There was little wrong with any of the callers at Towersey. One or two rather like the sound of their own voices - we stand around whilst tiresome joke after joke is endured (and we've heard them all before), others like Nick Walden talk very fast (but very clearly) and you just have to listen. But with so many inexperienced dancers and/or people who won't or don't listen, nothing but simple dances can ever be called with any expectation of success - which is rather a shame because people never experience anything else. Most of the experts at Towersey huddle in their own corner of the dance floor - surely they must be bored sick of such simple repetition? There wasn't a single ceilidh dance at Towersey I couldn't do in my sleep.
There is a thought provoking letter in the latest EDS - suggest you read it or if you don't have access I can put it on my website for a few days. A frustrated young woman asks at a wedding dance "Do you do any dances without rules?' She was having problems doing a simple figure of eight.
So let's throw away the rules for dances and do any old thing we feel like - and maybe musicians could do the same? Then we'd all be free of any need to learn anything. Oh and let's throw away the Highway Code as well. It would be so much more fun on the roads.
The point is really that once youngsters do bother to learn a few basics they enjoy themselves far more - and are less of a nuisance to experienced dancers. Many times I have rapidly explained moves to groups of youngsters - and most respond very positively to being told how to get it right (even if I do snap at them to shut up and listen).
The problem is that they seem not to want to put in any effort to learn - by attending the workshops that are aimed specifically at beginners. Often these are populated more by experienced dancers who go along to help new comers - but there are so few there to help! Maybe the problem is that these workshops (eg session 103 at Towersey) are often held early mornings when youngsters are still in bed? But the equivalent session at Sidmouth (session 102) was at 2.45pm with Kerry Fletcher. There were only 21 people these to start with increasing to 30+ in a hall capable of taking 70+ - and there were hardly any youngsters.
Maybe an extended three or four hour 'learn and practice' session on the first evening instead of a normal opening ceilidh might attract more of them? Learn simple moves in the first half hour, do simple dances for half an hour, learn more moves, do more advanced dances, build up to quite complex dances at the end of the four hours?
I'll volunteer to do the teaching (free of charge) and some calling of the more complex dances. Someone else can call the simple dances while I partner some newcomers.
And don't say I never make positive suggestions!