Teleri (telerib) wrote,
Teleri
telerib

Contra dancing

giddysinger proposed to gkaczns at a Washington Revels-sponsored contra dance. A bunch of us were on-hand to witness the occasion, but I didn't get to dance. A certain young fetus was making it difficult to keep my dinner down while sitting still, so all the whirling and swinging looked contraindicated (no pun actually intended).


giddysinger has been talking up the dances recently, particularly the ones with music provided by Government Contra Act. The weather was beautiful this weekend, we hadn't gone to Coronation, and I wanted to get out of the house. Also, there was an Irish cultural festival going on at the same place as the contra dancing. The Spouse and I tentatively decided to go. But after another day of Putting Stuff Away, the Spouse was tuckered out and didn't want to go. But, as he had a brand-new copy of 300 to occupy him, and since the Spud was showing every sign of being a contented non-cranky baby, he didn't have a problem with me going out and leaving him alone with the baby.

I actually ran into giddysinger on my way in; he and his friend Diana were on their way out, to put some craft goodies in cars. The look of dawning realization on his face as he finally recognized me was worth the $12 entry fee. :)

I got to dance a total of four dances before feeling compelled to go home. Partly it was getting way past my bedtime, and partly I felt bad about leaving the Spouse behind. It was fun! I had no idea how to swing in the first dance, watched people's feet in the second dance, and was swinging much better by the third dance. Other dance moves, alas, did not come quite so easily. But I have been dancing English country in the SCA for years and years, which helped some. When in doubt, move in time and find your partner at the start of the next figure. :) At this rate, I may declare myself cured of my dance phobia sometime soon. Have to see how the 2008 weddings go...

I didn't realize that people filled their dance cards up during the dances, so after the fourth dance, when I tried to find a partner for the fifth, there were none to be had. I was pretty much out for the rest of the set, but that just meant that I got to watch the band.

The band was easily as interesting as the dancing. Dance bands have to deal with playing the same melody, over and over and over, and not dying from the boredom of it. There are Mysterious Ways band members have to communicate with each other, to give a nod to one instrument or another to go off on an improvisational riff while the other parts keep the basic dance tune going. GCA seemed very very good at this, and their variations were wild. They clearly know traditional music, and they just as clearly feel that as modern musicians, they are allowed to take that foundation and build on it. Heck, I heard the theme to "Beverly Hills Cop" worked in at one point (which my young partner called "video game music," because it sounded electronic, and then I felt Old).

I also met giddysinger's father, who has apparently composed an epic poem which takes him 45-60 minutes to recite. That's pretty awesome.


It was probably just as well that the Spud didn't come - I saw plenty of mosquitoes (although I didn't get too many bites). I also didn't see too many kids, and zero babies. Until he's old enough for bug spray, or mosquito season is over, and until I find out if this is a "family" event or not, he probably shouldn't go.
Tags: music
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