WELCOME NEW DANCERS!

Hang in there! It can take some time and practice to be comfortable with all the moves, but we’ve all been there and are better for the experience. This is the place to post comments or questions about the dance, tecniques, or whatever else you might like to know. (And be sure to check back for responses.)

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3 Responses to “WELCOME NEW DANCERS!”

  1. Jeff Says:

    Is there a way to learn and practice the steps and moves before being put on the spot at the pre-dance shuffle. I’ve looked for a video or DVD and was unable to find one. I tend to get a little dislexic when the pressure is on and would just love to already kind of know what is going to happen.

  2. Dave Picray Says:

    Hi Jeff:

    I’m Dave, the blog moderator and a long time dancer.

    The best way to answer your question is to compare it to learning to swim. Someone can tell you what to do but you’ll learn fastest by jumping in the water and thrashing around–but with contra dancing you won’t die if you don’t get it right away. And you won’t even die of embarrassment, because we’ve all been where you are now and understand what it’s like to be starting out.

    We welcome new dancers so don’t be afraid to ask someone for help. If there are people sitting out a dance, maybe they can show you a few basic moves off to the side.

    I don’t know of a video, but I’ll ask around (unfortunately, not many people look at the blog). Many of the moves are exactly like those in square dancing so I’m sure you could find a video on that.

    But there are many more advanced moves that can only be learned by doing them with the group of four or more people–since (usually) one dances with their partner in a group of four and then progresses to another group of four. And there are moves that are very advanced so that many of we long-time dancers need to be taught how to do them.

    Also, every dance is new to the dancers because the caller determines the pattern or combination of moves. So, there is often chaos on the dance floor because even the experienced dancers don’t understand the particular order of moves that the caller is attempting to teach (and sometimes the caller makes a goof).

    So, don’t worry about not being an expert. Just laugh and let them know that you’re new to contra–but no need to apologize. And please don’t be offended if someone tries to help you by pushing you to where you should be–they’re just being helpful, although it can seem like they’re shoving you around (this used to bother me). The good thing about contra dancing is that it’s a repeating pattern so that if you just step back, you can jump back in and get caught up–and this happens a lot even with old time dancers.

    I hope that helps. Feel free to get back to me if I can be of more help. The best advice I can give is to hang in there, keep coming to the dances, and never be shy about asking for help.

    If you look me up at the next dance, I can show you some basic moves if you still need help. Just ask for me at the table (mention the blog), all the regulars know who I am.

    See you on the dance floor!

    Dave

  3. M.M Says:

    need more dances in Eugene

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