Monday, June 29, 2009

What happens when you get too busy

You make no blog posts!

So much has been happening that it's been hard to find the time to keep our faithful readers up to speed...

We can work from the outside in:
1. The High Tea and Whiskey Dance Weekend
2. The new name for the Hatchling Dances
3. The 4th of July dance
4. Everything else - will have to wait

High Tea and Whiskey
Kay and Bob and Missy and John and I have wanted for some time to have a weekend with Joseph Pimentel calling, so we (with good support from Deb and Bea and Mark) got ambitious and decided to just go for it and just figure out how we could do it. We put together a business plan, we rented the hall, secured a band, and then went looking for some help. The Childgrove board again demonstrated its openness and willingness to support events which are well-thought-out and support its mission of promoting the folk arts (particularly community-style dancing) and agreed to provide full sponsorship. The Dance Discovery board and the leadership of the Webster Groves English Country Dancers were willing to provide a hefty financial cushion, should it be needed, and St Louis English Country Dancers agreed to help with advertising and promotion. Wow.

The weekend is partly contra, partly English, and we're at 72% capacity already — not that hard, since the hall won't hold more than about 60 people doing English. We'll open up another 30 places for folks who want to come to the Friday contra dance later. Here's the web site: High Tea and Whiskey.

The New Name
We've been a bit worried about the attendance at the Hatchling Dances, and, in Hatchling style, figured we had to learn what to do to make ourselves more attractive to dancers. I put out a quick survey and got back the message that we shouldn't change the format - the people who come really like the English/contra format and the music. Changing the day from Saturday to Friday turned out not to be an option, so what was left? A name change! The Hatchling name is adorable, as are our little winged egg-born creatures, but it seems to symbolize "caller practice sessions" rather than "callers who have practiced". So our dances are now First Saturday Callers' Choice Dances, or, as it's already gotten shortened to, Choice Dances.

Yeah, I know the real reason for the smaller attendance figures is that we're trying to get contra dancers to do a bit of English, and English dancers to do a bit of contra, and very few people like to do things outside their usual habits. The number of people who like to do both contra and English is smaller than either the number of contra dancers or the number of English dancers. But we persevere, and the number of "crossover" dancers is slowly but surely increasing.

The 4th of July dance
We were almost forced to cancel this one, but for reasons WAY too complicated to go into, we're not canceling, and we're glad of it. If just 16 people show up, we'll be fine, and we'll have moral boasting rights for months. So if you want to come to a small, just-us-chickens dance, come dance around our virtual kitchen this Saturday.



Sharon said...

I very much enjoyed the CDSS News article on how you've been growing your own callers.
I recently wrote an ECD with the title Choice Callers [playing on the title of the old EFDSS booklet Callers' Choice], so I liked your calling the Hatchlings' nights Callers' Choice evenings. If you'd care for a copy of the dance, let me know.
Happy calling!

Martha said...

But of COURSE I would like a copy of the dance!

One of the things I mentioned only in passing in the article is that our callers' incubator has also turned into a choreographers' incubator as well. We can trade you a couple of English dances - see if you like Wednesday's Whim or The Castigated Neighbor.

How absolutely delightful that the name has a history, too. I'll try to track down the EFDSS booklet.

Martha said...

A quick update on the July 4 dance. We had 25% MORE people than I expected! Doesn't that sound so much better than "We had only 20 people at the July 4 dance"?

As a matter of fact, it was a fun dance. A couple of highlights:
1. The Stars and Stripes forever.
We used a version of Joseph Pimentel's Blackbird Pie, which we called, naturally, American Pie. March down the hall and back, circles and stars and pinwheels (swings), long stripes go forward and back, etc. At the end, we ended in a big circle and pulled the strings on our poppers while the (recorded) sounds of fireworks went off in the hall. Very Silly.

2. Michael Jackson's "Off the Wall". Need I say more? We had tried it at the Calling Party on Wednesday, and it seemed both a fitting tribute to Jackson and a good excuse to do something we've all wanted to do ever since we saw "Dirty Cool." Can't let the East Coast Young and Beautiful have ALL the fun. Thanks to Billy for squaring up the music and expertly calling the dance.