The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #163266   Message #3893341
Posted By: Mo the caller
11-Dec-17 - 09:58 AM
Thread Name: the teaching of dancing
Subject: RE: the teaching of dancing
Speaking only from experience in England. There are several types of dance setting and several types of dance.
1)Ceilidh / barn dances at parties and fundraisers, for absolute beginners.
2)Ceilidh series and clubs for regular dancers + newcomers (often monthly for part of the year)
3)Dance clubs where new members are welcome (and helped to learn, but will need to come for a while to get the hang of things).
At (3) there will be a mix of dances; ceilidh, squares, contra. and Playford, gentle or lively (depending on average age!), easy or harder (depending on average ability / experience)
At 2 things will be more lively, at 1 from simple to very simple (depending if they are once a year or never before dancers) and usually fairly lively depending on age (with some gentle ones too). Both mostly English (Irish, Scottish) ceilidh (community) dances maybe an American Square.

A) Dances in a circle or sets of 3/4/5/6 couples (ending with 1st couple at the bottom, the rest renumber) with simple figures (stars, circles, forward & back, cross over, galop down, arch, cast, R hand turn etc Do-c-edo)
B) as A with interesting figures (dip & dive, Strip the willow) that are fun and give a sense of achievement. If the caller tells the dancers where they need to finish and the other dancers don't insist on things being exactly right the dance carries on fine.
(A) & (B) are useful at (1) & (2)
C) Duple minor progressive longways dances. Where you dance in a long set but also in rings of 4. 1st couple starts above the 2s but ends below them (after 32?bars) then dances with the next. Most callers for (1) and many for(2) avoid these
D) harder figures like Right & Left through, ladies chain. Fine for (2) but at (1) people would need too much thinking time in the dance and teaching time unless they were mostly people who knew.
D) Playford dances with 3 introductions then a chorus. Not usually danced in UK at (1) or (2), but OK once you realise that the introductions are regular.
E, F G...
H) unforgiving dances with a lot of moves in of a few bars each e.g.half ladies chain, half hey, half right & left etc and no 'thinking music'
I) unforgiving dances where if one person get into the wrong place you are lost, and the others can't help. e.g. Trip to Bavaria, Papplewick Panic.
x) fun dances where you can have a laugh if you go wrong
Y) silly dances. Need to gauge the crowd, sometimes breaks the ice at (1), sometimes would put people off.
z) Change partner dances. Useful to get experienced and beginners dancing together, if people would be willing to keep that partner for the next dance.