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  • Alan Twhigg

    Alan Twhigg Oct. 2, 2001, 7:29 p.m. (Message 27671)

    RE: Contra dancing

    From the differing opinions expressed on this thread,
    it seems clear to me that one can't generalize about
    contra dance groups, any more than one can about the
    standards or social atmosphere of different SCD
    gatherings. About the only common ground is that
    contra places little or no emphasis on footwork and,
    since the dances are usually called throughout, it is
    a more approachable form for participation by new
    dancers. The downside can be a large degree of
    turnover in the dancing population that tends to
    dilute the development of community and teamwork -
    which are at least as important to some of us in SCD
    groups as the emphasis on precision and technique.
    My own experience with contra, some years back, was
    sufficiently negative that I've never returned to it -
    and this may be a local problem, as others who dance
    in the SF Bay Area have expressed similar feelings. I
    found it extremely cliquish, such that the group of
    dancers in the choice top center portion of the hall
    never left that area, but immediately switched
    partners when one dance ended and another began. It
    was also physically daunting, in a different way from
    SCD - I took to wearing leather boots with reinforced
    toes because I kept getting stepped on by people
    wearing heels. To top it off, there tended to be a
    slight excess of men at these dances, but it was not
    PC for men to pair off for dances.
    -Alan Twhigg.

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