Category Archives: dance

Erik and Karina teaching couples dance in CA in July

Last year (2010) a group of us younger folks (me, Karina and Laurel Wilson, Lauren Lamont, Mia Bertelli, and Zoe Kelly Linkletter) were invited out to a wonderful camp in California.  We had an amazing time and this year Karina and I are on staff teaching couples dance! BACDS American Dance and Music Week, Sunday-Friday, July 3–8, 2011 Waltz and Scandinavian couples dancing workshop These series of workshops led by Karina Wilson and Erik Erhardt on couples dances that often accompany an evening of contra dance, such as waltz, Scandinavian, polka, and others, will emphasize connecting with your partner and the music, becoming strong on the basic form of each dance, and developing a vocabulary of moves for variety and play. In the waltz series we will work on form and flow, clear (body) communication with a partner, getting in and out of positions, and stringing moves together into vignettes that delight.  In the Scandinavian series we will learn dances to accompany music in quadruple and duple meter (4/4 and 2/2) such as schottische, snoa, and polka, and triple meter (3/4 and 6/8) such as hambo, polska, and mazurka.  Each workshop will focus one or two dances.  For all dances, those who wish to become more “bidancual” (able to dance both gender roles) are very much encouraged to dance the less familiar role when they wish. Erik Erhardt instructs couples dancing in New Mexico before weekly contra dances and at dance camps.  His years of teaching experience, attention to detail, and ability to provide multiple explanations help the learning dancer understand, connect with the dance, and ultimately dance the dance.  Erik also calls contra, English, and squares, and helps create opportunities for youth leadership in the folk dance and music community, and is generally a positive leader on and off the floor. Growing up the daughter of a caller in the Contra and English Country dance community in the heart of New Mexico, Karina Wilson is not lacking in folk dance and couples dance exposure or knowledge. Formally trained in Haitian, West African, Zimbabwean, and Gumboot, she has tried her hand Latin couples dances, Swing, lindy, blues, Flaminco, afro-brazillian, stilt dance, modern, Balinese, Capoera, and samba. She is the co-choreographer for the Santa fe youth based All species day stilt troupe, and for Santa Fe DjunDjun dance. She has taught with the Santa Fe late nighters, a Salsa and swing group, and co teaches a waltz workshop with Erik Erhardt on a weekly basis. She currently dances with Moria Guinean dance troupe. With over 20 years of Classical violin experience and 15 years of playing for Contra and English country dances, she teaches Violin for the Santa Fe youth symphony and the Santa Fe concert association, and plays for English and Contra in her local and neighboring communities.
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Contra dance: Six 10s

Six 10s by Erik B. Erhardt, 2010.10.10 Type: Contra Formation: Duple-Improper Level: Int [Pulses Call] A1 ———– (4) Long lines, forward (4) Ladies roll NEW Nbr Gent to left on way back (8) Ladies Chain to Partner A2 ———– (8) Promenade across the Set, courtesy turn and Gent roll Lady to left (8) 1/2 Hey, Gents start by right B1 ———– (16) Partner balance and swing B2 ———– (8) Balance the ring and spin to the right (petronella) (8) Neighbor two-hand turn 1-1/2 to trade places, open into long lines Notes: A1 Ladies don’t often roll the gents away, so a short teaching moment is helpful — good weight, and pull into the ladies chain.  Also, from the LL the ladies need to roll their NEW neighbor gent.  Ladies may want to roll their old neighbors.  “Ladies right-hand roll” was a successful call. A2 The courtesy turn for the promenade is best without an under-arm twirl for the roll-away. Other Notes: Written on Oct 10, 2010 in morning at 10:10:10, give or take.
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Contra dance: Erik, the man I love: a Pinewoods bromance

Erik, the man I love: a Pinewoods bromance by Noah Segal and Erik B. Erhardt, 2010.09.01, cowritten at Pinewoods American week 2010 Duple improper, intermediate [Pulses Call] A1: 16 Ladies lead left-shoulder Hay but, Gents Ricochet 2nd time back to partner A2: 8 Partner Swing 2 Gents Left hand pull-by 2 Nbr R turn 1/4 and pull-by on diagonal/up-down the set 4 Ladies Ricochet with new Nbr Lady while Gents shift Left and catch (progression) B1: 16 New Nbr Sw B2: 6 Cir L 3/4 4 G roll Part lady R, gent sashay left (continue moving in Cir L) 6 Cir L 3/4 (until on side w/Nbr) Dance Notes:
  • A1 starts by facing across set, ladies in hay go over and back and gents go over and ricochet to stay on far side with partner. A2 progression is tricky part — ladies will progress and ricochet with new nbr lady on close right diagonal. B1 enjoy the long nbr swing. B2 rollaway is opposite the usual direction; gent keeps moving as he rolls his partner lady.
  • Theme is ricochets and smooth catching. A ricochet is a two-hand push-off. In this dance the ricochets happen with a same-gender neighbor and has you effectively trade places with the person on the side of the set to be caught and swung.
  • There is a lot of circling left, so it’s possible that some dancers may become a little dizzy.  Keeping their heads more vertical will help them stay less dizzy.
  • This dance started with the question to Noah, “Have you ever written a dance?” He said no, but rattled off what a lovely smooth dance has in it for him. Then he thought wouldn’t it be wonderful to have this ricochet as a component of a dance instead of just a flurish. Thus began the collaboration.
  • Yes, the name is ridiculous! Gaye Fifer said I needed to meet Noah, and she was so right!

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Contra dance: Raspberry Smoothie

Raspberry Smoothie by Erik B. Erhardt, 2010.07.25 Becket, intermediate [Pulses Call] A1: 8 Neighbor Right-hand Balance and Box the Knat (hold hand and place it into …) 8 Right-hand star 1 (lady partner in lead) A2: 4 Partner Right Allemande 3/4 4 Gents Left Allemande 1/2 in center 8 Neighbor Swing B1: 8 Ladies Do-sa-do 1-1/2 8 Partner Swing B2: 8 Ring Balance, Petronella turn one place to the right 4 Ring Balance 2 Pass through up-and-down 2 New Neighbors Right hand Star 1/4 (R hand to opposite gender new neighbor only to turn to face across) Dance Notes:
  • Smooth, swinging, then balancing.
  • This dance is for Mia Bertelli who makes an amazing smoothie with raspberries from her garden, and who likes smooth transitions and lots of swinging.
  • Not yet danced.

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Contra dance: Crepes with Ricotta

Crepes with Ricotta by Erik B. Erhardt, 2010.07.24 Duple Improper, intermediate Start in wavy lines, gents in middle with L, R to partner. [Pulses Call] A1: 8 Balance waves (R, L), slide Right (as in Rory O’More) 8 Balance waves (L, R), walk forward to new wave line (with shadow in left hand) A2: 8 Balance waves (L, R), slide Left 4 Balance waves (R, L) 4 Shadow Right Allemande 1/2, pass up-and-down to Partner B1: 16 Partner Balance & Swing, end facing across B2: 8 Circle Left 3/4, California twirl to new neighbors 4 Gents pass Right shoulders, walk Right toward your partner 4 Partner Right Allemande 3/4 to form wavy lines Dance Notes:
  • Consider starting the teaching at B2 and circle 1/2 since the B2 transition is the only tricky part of the dance.
  • Interaction is mostly with partner and shadow.
  • This dance is for Mia Bertelli, written and called as part of a Santa Fe contra dance weekend.
  • Danced the day it was written.

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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 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 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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A first substantial contra dance calling experience

At the May 1st, 2010, Albuquerque contra dance, scheduled caller Richard Wilson handed me a special opportunity to call most of the evening.  The evening started with Karina Wilson and I leading a waltzing workshop.  Richard called the initial dance, gave me the rest of the first half, then Karina called the first dance of the second half and I called the rest.  Something that worked well was using the circle waltz mixer we taught in the workshop to begin the waltz ending the first half.  The mixer went around 5 or so times and by chance our original partner ended right in our hand, then the circle broke apart into a free waltz. It’s a very special experience to come face-to-face with the things I can’t do while doing the very best I can.  It’s me failing for the greater good, and to fail in public for the dancers is a powerful opportunity. I’ve felt wonderful support from the people in the contra dance and music community, and for them I want to do better at everything. I’ve performed a postmortem on the dances I called using a program planning matrix and learned a lot of things I wish I had known before the dance.  I did well to offer a lot of variety, we did a circle mixer, a scatter promenade mixer, a triple minor, the circle waltz, and tried to start the second half with a polska (but few people know how to dance the Scandinavian dances).  There is plenty I would improve.  I would not do a mixer in the second half again.  There were 4 dances without a partner swing, and one dance without any swing — ouch!  There were 5 dances with circling, 5 with chains, 5 with stars, 2 with down four in line, and an overwhelming 7 with do-si-dos.  The dances were overwhelmingly easy.  The matrix is really valuable for planning variety and for seeing all the I could have done better, just in terms of dance selection.  This selection of dances would have been better suited for lesser-experienced dancers, but not the Albuquerque regulars. What next?  Call more, fail more, learn more, dance more, laugh more, love more. The steps I’ll take until I learn something better are these.  1) Consider the dancers and musicians who will be at the dance.  2) Using the program planning matrix to improve variety and see how to build a program of dances that introduces new calls throughout the dance.  3) Practice calling with recorded music to decide on the words to use to teach and while calling.  4) Have some back-up dances if I need to modify for easier or slower-paced dances or up the complexity or pace.  5) Say less, do more, be brave and confident, trust and love the dancers, honor the musicians, sound crew, and everyone else who makes the dance great, ask for critical feedback to learn and improve, reflect, and go do it again! Thanks to fiddler Gary Papenhagen and his band for their wonderful support of the waltzing workshops and making calling with them a fun and easy partnership.  And thanks, FolkMADS!
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Laurus nobilis, now and again, a contra dance

Laurus nobilis, now and again

by Erik B. Erhardt, 2010.03.04 Indecent (inactives cross) [Pulses Call] A1: 4 (Old neighbors) Left-hand star 1/2 6 (New, current neighbors) Right-hand Star 3/4 6 Partner allamande 1/2 (slow) A2: 8 Balance ring, Petronella turn (to the right) 4 Circle Right 1/2 4 (with Ladies in lead) couples (with partner) weave Right around neighbors, then Left to connect with next neighbors B1: 8 (Next neighbors) Circle Left 3/4 8 Pass the ocean wave (ladies turn 1/2 by left, gents cross set to connect right hands with partner to form a wavy line), Balance the wave B2: 8 Ladies left-hand turn 1 time around, while Gents orbit 1/2 8 Pass up and down the line to Do-si-do (with current neighbors) Dance Notes:
  • This dance starts with old neighbors, moves to current neighbors, previews next neighbors, and ends with current neighbors.
  • Jig about 110 bpm would be fine slow and smooth tempo.
  • This dance is for Laurel Wilson.
  • Danced 3/14/2010 and this dance is a bit too busy to actually dance, so I’ll write another for Laurel.

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Two inches off the ground, a contra dance

Two inches off the ground

by Erik B. Erhardt, 2010.03.03 Proper [Pulses Call] A1: 8 Symmetric Do-si-do, Actives together, then Inactives 8 Actives Figure-8 down A2: 8 (Left shoulder) Pass through (to maintain eye-contact), hands-off Courtesy turn (as in Money Musk) 8 Mad robin, Gents in first B1: 8 Gents begin Right-shoulder Hay 1/2 2 Gents cross by Left shoulder 6 Left-shoulder (partner) Gypsy 1 time B2: 8 Single-file Promenade 3/4, Gents in lead (to Left) [Gents, draw the Lady to you with your eyes] 8 Actives Swing, face down (stay connected for do-si-do), while Inactives 2-hand turn 1/2 (left) Dance Notes:
  • This dance is eyes-strong and you don’t get to touch anyone until B2.2, and then, only your partner.
  • This dance is for Karina Wilson.
  • Not yet danced.

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Catch and Release and Catch, a contra dance

Catch and Release and Catch

by Erik B. Erhardt, 2010.02.18 Becket, double progression to the right (reverse Becket progression) Music: slow tempo, flowing through B1, can have punctuation on beat 4 in four measures in B2 [Pulses Call] A1: 4 (with Neighbors across,) Box the Gnat 6 (into) Right-hand (wrist-grip) Star 3/4 6 (Gents turn over right shoulder,) Neighbor swing A2: (catch) 8 (with Partner across, Ladies pass left shoulder taking right hand with Partner) Gents Lasso Ladies [Partner], high then low (Ladies walk around twice, letting hands go behind the Gent’s back on second time around) 8 (into) Partner gypsy 1-1/2 (lades end on left, facing in) B1: (release and catch) 8 1/2 Poussette (Ladies join both hands with Neighbor Gent, then push and pull the Gents as the Ladies move as a do-si-do relative to each other) 8 (while Ladies are backing up, gents catch partner with right hand and) Partner Swing B2: 16 Zipper (across right-hand pull-by (no courtesy turn), turn (or hop) alone to right and with same-gender diagonal one person left pull-by, face in and repeat; end effect is to not pull by if no one on is on diagonal) Dance Notes:
  • Many dancers may be unfamiliar with a Lasso (Richard Wilson), Poussette (English country dance), and Zipper.  Therefore, this dance may take a while to teach.
  • Teaching Zipper:  It is a series of pull-bys with four people.  The person straight across is #1, to their immediate right is #2, and #3 and #4 are the next two to the right.  Now pull-by across and use the held hand as a pivot, turn (or hop) to right and look on the close left diagonal for that next person with the left hand.
  • The first three quarters of the dance turns to the right, so the zipper is a welcome relief to stop turning.
  • I wrote this dance in the car driving to Stellar Days and Nights, 2010 talking about dance with Richard Wilson who mentioned Lasso and Poussette as rare moves.  I called the dance there two days later and I thank Mary Devlin for providing calling feedback.
  • This dance is for Tara Schneider who I befriended at Berea Christmas Country Dance School, Dec 2009.

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