Santa Fe dance weekend — practice party, youth, open mic, and English

Four events, all successful, so much love!

The weekend began on Friday 7/23/2010 with a youth contra calling practice party at Mia Bertelli’s, attended by Riley and Maddy Mullany, Lauren Lamont, Richard and Laurel Wilson, and me.  We developed a program of dancing and singing, each practiced calling dances, and learned from each other.  Mia discovered the challenges of teaching the pre-contra lesson.  Riley called his first contra and figured out quickly how he could improve his calling timing (keep an eye open for him calling more!).  Lauren and Maddy are already well on their way.  And Richard — how wonderful to show us clearer ways of teaching, direct us to the next thing we can work on, and demonstrate leadership and connection with the dancers.  Mia hosted Riley, Maddy and me for the night and we were treated to amazing crepes by Miles with fresh sheep’s milk ricotta cheese that Mia made on the spot.

The first youth dance and singing event (facebook) on Saturday 7/24/2010 2-5 pm was generously supported (made free) by FolkMADS.org and the Santa Fe Odd Fellows. Thanks to Bill Cooper of the IOOF for getting us in the hall at the last minute and setting up sound for us.  Callers were Maddy Mullany (16), Lauren Lamont (21), Mia Bertelli (20), and first-time callers Riley Mullany (14) and Abbey Schiffmiller (18).  Karina Wilson (25) played fiddle for us, accompanied by 3 of the 4 Mullanys (Mom Marj played, too).  Mia taught a Schottische and led singing in the middle of the afternoon, and at the end of dancing.  I was concerned there would only about 6 people there, but we started with 12 dancers and were up to 20-25 young people at the height of the afternoon. I was amazed, enlivened, and encouraged!  Everything was done by leaders 25 years and younger!  I helped facilitate by making introductions and helping with some planning, but we can thank the youth leaders in our community for the calling, music, and singing that led to such a wonderfully successful day.  Everyone would love to do it again!  People learned about the event mostly by word-of-mouth in the network of friends in Santa Fe, and many made efforts to get more people to come.  I have confidence another event will bring even more people!

Many people stayed for the potluck from 5-6 pm, and the singing from 6-7 pm.  If done again, I’d have the afternoon event a little later and the potluck a little later.

I was asked to host that evening’s contra dance open mic.  A few of our youth callers called another dance that evening (Mia, Lauren, and Abbey), as well as Bill Cooper, and I called several including one I wrote for Mia earlier that day, “Crepes with Ricotta“.  Victory Chicken played old-time southern tunes for us.  I’m feeling more confident in my calling, and loved working with the band.

Sunday was another first (for a long while), an English country dance in Santa Fe on Sunday 7/25/2010 2-5 pm that I organized with Bill Cooper.  Would people come to an afternoon ECD in Santa Fe in the summer?  I was worried again, but what a turn-out!  Noralyn Parsons called to more than 30 dancers with a 5-piece band (Gary Papenhagen, violin; Bo Olcott, acoustic guitar; Deb Bluestone, violin and viola; Phyllis Doleman, violin; Dave Faires, electric bass)!  I could not believe what a success it was.  Noralyn called very fun and accessible dances so that even first-time ECDers had a great time, and a couple waltz mixers.  People want to do it again and this event was again very encouraging for more SF ECD.

The Santa Fe and Albuquerque dance communities are vibrant, supportive of new projects, and show their support by committing, following through, and (most importantly) showing up! Sometimes I take risks and things don’t work out.  Sometimes many other people come along with me on those risks, and maybe they still don’t go right. And this weekend felt like a major risk — a new youth dance that I helped organize (with Riley Mullany), an evening open mic I hosted, an ECD I organized (with Bill Cooper), a potluck, a practice session I pulled people together for (thanks for hosting, Mia)!  But I was not alone.  The young callers and musicians created a program hoping young dancers would come, Noralyn Parsons and Gary Papenhagen’s band created an English program with the hopes of dancers, Karolyn Wilson helped create advertisements, Deb Brunt advertised it on the email list, Jane Phillips put it on the FolkMADS.org website, FolkMADS and IOOF sponsored the events, and I thank others who contributed to making the weekend a success.  Everyone must have believed enough that these new and uncertain events would be great because dancers came, had a wonderful time, and want more.

I want to help create opportunities for new leaders, and I am inspired by what we have already accomplished together.

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