Contra Corner Mailing List
contra-corner is the mailing list for anyone interested in the promotion and enjoyment of contra dancing in the UK.
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When the list was first set up, John Meechan wrote:
As someone who is passionate about folk dance from many different angles - as a dancer, as a performer, as a choreographer, as someone interested in tradition etc etc I am becoming increasingly concerned about the future of social folk dance outside the ceilidh. The folk dancers seem to be divided into two main categories (yes, I know there are many sub-categories within each category) i) those whose main stimulus is physical ie those who tend to go to ceilidhs and enjoy lots of stepping etc and ii) those who prefer a cerebral approach and are stimulated by more demanding dances ie those who attend folk dance clubs. I do not intend to place any value judgements on which is better or worse for that is a personal matter for individuals to decide.
However, whilst there are many 'crossover' dancers, ceilidhs are populated by younger people (but younger again is a personal and relative term) and folk dance clubs are populated by older people. With all due respect to older dancers, to which we owe a lot, the older they get the less chance they have of attracting younger people with the inevitable scenario that folk dance clubs will eventually fade away. I have a great love of folk dance and do not wish to see it fade away - so what of the future? Ceilidhs generally, appear to be doing well (although there will always be those who may prove different) but what of those people, like myself, who prefer more challenging dances. The answer lies across the Atlantic Ocean (as it often does these days) in the Contradance scene where more challenging dances are danced but with the energy of a ceilidh - many will testify to the exciting music of bands such as Yankee Ingenuity and Wild Asparagus that have played in the UK of the past few years. These bands have inspired bands, and callers, over here and they are ready to participate in an active, vital UK contradance scene.
I have never danced contradance in the USA, however, others that have tell me it is an exciting movement based on having a good time both physically and cerebrally (although I am sure that there are many different 'levels') where long (and longways) dances (dances are danced for much longer than over here) with lots of swings and twiddles - all within a 'non-partner' based environment where a different partner for each dance is the norm. Obviously any UK based movement will develop its own 'norms' but all within the framework of American-style longways dances danced to exciting vibrant music.
The challenge is there and I feel that we could 'manage' an explosion to rival the square dance boom of the 1950's if we only believed in ourselves. However, I do not know where to go from here - I most definitely don't want to get involved with an organisation! This mailing list is a start to help interested parties start communicating with each other.
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