
[or even better, Ladies Loop over their Left shoulder 3/4 to face CCW on the side]
Gents Allemande Right 3/4 to short Wave, P in LH, Wave Balance

A2
Gents Rory Slide/Twirl Right to cross set to N
Neighbor Swing

B1
Ladies Chain
Half Hey, Ladies Start by Right

B2
Partner Balance & Swing

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Charlie’s Free Flowing Elixir – DI – Don Veino 20160827

Type: Contra, Duple Improper
Status: Public, Proven

Updated 8/18/2017 (see below and comment).

Charlie Harvey wrote a nice dance, New Elixir, which I liked in concept and used several times but it had some flow issues which I’d had dancer comments on. I wanted to keep calling the dance but needed to address the problems, which included a need for Gents to cross their arms at one point while entering an Interrupted Square Through after a Swing. In looking at the issues I realized I could simply swap his B1 and B2 parts to retain the feel yet fix the flow, which resulted in this dance. It has since been rotated (as of 18 August 2017) to begin with the Interrupted Square Through vs. the Neighbor Balance and Swing (based on a report from Linda Leslie’s calling in Greenfield MA).

Note there’s also an alternate Becket Right/CCW version, starting at the B2.

A1
RH to N, Interrupted Square Thru 2 @ 2x (all within the current group of 4*) and with this N…

A2
Neighbor Balance and Swing

B1
Gents Allemande Left 1+1/2x, Partner Swing

B2
Ring/4 Balance and Petronella, Ring/4 Balance and Partner California Twirl
#PROGRESSION

(*RH to N up/down, Balance, Pull By N RH along, across Pull by P LH across, RH to N on side, repeat)

First called by me at the Cambridge, MA BIDA Contra Dance on 9/2/2016 with the Neighbor Balance and Swing as A1. The revised version has been called successfully now as well by myself and others.

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Reluctant Robin – Becket – Don Veino 20161103

Type: Contra, Duple Improper
Status: Public, Proven

I really like Mad Robins, just in case that isn’t obvious. I was wondering what else could be done with them, whether they could be used as a progression, facing direction changed, etc. This dance came out of some of that thinking.

First called at David Kaynor’s Friday Night Dance at the Greenfield, MA Grange on 11/14/2016.

A1
Gents Allemande Left 1+1/2
Half Hey, pass N by Right to start

A2
Neighbor Balance & Swing

B1
Mad Robin 1+1/2, Gents through Center 1st, Lt-Rt/CW
[ending in long waves with Gents Facing OUT, Ladies In (this N by RH), looking at P’s back]
Long Wave Balance Right, Left, Slide Right
#PROGRESSION

B2
Long Wave Balance F&B, Box Circulate (Gents Loop, Ladies Cross)
Partner Swing

End Effects: Wait out crossed over to join the second long wave in B2

Alternative A1, not yet tried…
L Chain to N
L Gypsy Rt 1x
Back to…

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Seasons 8 – 4 Face 4 – Don Veino 20161204

Type: 4 Facing 4
Status: DRAFT, Experimental (Contra dancers doing a Pass the Sea?)
Tune suggestion: Thomas Shrug’s March

This is one of several of my dances in a series of “Oceans” and “Seasons” compositions which bring Ocean or Sea Waves into a 4 Facing 4 dance. It embeds a same role Hey in the center of the dance while the other role does a classic square dance (NOT Box) Circulate (called “Orbit” here for contra dancers).

I’ve NOT called or walked through this dance with dancers yet. Should you give it a go, please let me know.

A1
Give & Take (Up/Down), Lady take Neighbor Gent back and Swing

A2
(4,4) Pass the Sea* (Up/Down), Sea Wave Balance Fwd/Back
[NOTE all Ladies are on outside oval facing counter clockwise, Gents are inside facing CW]
(8) Simultaneously:
     Gents in center Half Hey (across – Gents facing center start passing LEFT)
*WHILE*
     Ladies Circulate 2 Places (wrap around ends) [I TEACH/CALL THIS AS AN ORBIT 1/2 to stay with more typical contra language for dancers]
[Form similar Ocean Waves aligned up/down with LEFT Hand to same G&T Neighbor]

B1
Wave Balance Left (toward N) & Right, Neighbor Swat the Flea
[alternate, likely to become preferred: Wave Balance Fwd/Back, Neighbor Allemande Left 1/2x]
Ladies Allemande Right 1+1/2 (to P)

B2
Partner Balance & Swing, end facing progression

*Pass the Sea is a reverse role/direction Pass The Ocean. Ladies walk to the far side, presenting left hand to the Gent they started next to, who has right hands in the center with the other Gent.

So why not the following A2? Because the Gents will arrive ~2 beats early at their spot and possibly overshoot it. This dance is not going to be called with a beginner crowd and, if the dancers can’t handle a Hey, you probably shouldn’t be calling this one.

A2
(4,4) Pass the Sea (Up/Down), Sea Wave Balance Fwd/Back
[NOTE all Ladies are on outside oval facing counter clockwise, Gents are inside facing CW]
(8) All Circulate 2 Places (wrap around ends, stay in role oval)
[Form similar Ocean Waves aligned up/down with LEFT Hand to same G&T Neighbor]

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Seasons 4 – 4 Face 4 – Don Veino 20161204

Type: 4 Facing 4
Status: DRAFT, Experimental (Contra dancers doing a Pass the Sea?)
Tune suggestion: Thomas Shrug’s March

This is one of several of my dances in a series of “Oceans” and “Seasons” compositions which bring Ocean or Sea Waves into a 4 Facing 4 dance. It embeds a same role Hey in the center of the dance while the other role does a classic square dance (NOT Box) Circulate (called “Orbit” here for contra dancers).

I’ve NOT called or walked through this dance with dancers yet. Should you give it a go, please let me know.

A1
Give & Take (Up/Down), Gent take Neighbor Lady back and Swing

A2
(4,4) Pass the Sea* (Up/Down), Sea Wave Balance Fwd/Back
[NOTE all Ladies are on outside oval facing counter clockwise, Gents are inside facing CW]
(8) Simultaneously:
     Gents in center Half Hey (across – Gents facing center start passing LEFT)
*WHILE*
     Ladies Circulate 2 Places (wrap around ends) [I TEACH/CALL THIS AS AN ORBIT 1/2 to stay with more typical contra language for dancers]
[Form similar Ocean Waves aligned up/down with LEFT Hand to same G&T Neighbor]

B1
Rory Wave Balance Left (toward N) & Right, Twirl/Slide Left
Rory Wave Balance Right & Left, Twirl/Slide Right (Gents Super Twirl to P)

B2
Partner Balance & Swing, end facing progression

*Pass the Sea is a reverse role/direction Pass The Ocean. Ladies walk to the far side, presenting left hand to the Gent they started next to, who has right hands in the center with the other Gent.

So why not the following A2? Because the Gents will arrive ~2 beats early at their spot and possibly overshoot it. This dance is not going to be called with a beginner crowd and, if the dancers can’t handle a Hey, you probably shouldn’t be calling this one.

A2
(4,4) Pass the Sea (Up/Down), Sea Wave Balance Fwd/Back
[NOTE all Ladies are on outside oval facing counter clockwise, Gents are inside facing CW]
(8) All Circulate 2 Places (wrap around ends, stay in role oval)
[Form similar Ocean Waves aligned up/down with LEFT Hand to same G&T Neighbor]

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Oceans 8 – 4 Face 4 – Don Veino 20161204

Type: 4 Facing 4
Status: DRAFT
Tune suggestion: Thomas Shrug’s March

This is one of several of my dances in a series of “Oceans” and “Seasons” compositions which bring Ocean or Sea Waves into a 4 Facing 4 dance. It embeds a same role Hey in the center of the dance while the other role does a classic square dance (NOT Box) Circulate (called “Orbit” here for contra dancers).

I’ve NOT called or walked through this dance with dancers yet. Should you give it a go, please let me know.

A1
Give & Take (Up/Down), Lady take Neighbor Gent back and Swing

A2
(4,4) Pass the Ocean (Up/Down), Wave Balance Fwd/Back
[NOTE all Gents are on outside oval facing clockwise, Ladies are inside facing CCW]
(8) Simultaneously:
     Ladies in center (across) Half Hey (Ladies facing center start passing Right)
*WHILE*
     Gents Circulate 2 Places (wrap around ends) [I TEACH/CALL THIS AS AN ORBIT 1/2 to stay with more typical contra language for dancers]
[Form similar Ocean Waves aligned up/down with Right Hand to same G&T Neighbor]

B1
Rory Wave Balance Right (toward N) & Left, Twirl/Slide Right
Rory Wave Balance, Twirl/Slide Left (Ladies Super Twirl to P)

B2
Partner Balance & Swing (end facing progression)

So why not the following A2? Because the Ladies will arrive ~2 beats early at their spot and possibly overshoot it. This dance is not going to be called with a beginner crowd and, if the dancers can’t handle a Hey, you probably shouldn’t be calling this one.

A2
(4,4) Pass the Ocean (Up/Down), Wave Balance Fwd/Back
[NOTE all Gents are on outside oval facing clockwise, Ladies are inside facing CCW]
(8) All Circulate 2 Places (wrap around ends)
[Form similar Ocean Waves aligned up/down with Right Hand to same G&T Neighbor]

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Pony Fun – DI – Raeden Veino 20161012

Type: Contra, Duple Improper
Status: Public, Proven

This isn’t, strictly speaking, one of my dances. On 10/12/2016 at bedtime my 5 year old daughter and I had the following interaction:

Raeden: “Daddy. I want to write a new dance, Pony Fun.”
Me: “OK, how does it go?”
Raeden: “Star, Star, Swing. Swing, Courtesy Turn, Circle 3 places, Pass Through, repeat.”

A little bit of back and forth between she and I figuring out the glue resulted in the following. It’s now been called by me and other callers to reports of smooth success. Give it a try!

Update 20170720: The A parts around the second Star of this sequence has since been revised to a single file promenade (or “ponies canter around” per Raeden) to make things easier for dancers. See comment below for original A parts.

A1
(8) Star Left 1x
(8) This Neighbor Allemande Left 1+1/4x (and Lady tuck in behind N Gent to all end facing CW around current group/4)

A2
(6,2) Single file Promenade CW 3/4x (to Gent’s home side with P), Ladies turn back over Right Shoulder
(8) Partner Swing

B1
Give & Take to Gents Side, N Swing

B2
Ladies Chain
Circle Left 3/4, Pass Through

In case you may call this, Raeden’s name is pronounced “RAY-den VEE-no”

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Gary’s Reel Too – DI – Don Veino 20161113

Type: Contra, Duple Improper
Status: DRAFT

Role reversed re-imagining of my dance Ruth’s (For) Reel; Gary is Ruth’s husband. In contrast to the common case, the Gents get to do most of the running around in this one.

A1
LLF, Gents Roll NEXT (Left Hand) Neighbor Lady Left->Right on way back
Mad Robin, Gents through center first/CW (so looking at P across)

A2
Gents Chain (LH pull by, Right to P, Ladies Courtesy Turn Gent CW)
Mad Robin, Gents through center first/CW (so looking at N across)
(look away from P to Shadow)

B1
Gypsy Left Shadow
Partner Swing

B2
Gents Pull By Left (to current N)
Neighbor Swing
#PROGRESSION

End effects: never really out, wait for A2 Shadow Gypsy before crossing over at ends (and face across to P). Will come in on the A1 Long Lines.

Dancers may tend to want to rush through, encourage them to take the full 8 beats where provided – have sets space out nicely to make room for graceful, sweeping Mad Robins.

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Ruth’s (For) Reel – DI (swapped w/N) – Don Veino 20161113

Type: Contra, Duple Improper but with 1s below the 2s
Status: Public, Proven

Written for Ruth Potwin’s 60th birthday celebration. Have dancers briefly swing their Neighbor to swap places from duple improper hands-4 position before walk-through, so 1s below 2s.

Dancers may tend to want to rush through the As, encourage them to take the full 8 beats where provided – have sets space out nicely to make room for graceful, sweeping Mad Robins.

First called to a nice reception at the Thursday Contras dance at the Concord Scout House on 12/1/2016. There’s a somewhat role reversed take on this dance – Gary’s Reel Too. Sadly, I don’t think Gary or Ruth have danced either dance yet – if you see them at a dance, give it a go!

A1
LLFB
Mad Robin, Ladies through center first/CCW (so looking at P across)

A2
Ladies Chain
Mad Robin, Ladies through center first/CCW (so looking at N across)
(look away from P to Shadow)

B1
Gypsy Shadow
Partner Swing

B2
Circle Left 3/4, Pass Through Up/Down
Swing (new) Neighbor

End effects: never really out, shadow needs you for the Gypsy before crossing over.

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Another 30 Years – DI – Don Veino 20161203

Type: Contra Dance, Duple Improper
Status: Public, Proven

I asked several of our excellent local (for most of you they’re touring) musicians if there were any tunes that they’d love to play for a contra dance – but which they couldn’t, for some reason due to unusual phrasing, etc. – such that I might write a dance to match. Max Newman came back with the tune 30-års jiggen 30 Year Jig by the Swedish trio Väsen. This is a 40-bar tune with unique B-parts phrasing.

I wrote another dance that fit well but was pretty fiddly so I decided to put that one away and try again anew and this was the result. The A1 is probably strongly influenced by my experience with Lisa Greenleaf’s Further and More and Bob Isaacs’ United We Dance – sharing their A1 moves.

We gave it a successful go at the Monday Contras series at the Concord Scout House on 12/19/2016. Request that the musicians keep from going totally artsy on the tune or dancers will wander a bit in the Bs (keep strong 8 beat phrase hinting – not too softly played).

Starts in long waves at the sides, Gents facing out

A1
(4,4) Rory-style wave balance Right & Left, slide/twirl Right
(4,4) Rory-style wave balance Left & Right, slide/twirl Left

A2
(4,12) Neighbor Balance & Swing

B1
(8) Long Lines Forward & Back
(6,10) Circle Left 3/4x, Partner Swing

B2
(8) Ladies Chain
(16) Full Hey, Ladies Pass Right to start
[ends in waves at side, prior N by LH, new N by RH]

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Boston Cream Pie – 4 Face 4 – Don Veino 20161005

Type: 4 Facing 4
Status: Public, Proven

Lynn Ackerson’s Coconut Cream Pie is a fave as it’s interesting yet bulletproof with mixed crowds. I’d used it so much, I wrote this dance leveraged from it to have some variation. My unique take is in the B2 here – Lynn’s is Circle/8 Left 1/2x, Balance & California Twirl. I later learned Lynn’s dance was a 32 bar riff on Apple Pie Quadrille (a 40 bar sequence) by Ron Beeson, which I’d not known at the time. Curiously, my dance ended up something of a hybrid between Ron’s and Lynn’s dances, also in a 32 bar length. Great minds and all that… 😉

First called at the Thursday Contras dance at the Concord Scout House on 12/1/2016.

A1
LLFB
Center 4 Star Right 1x

A2
Partner Allemande Left 1+1/2x
(new) Center 4 Star Right 1x

B1
Partner Balance & Swing

B2
Current Ring/8 Balance, California Twirl (to facing prior Neighbors)
LH Gent Tow Your Line (in an arc, over left shoulder) to face new Line/4

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Oceans 4 – 4 Face 4 – Don Veino 20161204

Type: 4 Facing 4
Status: Public, Proven
Tune suggestion: Thomas Shrug’s March

This is one of several of my dances in a series of “Oceans” and “Seasons” compositions which bring Ocean or Sea Waves into a 4 Facing 4 dance. It embeds a same role Hey in the center of the dance while the other role does a classic square dance (NOT Box) Circulate (called “Orbit” here for contra dancers).

This dance was first called at the Monday Contras series at the Concord Scout House on 12/19/2016.

Note this dance never converts to a square formation.

A1
Give & Take (Up/Down), Gent take Neighbor Lady back and Swing

A2
(4,4) Pass the Ocean (Up/Down), Wave Balance Fwd/Back
[NOTE all Gents are on outside oval facing clockwise, Ladies are inside facing CCW]
(8) Simultaneously:
     Ladies in center (across) Half Hey (Ladies facing center start passing Right)
*WHILE*
     Gents Circulate 2 Places (wrap around ends) [I TEACH/CALL THIS AS AN ORBIT 1/2 to stay with more typical contra language for dancers]
[Form similar Ocean Waves aligned up/down with Right Hand to same G&T Neighbor]

B1
Wave Balance Right (toward N) & Left, Neighbor Box the Gnat [like the feel but handhold change req’d]
[Not yet tested variation – but what I expect will become the std: Balance Fwd/Back, N Allemande Rt 1/2x]
Gents Allemande Left 1+1/2 (to P)

B2
Partner Balance & Swing, end facing progression

So why not the following A2? Because the Ladies will arrive ~2 beats early at their spot and possibly overshoot it. This dance is not going to be called with a beginner crowd and, if the dancers can’t handle a Hey, you probably shouldn’t be calling this one.

A2
(4,4) Pass the Ocean (Up/Down), Wave Balance Fwd/Back
[NOTE all Gents are on outside oval facing clockwise, Ladies are inside facing CCW]
(8) All Circulate 2 Places (wrap around ends)
[Form similar Ocean Waves aligned up/down with Right Hand to same G&T Neighbor]

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Sue Said it was Ted – Circle Mixer – Don Veino var. 20170201

Type: Circle Mixer
Status: Public, Proven

My further variation on a folk-processed variant of Ted’s Mixer by Ted Sannella. I collected something from Sue Rosen’s calling in Carlisle MA which she said was Ted’s Mixer (but differed in the B1/B2 from his published dance). I further modified her variation’s A1 to be more interesting by breaking up the 2x in to the center & out, by role. See here for Ted’s original.

This variation first called by me at the Thursday Contras dance at the Concord Scout House on February 2, 2017.

A1
Ladies into the Center & Out
Gents into the Center, Turn over Right Shoulder as come out
(to face P, so L face in & G out)

A2
Partner Allemande Right 1+1/2 (G face in, L out)
Partner Dosido 1x (to face P)

B1
Partner Allemande Left 1+1/2 (L face in, G out, all look RIGHT)
RH Neighbor Swing
#PROGRESSION (Ladies CW, Gents CCW)

B2
Neighbor (new P) Promenade and face center

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Mermaids & Seahorses [V2] – Becket – Don Veino 20160510

Type: Contra Dance, Becket Left/CW Formation
Status: Public, Proven

To the best of my knowledge, this is another unique transition/progression sequence that I’ve come up with. I have a whole series of “Mermaid” dances I’ve written, which all feature this Diagonal Pass the Ocean progression. Yes, the Mermaid naming was influenced by our 5 year old daughter Raeden. 🙂

I played around with the B1 action in this dance quite a bit, there were 3 versions. Lisa Greenleaf had called the first version for me (Partner Star Through if I recall correctly) which I wanted to refine some more. I’d got so far as a third version which was nice and appreciated by Lisa and Linda Leslie which used a California Twirl+ (keep rolling towards your P until you face back in) but it was more fiddly to teach the dancers. Ultimately I’ve settled on my second version below.

This version first called at the Thursday Contras dance at the Concord Scout House on February 2, 2017.

A1
(4,4) Left Diagonal Pass the Ocean, Wave Balance
#PROGRESSION
(5,3) Partner Allemande Right 1+1/4, Gents Cross to N (passing Lefts)
[helps to minimize the Bucksaw offset]

A2
(16) Neighbor Gypsy, Swing

B1
(4,4) Ring Balance, Petronella
(4,4) Ring Balance, Jersey Twirl w/Partner (on home side, end facing Partner)
[ring action further reduces the Bucksaw]

B2
(4,12) Partner Balance & Swing

End Effects: wait out on left diagonal to enter via the Pass the Ocean.

Video:

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Greenfield Tornado – Becket – Don Veino 20161218

Type: Contra Dance, Becket Left/CW Formation
Status: Public, Proven

The Chain to Allemande Left 1+1/2 (the “Tornado”) is another instance of an “I’ve not encountered it yet” transition – to the best of my knowledge it’s an new use (but… see comments). This move enables the Gents getting a good ride into the Hey (without using a Gent’s Chain to set it up) and the A2 rotation being CCW mitigates the dizziness factor from the Swings.

Turns out Linda Leslie and I wrote virtually the same dance independently (two clever folks coming up with the Slice & Take!). Her Greenfield Storm has as the A2 LLF&B and then the Chain vs. my take below. I renamed this dance to Greenfield Tornado to honor hers coming (well) before.

First called (by me) at the Thursday Contras dance at the Concord Scout House on February 2, 2017.

A1
Left Diagonal Slice & Take to Gent’s Side (Neighbor Swing)
[First time can be straight across Give & Take; Alternate A1 = Diagonal Circle Left 3/4, N Swing]

A2
Ladies Chain (to P)
Partner Allemande Left 1+1/2x

B1
Full Hey, Gents Pass Right to start

B2
Partner Balance & Swing

End Effects: Wait out crossed over on Left Diagonal at ends.

Video: Thursday Contras 2/2/2017

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Wavy Star Slice – Becket – Don Veino 20170120

Type: Contra Dance, Becket Left/CW Formation
Status: Proven, Public

Respin on the theme from my dance Wavy Star Shuffle to move from a 4 Face 4 to Becket formation contra.

First called at the Monday Contras series at the Concord Scout House on 3/27/2017. I tried both the original version below and having a Circle Left in the B1 to a Gypsy & Swing B2 and dancers preferred Circle Right to the Balance & Swing.

A1
Slice left (Fwd on left diagonal, fall straight back)
Fwd to Wavy Star*, Balance

A2
Star CW 3/4x (Gents forward, Ladies back up 3 places)
N Swing

B1
L Chain to P
Circle RIGHT 1x

B2
P Balance & Swing

*AKA “Gypsy Star” – Take hands in wave with same role N, Gents below Ladies, for an interleaved wave facing opposite role N. Let go of outside hands (the one touching adjacent hands/4 folks) and retake hands with opposite role N before rotating the star.

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Wavy Star Shuffle – 4 Face 4 – Don Veino 20170120

Type: 4 Facing 4
Status: Public, Proven

First called at the Monday Contras dance at the Concord Scout House on 2/13/2017 to positive comments. There were plenty of smiles on dancer faces through the dance… 🙂

That’s great, because I personally typically don’t like (what I think of as) “stub toe star” (dubbed “wavy” here or often also called “gypsy” star) dances! But I had this idea of building the star in one go (in other dances they often seem to be built in two layers – with one role and then the other joining) and it appears one go works fine, which allows a nice recovery space via the preceding Long Lines start.

See also my dance Wavy Star Slice which I derived from this one.

A1
LLFB
Fwd to Wavy Star*, Balance

A2
Star CW 3/4x (groups/4 – Gents fwd, Ladies back up 3 places)
N Swing

B1
L Chain (to P)
Circle/8 Left 1/2x (2 couple places)

B2
Corner Allemande Left 1x
P Swing

*a.k.a. “Gypsy Star” – Take hands in wave with same role N, Gents below Ladies, to form an interleaved wave facing opposite role N. Let go of outside hands (the one touching adjacent hands/4 folks) and retake hands with opposite role N before rotating the star.

Alternative B2s:
(Gents turn back to)
P Balance & Swing
OR
(alternative music fit: Gypsy Right and Swing P)

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I ♥ Faeries – DI – Don Veino 20170125

Type: Contra Dance, Duple Improper
Status: Public, Proven

Writtten in response to a challenge on the Shared Weight Caller’s Discussion List, here’s my take on a non-glossary way out of the Dublin Bay style Down-the-Hall figure – via a believed unique twist on a Mad Robin. First called (by me) at the Thursday Contras dance at the Concord Scout House on February 2, 2017. For a further simplified take on this theme, see my dance I ♥ Unicorns. The “♥” in the title is spoken as “Heart.” The title comes from our daughter’s current fandom for all things re: Tinkerbell and friends.

A1
Neighbor Balance & Swing, end facing down (Twos in center)

A2
Line/4 DTH and Back, Dublin Bay Style
(4 steps fwd down the hall, turn single to face up, continue 4 steps down in reverse, 4 steps fwd up the hall, turn single to face down, continue 4 steps up in reverse)
Bend the line (so Twos are above the Ones)

B1
Mirror Mad Robin – Ones Through the Center First (starting up towards head of the hall)
[G1 and L2 dyad moving CW, L1 and G2 moving CCW]
1s Swing in Center, end facing UP

B2
1s Half Figure 8 up through the 2s (around opposite role N, to end BELOW – improper and facing progression)
2s Swing, end facing UP

Tune suggestion: Becky Tracy’s Black Rock
Video Link(s): My calling at the Concord Scout House Thursday Contras 2/2/2017
Terry Doyle calling at Contra Dancing Knoxville – Cabin Fever 2020, video by Jim Crawford

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I ♥ Unicorns – DI – Don Veino 20170203

Type: Contra Dance, Duple Improper
Status: Public, Proven

The “♥” in the title is spoken as “Heart” – the title for this dance was given by our 5 year old daughter Raeden and inspired the unique Mirror Mad Robin and half Figure Eight in the choreography. First called (by me) at the Monday Contras dance at the Concord Scout House on February 13, 2017. This dance was a simplification of my first take on this theme, I ♥ Faeries.

NOTE: All swings in this dance end facing down.

A1
Neighbor Balance & Swing, end facing down (Twos in center)

A2
Line/4 DTH – Turn as a Couple – Return, Bend the Line (so 2s above 1s)

B1
Mirror Mad Robin – Twos Through the Center First (starting down towards foot of the hall)
[G1 and L2 dyad moving CCW, L1 and G2 moving CW]
Twos Swing in Center, end facing DOWN

B2
Twos Half Figure 8 DOWN through the Ones (around opposite role N, to end above – improper and facing progression)
Ones Swing, end facing DOWN

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