Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Most Talked-About Dance

6 gigs in two months is a new record for me, and I tried a little bit of an experiment. I called the same program three dances in a row (sorry, dancers!). And, even though I WAS calling the same dances, I never tired of them because 1) the crowds had different levels of energy 2) the bands had different sounds and 3) I had different levels of energy (I MUST remember to bring a cup o' joe with me next time!).

The most surprising thing about each evening was that dancers talked to me about one dance in particular, and that dance was..... a mixer.

Gasp! A mixer?!? I know, I hardly expected one to ever receive so much notice and, yes, even praise!

What has gotten into everybody?!?

Let me preface the rest of my story by saying that I WILL NOT CALL A DANCE I DON'T LIKE TO DANCE TO MYSELF, so there MUST be a reason for my calling ANY mixer during an evening of contra dancing!*

A few years ago an out of town caller at my local dance called those dreaded words: "with your partner form a circle around the ring." You could FEEL the groans that went unuttered, but we did it. And the dance began.

And the room loved it. I loved it. Let's face it, I love organized chaos, and this dance brought out the chaos in everyone. It was exhilarating!! A dear friend of mine even admitted that s/he regretted sitting that dance out. And that's sayin' something!

So here are the figures, and I'm curious as to what YOU have to say if you've ever danced this dance and why you may (or may not!) have enjoyed it.

Opposite Circles**
Circle Mixer

A1 Partner promenade (16)

A2 Men face out, ladies face in, take two hands with partner, gents pull her into the center (8). Walk back out of the center. Meanwhile, gents take hands in a ring, ladies take hands in a ring (8)

B1 Everyone Circle Left (16)

B2 Swing someone (if there's no one there, run into the middle of the room, someone will be looking for you!) (16)

*Let me make it clear that I have nothing against mixers! I call them all the time, especially for barn dances. I'm not sure what makes them somewhat less popular in evenings of contra dances. Maybe because they're NOT contra dances... not really.... I shamefully admit that I have even caught myself pre-booking the next dance with my mixer partner so that we may be able to dance a "proper" contra with each other later!

**The first time I danced I played a game of "Name That Dance" with a dear friend of mine. She dubbed it "Wheel of Miss-Fortune", and I prefer that name to its real name!

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