Callers Gathering

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 2, 2013. We will be repeating a theme for the first time: Cracking Chestnuts. We’ll use the book “Cracking Chestnuts” as a basis for the day. (Registrants can purchase the book from CDSS at a deep discount.) A chestnuts “ball,” open to the public, will follow the workshop day. We’ll also be videotaping during the workshop and the evening dance as part of a project to create companion videos for the book.

For details or to register, please contact Sarah VanNorstrand.

Themes from Past Gatherings

  • 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)