Monday, April 23, 2012

My First NEFFA

This past weekend I had the honor of attending AND CALLING at NEFFA (New England Folk Festival Association) for the first time.  I was slated for 2 1/2 sessions: 2 family dances and a shared slot calling to the Youth Festival Orchestra.  Big thanks to Linda Leslie, who was able to answer my many e-mails with great advice for the weekend!  She is amazing!

Saturday morning, I wandered around the schools getting a grasp on what I had gotten into.    I found where I needed to be for my first family dance (All Join Hands I).  The fabulous band was Loco Mojo (Linda Henry, Amy Larkin, Shirley White).

The dances for Saturday morning:

Rally of the Two "Cardis", traditional (adapted a bit for kids, substituting hand turning for the box the gnat figure in the original dance)
Penguin Dance, traditional (this is GREAT with kids, and this bunch took it VERY seriously!  Here is a video on youtube so you get an idea.  The tune is "Lobster Quadrille")
Easy Sicilian Circle
Haste to the Wedding, traditional (I LOVE this dance and the tune!)
Prince of Orange (has lots of stamps and claps, my favorite part was watching a 2 year old's face light up when we got to that part!  She was awesome!).

Saturday afternoon, I headed for the middle school dance hall to call to the Youth Festival Orchestra led by Emily Troll and Josh Van Vliet.  I have NEVER been on stage calling for so many people, this was such a crazy experience for me!  But everything went well.  The music was phenomenal - there were about half a dozen in the band, and Emily and Josh were SO fun to watch as they conducted the group!

The dances for Saturday afternoon (2 dances I knew I couldn't possibly mess up!):

Push the Button (starting off easy, and I'm thankful!  This really was such a crazy experience, I'm glad I called something I could do with my eyes closed!)
Happy Ending by Chris Weiler (great variety of figures, but still simple enough that I knew I could call it with confidence).

Sunday morning, I felt much more comfortable going into my second family dance of the weekend (All Join Hands II).  I sort of knew what to expect AND I had old friends in the band - Stunt Double, featuring Christopher Jacoby, Laurie Tupper, Julie Valimont, and David Casserli.  The best thing was I had "repeat customers" from Saturday!

The dances for Sunday morning:
Photo courtesy of Bill Wadlinger

La Bastringe - sort of!  I changed the balance and swing to two elbow swings and everyone kept their same partners.  The kids LOVED yelling when they went into the middle!
Kid's Chaos Mixer #3 by Chrissy Fowler
Haste to the Wedding (I was originally going to call "Monkey in the Middle", but I had several children 3 and under, so I decided not to do mixers)
Grandmother's Cabinet (the highlight of my weekend!  There was a lead couple featuring a girl who just turned 12 on Friday.  Everyone got a chance to walk through the tunnel of couples.  I told everyone they could do it however way they wanted.  Big points to the adults - one gentleman was crawling on his hands and knees most of the time around!  A few kids got really into it, pretending to be animals, practically giving each other piggy back rides.... VERY fun time!)
Sicilian Circle of Fun by Linda Leslie (a great way to end the time together!  I did change up the A1 section so that it was different each time they started the dance.  The kids really enjoyed it!)

My favorite moments of the family dances were the conversations I had with some of the kids.  I will treasure them always!

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