Indigenize!

Rekindle Your Wild Joy and sense of deep Belonging through spiritual ecopsychology and the arts, incl. bioregional awareness, animistic perspectives, strategies for simple living, & low/no-tech DIY fun.

Leading a Contra Dance Role-Swapping Workshop June 22, 2017

Filed under: Arts,Dance — BrujaHa @ 10:25 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,
I dance both roles buttons

 

Contra dancers, if you’ve ever been curious about dancing the other gender role, I have published a new article with co-author Erik Erhardt about how to optimally pull it off.

We of course offer tips for smooth swapping points and the like, yet our main point is the “prime directive” of keeping neighbors, shadows, and other dancers in the line comfortable with this kind of play so that acceptance will grow among participants and non-participants alike, thereby ensuring ongoing fun for all. Here’s the beginning:

Leading a Contra Dance Role-Swapping Workshop.
CDSS NEWS (Summer 2017, pp.10-11 with fuller text online)

Introduction

This article offers concrete “hows” for experiencing even more joys in contra dance. A workshop that encourages dancers to play in both dance roles is a fun opportunity that also helps evolve the skill of
your dancers. While swapping roles initially seems like an advanced skill, it is often learned quickly and improves a person’s ability to dance well in either role.

We first provide swapping principles. In the online version of this article, we provide a selection of swap
points in three scenarios, then we offer a workshop outline that you can use, based on the “Gender Shenanigans” workshop we gave at Stellar Days and Nights dance camp held in the mountains of Colorado in February 2015.

While this type of workshop works well as part of a weekend dance camp with most dancers in “traditional” dance roles, small doses have proven to be popular at local dances, too.

Swapping principles

It can be very fun to cultivate the ability to be “ambidancetrous”; that is, to be able to dance either role and even to switch roles multiple times during a given dance.

When considering role swapping, the first thought that arises might be the simple puzzle of body mechanics in the various moves. But first and foremost in community dancing is actually the need for consideration for good dance etiquette. Etiquette is the art of making someone else feel comfortable, and this includes not only obtaining consent from your partner, but also being aware of the expectations of the entire dance line.

Always dance with respect for your neighbors. It is our observation that the essence of truly excellent dancing isn’t making fancy moves, but matching the needs and energy of each person met. Just as the elderly or disabled may need shorter, gentler swings, attention and courtesy must be given to each person encountered when swapping. Be in the right place on time for the next move, and confidently project to approaching dancers, particularly beginners, which role you’re dancing. This can be done by making eye contact, clearly offering the appropriate hand, and additionally saying “I’m the gent/lady” if helpful. If you’re swapping, you shoulder extra responsibility for dance excellence. If we follow this “prime directive” of respecting the line, role swapping will continue to grow in acceptance and popularity, even among those with little desire to do it themselves. …

**************************

Link to the full article, including a list of swappalicious moves and a three-part workshop you can try out with your own local dancers:  Leading a Contra Dance Role-Swapping Workshop

Enjoy! Please let us know your thoughts by posting in the Comments below. Also, if you try the workshop, let us know how it works out for you. It’s through many voices that a community is made.

(NOTE: The very useful “What’s Your Preference? I Dance Both Roles” buttons illustrated at the top of this page are made by Mark Galipeau for the San Francisco Bay Queer Contra Dance (now “Circle Left”), one nexus of the gender-free dance movement. For minimal cost, you can order the buttons for distribution. I’m one of many who has handed out dozens of them to all who want one.)

Advertisements
 

Solabaration! 2016 December 17, 2016

Filed under: Announcements,Arts,Dance — BrujaHa @ 12:55 pm
Tags: , , ,

Folks along the Front Range of Colorado, come drive the cold winter away tonight with dance, song, story, cheer, xtreme juggling, a mummers’ play and more. All ages are welcome.

I’m honored to be one of the three dance callers.

Solabration Click on the sun for info.

Save

Save

Save

 

Square Dance in the Rural West: An Oral History July 26, 2016

Don & Fay promenade

Check out my new article in the Country Dance and Song Society (CDSS) online journal. It’s based on interviews with my elders, who can really tell a story, and contains small photos of those faboo 1950s dance outfits.

Best of all is getting to witness how community dance like square dance or contra dance forges community.

*

“Square dancing hit its heyday in the far west during the 1950s, and many elder members of my family were heavily involved in it. Hank Fields, my dad, was a popular square dance caller long before I was born. I follow lightly in his footsteps as a contra dance caller today; thus my interest in what the dance scene had been like for him. What are the similarities and differences with dance today? And what got so many people so passionately interested in square dancing back then?

“At a Fields/Glascock “inlaws & outlaws” family reunion held on my cousin’s ranch in rural Idaho during the summer of 2003, I spoke with a number of older folks who had been active in the square dance scene back in the 1950s, asking about their experiences.”

*

 To read the whole thing, go to:

CD+S Online, vol.1

Or get directly to my article itself

*

 I hope you like it! Please leave comments here.

 

Dances with Klingons July 20, 2015

Klingon from Affliction (Star Trek Enterprise)At a recent contradance, my day was made when someone jokingly wondered how to say “thank you for the dance” in Klingon* – and someone else actually knew. Daniel Morse, who translates Chinese texts for a living, turns out to also be fluent in Klingon. Without batting an eyelash or pulling out a device, he explained the following.

Ma mi/t mo/ qatlho/  = Thank you for the dance

Ma = we together, Mi/t = dance, mo/= due to, or because of that, qatlho/ = I, to you, thank.  Note his knowledge about grammatical structure differences between Klingon and English too.

I was pretty surprised by the idea that Klingons dance, so even though I trust my friend, I did do a bit of Internet research for confirmation and maybe a scandalous video showing their moves. Indeed, many of these same words appear when calling upon Saint Google.

Another juicy tidbit also arose: several scholars pointed out that while qatlho/ (I, to you, thank) is a Klingon word,  it is not one used by Klingons. So what would Klingons say? “I’m sorry I didn’t stomp hard enough on your foot”?

Whorf

Klingon in the News

You know how interesting things often occur en masse? Around the same time I was delighting in this, applied Klingon language appeared in the news. An UFO was sighted in Wales, and a magnificently nerdy government spokesperson responded.

From the BBC:

Welsh government responds in Klingon to UFO airport query

“Klingon was the chosen language for the Welsh government in its response to queries about UFO sightings at Cardiff Airport.

While English and Welsh are the usual forms of communications in the Senedd, it opted for the native tongue of the enemies of Star Trek’s Captain Kirk.

Shadow Health Minister Darren Millar had asked for details of UFOs sightings and asked if research would be funded. A Welsh government spokesman responded with: “jang vIDa je due luq.” The Welsh government statement continued: “‘ach ghotvam’e’ QI’yaH devolve qaS.” In full it said it translated as: “The minister will reply in due course. However this is a non-devolved matter.”

It is believed to be the first time the Welsh government has chosen to communicate in Klingon.

Mr Millar, shadow health minister and AM for Clwyd West, submitted three questions to economy, science and transport minister Edwina Hart about UFO reports around the airport and across the rest of Wales.

“Responding to the government’s unusual diversion into trilingualism, Mr Millar said: “I’ve always suspected that Labour ministers came from another planet. This response confirms it.””

Click here to read the full account.  See, I didn’t make this up.

More!

The crazy late night search for Klingon dancing terms gave me another moment of linguistic delight before going to bed: there is actually a site dedicated to informing people how to say the vital phrase, “My hovercraft is full of eels!” in multiple languages, from Afrikaans to Zulu.

As if this homage to the bad Hungarian phrasebook in Monty Python’s Flying Circus weren’t enough, as a bonus, the wizards at Omniglot include the phrase in several invented languages – yes, including Klingon.

Klingon:  lupDujHomwIj lubuy’moH gharghmey  (Click here to hear it spoken)

For those of you who may need distraction from insomnia or deadlines, or those with really cool travel plans, here’s how to say it in Quenya, the language of J.R.R. Tolkien’s high elves:

Quenya:  Venenya vilyanirwanen ná quanta as angolingwi

Really, Klingon and Quenya seem no weirder than Welsh or Yiddish:

Welsh: Mae fy hofrenfad yn llawn llyswennod

Yiddish: מײַן פּראָם (שוועבשיף) איז פֿול מיט ווענגערס     (Mayn prom (shveb-shif) iz ful mit vengers)

…I suppose they’re also no weirder than a search for how to say this phrase in the first place. Or to praise your dance partner in Klingon. Ah well. Thanks for reading.

Qapla’! (Success! Good-bye!)

—————————————————————————————————–

* For the non-nerdly among our readers, “Klingon” refers to a fictional alien (planetary alien) people and language from TV’s Star Trek.

 

Stellar Days and Nights February 3, 2015

Filed under: Announcements,Dance — BrujaHa @ 10:53 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Stellar 2015

*

Hey contradancing folk, consider coming to a long weekend event in the lovely Colorado mountains later this month,

Stellar Days and Nights.

Excellent food, dancing ecstasy, great music, and relaxing fun. It’s held in a summer camp setting, so you get to stay in rustic cabins with running water and dance and eat together in one large hall. You can even x-c ski directly from your cabin!

I’m co-calling with Scott Higgs to the transporting music of Foxfire (Daron Douglas + Karen Axelrod), and two of my favorite local Front Range musicians, Elizabeth Wood + Rodney Sauer.

This year’s event will feature both Contra and ECD (English Country Dance). Plus Rodney will teach contra piano, Erik will lead a late-night techno contra, Daron will lead an English ballad swap, there are jams and workshops for all levels of musicians, Ceili, waltz, and Cape Breton step dancing workshops, and an evening gathering for everyone to share their talent/no-talent. And along with calling contras, I’ll also lead two song sessions (1) Bawdy British Ballads & Funny Chorus Songs;  2) Chants, Rounds and Sacred Songs from Many Traditions), and a genderplay dance workshop.

Come play!!

February 19-22, 2015, near Buena Vista, Colorado.

I just spent the eve plotting the “Gender Shenanigans” workshop with my co-leader, Erik Erhardt. Oh, are we gonna have fun. And further infiltrate the straight dance world. And help enhance everyone’s joy. Hoopla!

There is still space available for you to join in.

For more info and to sign up, see http://www.stellardaysandnights.org/

*

Stellar t-shirt

*

 

Solabration! December 19, 2014

Filed under: Adventures,Arts,Dance — BrujaHa @ 2:08 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

IMG_2502.JPG

Solabration! On the eve of December 21 in Denver, Colorado, join me in celebrating the winter solstice at this engaging extravaganza.

Now in its 29th year, this fest is a well-oiled combo of things to do (dancing, eating, caroling in 4-part harmony; yes you can!) and things to witness (storytelling, “extreme juggling,” a mummer’s play, Morris dancing, Balkan singing). And it culminates with the ancestral European magic of the Abbotts Bromley Horn Dance).

I’m calling some of the dances.
Fun will be had. Hope to solabrate with you.

Full info at wsolstice.org (from where I nabbed the photos)

*IMG_2504.JPG

The Grand March

IMG_2505.JPG

Abbots Bromley Horn Dance

IMG_2503.JPGMaster of Ceremonies and master dance caller Chris Kermiet crowns the Solstice Queen and King

IMG_2506.JPG

Happy dancers

 

Fall Has Sprung! contradance May 3, 2013

Filed under: Arts,Dance — BrujaHa @ 7:34 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I had a blast calling at the “Fall Has Sprung” contra dance fest in Grass Valley, California.  Held every year in early November, this dance runs 12 hours long, from noon till midnight!

There’s potluck food and comfy bleacher chairs available the entire time, so participants can dance some, have a snack or meal, rest, dance more, go outside and schmooze a bit, do a community chore like taking out some garbage, drink some water, then dance a whole lot more.  Dance, rinse, repeat.

It is a super fun event that I’ve enjoyed going to several times as a dancer, and it was an honor and a delight to be invited to call for it this year.

What a luscious combo: calling 1/3 of the day with amazing bands, and getting to dance the other 2/3 to other amazing bands and great callers, for and with a hall full of zesty dancers.

This year, the bands were Hot Cider, KGB, and Raz de Marée, a.k.a. Tidal Wave, and the callers were Joyce Miller, Frannie Marr, and me.  Many thanks to the Foothills Country Dance Society and their stellar organizers, Eric Engels and Lisa Frankel.

This particular dance you’ll see in the video is “Square Affair” by Becky Hill. It is driven by music played by KGB, a  fabulous Seattle band consisting of Julie King, Claude Ginsburg and Dave Bartley. I found them to be not only breathtakingly good musicians, but also super easy to work with.

Video by dancer John Seto.   Music by KGB.   Calling by Tina Fields.