Our annual callers gathering is a opportunity for callers and people interested in calling to get together and “workshop” dances in a friendly and supportive environment. We choose a topic to focus on for the day and work with each other to learn from the dances and from the collective experiences brought to the gathering by the participants.
While many callers’ workshops use a teacher/student model, where a particularly skilled caller is brought in to teach and share his or her experiences with the group, we have taken a different approach. The CNY Callers Gathering brings callers of all levels of experience together so that we can learn from the material we’re studying and from each other in a more egalitarian way. The focus is on the topic and the dances that relate to it, and not directly on skill-building. But we do learn much through the topic, and also enjoy connecting with other callers from all over New York State and beyond to “talk shop” to our hearts’ content.
Our next gathering is scheduled for March 7, 2015. The theme is “100 Years of CDSS.” Eileen Nicholson and Eric Anderson will provide the music. We are excited that our annual gathering will be part of the year-long celebration of the Country Dance and Song Society’s centennial. We will be delving into a wonderful book of dances that CDSS published for its 75th anniversary called Legacy: 50 Years of Dance and Song.
The two gatherings related to contra chestnuts contributed to the creation of an online bank of annotated videos to illustrate these classic dances. Some of the videos were made at our gathering, thanks to a grant from The Country Dance and Song Society (CDSS).
For questions about the gathering, contact David Smukler.
Themes from Past Gatherings
The first annual CNY Callers Gathering in 2002 was one of three such gatherings nationwide where a group of callers attempted to dance all 41 of Ted Sannella’s triplets.
- 2002- Ted’s Triplet Marathon (the button read: “I was there”)
- 2003- Favorite Dances Exchange (like a Christmas cookie exchange)
- 2004- “Cracking Chestnuts” (classic American contra dances)
- 2005- “Beyond Hands Four” (dances in unusual formations)
- 2006- ONS Dances (one night stands: family dances, parties, etc.)
- 2007- Dances of Gene Hubert (honoring his contributions)
- 2008- English Country Dancing (for many of us, an ESL workshop)
- 2009- “Living Room Dances” (dances for small numbers of dancers)
- 2010- “Zesty Contras” (exploring Larry Jennings’ game-changing book from 1983)
- 2011- “Square ’em Up!” (contra callers taking the plunge into calling squares)
- 2012- “Back of the Box” dances (the dances we keep looking at and are unwilling to discard, but somehow don’t get put into the programs we plan)
- 2013- “Cracking Chestnuts Revisited” (during which we videotaped several lesser known classic dances, and grew inordinately fond of the same sex right and left through)
- 2014- “Exploring the Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend Syllabi” (diving into over a quarter century’s worth of the syllabi that document a dance event that bridges old and new)