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Contra Dances by Donna Calhoun

The following are dances I wrote over a period of several years. At the end of each dance I have pointed out the potential trouble spots as I see them and have given a brief history of how I came to write the dance. Feel free to use any of these dances in your program. That's why they're here. I've written more dances than these, but I'll spare you the pain and suffering. another good dance resource is Kiran Wagle's Index of Dances.

 

ADPD (Awesome Double Progression Dance)

The Brown Bag Reel

Caught in the Act

Contra Clockwise #1

Follow the Lady

Highway Hypnosis






Follow The Lady

by Donna Calhoun

duple, improper

A1)

bulletCircle Left 3/4
bulletRight Shoulder Gypsy Partner 1+1/2

A2)

bulletHey for 4, Ladies pass by right.

B1)

bulletSwing Partner

B2)

bulletLeft Hand Star
bulletMen Allemande Left 1+ to progressed places.


The only difficult part about teaching this dance is to tell the men where to end up before you tell them to allemande. Also remind the dancers that the gypsy moves pretty quickly.

This is the first dance I ever wrote. I had just learned that if you walk though a hey backwards you can maintain eye contact with your partner. The gypsy -- hey -- swing combination seemed to me to be about the maximum level of flirting possible. The name, of course, comes from the figures as the Lady gives her partner a "come hither" look with the gypsy then leads him through the hey.

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ADPD (Awesome Double Progression Dance)

by Donna Calhoun

duple, improper

A1)

bullet4-in-Line Down the hall (Actives in center); turn single
bulletReturn; Bend the Line

A2)

bulletCircle Left
bulletLeft Hand Star

B1)

bulletBalance and Swing NEXT neighbor

B2

bulletLines Forward and Back
bulletActives Swing


This is one of the easiest double-progression dances I know. I often do this as a no-walkthrough dance.

This dance was written in desperation one night when I was calling our local dance and I left my cards on the kitchen table. It Worked!! I intended to call it The Panic Button in honor of its origin but events conspired against that name. Robert Cromartie picked it up from me at Feet Retreat then called it at his local dance. Afterwards Gene Hubert asked him "What was the name of that awesome double progression dance?" Robert wrote that as the title on his card and later submitted it to Larry Jennings under the name ADPD for inclusion in the next incarnation of Zesty Contras. Since the new name was about to appear in print, it won.

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Contra Clockwise #1

by Donna Calhoun

Becket, clockwise

A1)

bulletSlide Left; Circle Left 3/4
bulletDo-si-do Neighbor 1+ 1/4 (end in wave with women in center)

A2)

bulletBalance; Ladies Allemande L 1/2
bulletBalance the wave; Allemande Partner by Bight

B1)

bulletHey for 4 (women pass Left shoulders)

B2)

bulletGypsy Partner
bulletSwing Partner


This one can get people dizzy because almost all of the movement is in the same direction, clockwise.

It is the third usable dance I wrote. I was experimenting with ideas about dance flow for awhile.


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Brown Bag Reel

by Donna Calhoun

Becket, clockwise

A1)

bulletCircle Left 3/4; pass through along
bulletDo-si-do new Neighbor 1+ (women in center)

A2)

bulletSingle file promenade the ring (men clockwise, women ccw)
bulletReturn

B1)

bulletAllemande Left Neighbor x 2, (same person from do-si-so in A1)
bulletLadies Allemande Right 1+ 1/2

B2)

bulletBalance and Swing Partner


Make sure to remind people to wrap around the ends for the promenade in A2. I compare the "ring" to a rubber band. That image seems to help.

This dance was written on July 4th 1989 in the car on the way home from a Dawn Dance at which Tony Parkes called The Middlesex March" I enjoyed the figure and the pun for the single file promenade. I attempted to write down the dance as I remembered it . Unfortunately, after dancing all night, my memory was poor and I could not remember the dance very well. When I finally found a copy of Tony's Dance I realized this was a new one and it needed a new name. I call it The Brown Bag Reel because that was the only paper I could find when I wanted to write down the dance.

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Caught in the Act

by Donna Calhoun

duple, improper

A1)

bulletCircle Left
bulletAllemande Right Neighbor 1 + 1/2

A2)

bulletAllemande Left Next once (twice if music permits)
bulletWith original Neighbor, Right shoulder gypsy.
bulletEnd with the actives below the inactives. Active woman facing out, man facing in.)

B1)

bulletActives: Lady 'round two, Gent duck through. Gent 'round two, Lady duck through
bulletActive woman walks in a clockwise direction around the inactive couple above while the active man follows her until he can (and does!) cut through the inactive couple. The man now walks clockwise around the couple above, while the woman follows until she can and does cut through the couple.
bulletRemind the inactives to keep the set fairly tight or the actives won't have time to complete the chase figure.

B2)

bulletActives Balance and Swing



The name of this dance comes from the figures. The gent "catches" his partner flirting (gypsying) with another man and begins the chase. When she realizes that he too was flirting, the roles change. In the end they both get caught for the Balance and Swing.

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Highway Hypnosis

by Ralph Ball and Donna Calhoun

duple, improper

A1)

bulletAllemand Right Neighbor 1+ 1/2
bulletLeft Shoulder Gypsy Next Neighbor

A2)

bulletBalance and Swing Original Neighbor

B1)

bulletCircle Left 3/4
bulletSwing Partner

B2)

bulletLadies Chain 1/2
bulletLeft Hand Star (look for new Neighbor -- same as in gypsy)


While the experienced dancers seem to enjoy the sneak preview of their next neighbors, the gypsy with a new neighbor then returning to the original neighbor can cause some confusion for newer dancers.

End effects: the last time before you go out at the top or bottom of the set, the person you gypsy is your partner.

Written March 2, 1996. We were driving on the interstate late one night on our way home from a dance in Johnson City and decided to write a dance to keep us from falling asleep at the wheel. Unlike some dances which take weeks to write, this one fell into place in about 20 minutes.

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Updated on 4/1/97

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