Monday, May 7, 2018

These are the Hands . . .

I was honored to be one of the callers for the wedding of Jennifer Mueller and Richard Mathews on May 5, 2018. These fabulous dancers wanted to celebrate their special day dancing with their friends and family, so they brought in "Notorious," who can easily play both English Country Dance tunes and Contra Dance Tunes. I called the Contra Dances and Randy Thorp and Annette Merritt called the ECD, alternating between the dance forms all day.

I was expecting that there would be some dancers who turned up their noses at the dances that weren't their "preferred" dance form. I have to admit that I was one of those dancers not so long ago, but I was pleased to see everyone happily dancing all the dances. It could be that Gainesville is just a fabulous dance community that loves to dance to any and all (yes, it's true!). But I'm hoping that there are just more people in general who are open to trying new dance styles and haven't decided that "ECD is stuffy," or "Contra is raunchy." After the wedding dance, there were calls from many of the dancers to do this more often. We're looking into how to make that happen.

Jennifer and Rich are examples of dancers who love it all and dance it all. In their honor, I wrote a contra dance with an "Englishy" feel. The name of the dance came from the hand-fasting ceremony in their wedding. Each sentence in that ceremony began with "These are the Hands . . ."

These are the Hands
JoLaine Jones-Pokorney

A1 - Couples Do-si-Do around Neighbors 1 1/2 to trade places. With NEXT neighbors, Circle R (1/2)
A2 - Continue Circle R to finish where you started. Turn around and swing original Neighbor.
B1 - Down the Hall 4-in line. (2s are in the middle, 1s are on each end.) 2s cast while the 1s lead up, 2s fall in behind the 1s to come up the hall as couples, 1s in front, 2s following.
B2 - 1s Cast just far enough to handy-hand allemande with Neighbor 1 1/2, 1s Swing in the middle

END EFFECTS: At the top and bottom, when your neighbors leave you momentarily to Circle R with their next neighbors, Do not trade places with your partner. Your neighbors will expect you to be right where they left you.

1 comment:

  1. I too heard the same positive remarks throughout the day as well as into the next day's contra. It was so heartening to see a room full of people--both contra dancers and English dancers, keep dancing to whichever dance was called---and from the caller's perspective on the stage they all looked in sync and wonderful! We have tried to break the notions of English dance being only for a few...we see English dance as a social dance open to all. Yes, Jennifer and Rich embody these notions and I am so glad that they wanted it this way, that it worked so well, and that we got to be a part of this successful dance. I too hope to see it proliferate in Gainesville as well as other places. Thanks to all for working together!