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  • Todd Pierce

    Todd Pierce Oct. 2, 2001, 6:53 p.m. (Message 27664)

    RE: Contra dancing

    Some responses to the recent messages on contra vs SCD. I've been doing SCD
    for 12 years now but only doing contra for 6 months - so perhaps that's not
    long enough to talk about contra as a knowledgeable person. But right now I
    far prefer contra to SCD. Maybe it's just that I am tired of SCD after 12
    years - but I think right now the attraction is because of two reasons -
    First dancing is my only chance for exercise and contra is far better for
    that. In a typical SCD class here we may do 5 or 6 dances in 2 hours. Each
    dance may last from 2 to 6 minutes. That's a total of say 30 minutes of
    dancing in 2 hours - or 25% of the time. The rest of the time is spent
    teaching a dance, or socializing, or trying to round up enough dancers from
    the kitchen to form a set. In contrast I can get through 10 or 12 contra
    dances in a good 3 hour class and there is very little break between them.
    And a typical contra dance may last close to 10 minutes (I've never actually
    timed one but it seems that long). I'd say I am dancing for close to 75% of
    the time I spend at contra. At SCD I rarely break a sweat. After contra I am
    drenched. (Of course that very fact turns some people off on contra!)
    Second the contra group here has live music every week. In 2 1/2 years of
    living in Asheville NC I have yet to see a live SCD band appear at our
    class! Though I can see one if I travel.
    Some of the recent posts have talked off 'people vs perfection'. That's a
    bit too simple, though I will say yes, some contra dancers don't look at me
    when I dance with them; but I can say the same about many SCD dancers. But I
    do know contra class here has a 30 minute lesson every week for new dancers,
    and after that, most of the beginners are able to do the rest of the dances
    that night. Compare that to most 'general' SCD classes where if a beginner
    turns up, they may get to do a couple of dances, but are told to sit out the
    others because they are for 'experienced' dancers - and that may happen for
    weeks until the beginner is allowed into these other dances. I don't know
    what we can do to prevent that - if you changed it, SCD would no longer be
    SCD - but the numbers here speak for themselves - 150+ dancers a week at
    contra, 5-8 dancers a week at SCD.
    That's enough ranting!
    Todd Pierce
    Asheville NC

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