I think the distinction between a contra dance and other longways set
dances is actually a pretty blurry line that is primarily a function of
time, place and convention. By our current convention, contras have become
primarily longways dances 64 counts long, usually danced to 32 bar reels or
jigs. Most waltzes (but certainly not all) are also 32 bars, but that is 96
counts. To do a contra in waltz time, the footfalls have to be adapted to
the music in some way, at least if you want it to have any kind of
satisfactory feel.

One of the ways, at least on this side of the pond, we designate the
difference is we refer dances with 64 counts danced to square reels and
jigs with partner/neighbor swings as contra dances. When we vary the
length, meter, or remove the swings, we call then English country dances.
;-)

One of the distinguishing features of modern contra dances is that they do
not have any footwork. While most contra dancers add a buzz step for the
swing, the whole dance can be done with a walking step. There is no
skipping, setting, rigadoons or the like. what we refer to as English
dances can have those features. As Tony pointed out, the 3/4  time music
present a different challenge in a swing, as it adds a different element of
footwork.

Bob



On Wed, Aug 9, 2017 at 5:25 AM, Robert Green via Callers <
callers@lists.sharedweight.net> wrote:

> Of course you are correct that it is a "regular" contra. There is nothing
> that forces the dance to be done in waltz time, only my intent makes it a
> waltz contra. I give a little of the back story in this video of the maiden
> voyage of the dance.
>
> http://youtu.be/PXwAAASyrSE
> I don't have any of the teach in the video, but like Ric, I  had them
> practicing the swing  in waltz time. I demoed how to do it with alternating
> feet, so yes,  it added about a minute and a half to the walk-through. I
> will sometimes do it as the last dance of the first half with the
> instruction, "Find a partner for a waltz and line up for a contra". The
> last time thru at the end of the partner swing, the call is, "Free waltz
> with your partner!"
>
> Here is the dance done to a 4/4 tune:
> http://youtu.be/Xgbw3ID-RBU
>
> Sometimes you push her envelope....  ;-)
>
> Bob Green
> St. Louis
>
>
> Sent from my iPad
>
> On Aug 8, 2017, at 2:00 PM, Tony Parkes via Callers <
> callers@lists.sharedweight.net> wrote:
>
> Ric, that looks more like a normal contra than a waltz contra to me. Can
> you share your experience of swinging, or teaching a swing, to waltz music?
>
>
>
> Thanks…
>
> Tony
>
>
>
> Tony Parkes
>
> Billerica, Mass.
>
> www.hands4.com
>
> New book! Square Dance Calling: An Old Art for a New Century
>
> (to be published real soon)
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> *From:* Callers [mailto:callers-boun...@lists.sharedweight.net
> <callers-boun...@lists.sharedweight.net>] *On Behalf Of *Ric Goldman -
> Letsdance via Callers
> *Sent:* Tuesday, August 8, 2017 2:44 PM
> *To:* 'Dugan Murphy' <du...@duganmurphy.com>; 'Callers List Serve' <
> call...@sharedweight.net>
> *Subject:* Re: [Callers] Waltz-Time Contra Choreography
>
>
>
> Hi Dugan,
>
>
>
> One of my favorites is Bob Green’s *Alison Wonderland*, (improper):
>
> A1           1-8          Nbrs balance + swing
>
> A2           1-4          Circle L ¾
>
>                 5-8          Ptnr swing
>
> B1           1-4          Gents star promenade 1x*
>
>                 5-8          Butterfly twirl
>
> B2           1-4          Women chain to Nbr
>
>                 5-8          Long lines fwd + back
>
> ** Consider gents linking elbows to get into this.*
>
>
>
> Thanx, Ric Goldman
>
>
>
> *From:* Callers [mailto:callers-boun...@lists.sharedweight.net
> <callers-boun...@lists.sharedweight.net>] *On Behalf Of *Dugan Murphy via
> Callers
> *Sent:* Tuesday, August 08, 2017 11:02 AM
> *To:* Callers List Serve <call...@sharedweight.net>
> *Subject:* [Callers] Waltz-Time Contra Choreography
>
>
>
> Do you have a favorite contra dance written to fit a waltz tune?  I danced
> one once many years ago and haven't thought much about it since, though it
> was pretty special.
>
>
>
> Thank you in advance for sharing some choreography!
>
>
>
> Dugan Murphy
>
> Portland, Maine
> dugan at duganmurphy.com
>
> www.DuganMurphy.com
>
> www.PortlandIntownContraDance.com
>
> www.NufSed.consulting
>
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