back to MainPage  Contra Thoughts when,where & how

 

WHERE (being where you need to be)

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For those in a hurry, read the underlined text.

THE ODD COUPLE
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What if a dance that fell apart reforms, and you find that you are an odd couple (without neighbors) in the middle of the line. Quickly, dropout, go to the bottom of the line and wait for the dance to come toyou.

DIAGONALS
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Callers teach you that eventually you will be spit out at the end of the contra line, you will wait out one time thru the music then you will come back into the dance in the other direction. We lied. Only the simple dances work that way. Many other dances have several progressions, each time drawing the couples out on the end back into the dance.  Forget about standing out for long when you hear that there is a move on the diagonal. If there is a left diagonal move, wait eagerly on the left side of the set. If there is a right diagonal move, wait eagerly on the right side of the set. Go where you need to be.
 

MAJOR SETS AND MINOR SETS
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When the caller tells you to form three contra lines, you form three major sets, meaning the entire group who is going to dance together. Then she tells you to take hands four and you divide the major set into minor subgroups, or on rare occasion we take hands six to do a "triple minor set". If you are dancing in a minor set, you will eventually wait out at the end. If you are dancing in the major set (meaning everybody) , NO ONE is out.  What used to be the end of the line is now just a sharp bend in the loop.  At the top and the bottom of the hall, treat your partner across the set as the next neighbor in line. The caller will compare your path to the shape of a paper clip, a bicycle chain or a chain saw so that you can visualize that it is a continuous loop.
 
 
SMOOTH CHAINS(men need to move)
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Contra dance should have a beautiful, smooth flowing motion. Make it happen.   The womanís path in the ladies chain passes thru the spot where the man is standing on the other side of the set. He needs to make room for her. When the lady starts the chain, the man should either move into the space just vacated on his right, or he should turn to his right to meet her, and as he steps backward in the courtesy turn he will be out of her way.
 

MENíS ALLEMANDES(ladies need to move)
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When the men allemande left once and a half to swing the lady on the other side, the lady has to make an adjustment in order to start the swing smoothly either by stepping to the left into the spot just vacated by the man or rotating clockwise to meet the man right hip to right hip.