Band and Caller Information

Congratulations! You've been invited to play or call for our dance! If this is your first time (or if you want a refresher), here's the rundown of how Round Hill organizes each dance. If you are a caller or a band and would like to perform at Round Hill, please contact Oliver Gaffney.

Logistics:

The dance is at the Stamford Senior Center, 888 Washington Boulevard, Stamford, CT. Our Directions page can get you there from Interstate 95, the Merritt Parkway, Metro-North, etc. We do offer rides to and from the train station if you are coming in by train.

Out-of-state callers and bands can request lodging for the night provided that one of our dancers can host you. If you need this accommodation, please indicate it in your booking request email as far in advance of the dance as possible.

In terms of arrival time and the flow of the evening:

  • The dance runs 7:30-10:30 with a 15 minute beginners workshop ~7:15-7:30 and a 15 minute break from 9:00-9:15. 

  • The hall opens at 6:30 unless otherwise indicated. Please plan to eat dinner before you arrive, and be ready for sound check at 7:00.

  • The hall closes at 11:00. Please time the last waltz to be done by 10:30 so we have time to put everything away and clean up the hall before locking up for the night.

Sound:

We have a full sound system including a Mackie 808S 8-Channel Stereo Powered Mixer, a monitor board, two (2) stand-mounted speakers, and numerous microphones, mic stands, and auxiliary cords. An experienced volunteer will set up the equipment for you and help balance the levels of each musician against the caller. Adjustments, if needed, will be made during the dance.

Our microphone are wired, so callers should plan accordingly.

 

If you have a special setup such as a wireless mic or amplifier, we can accommodate you. The Mackie 808S has phantom power if you need it. If you want to be included or excluded from the monitor, we are happy to set that up for you.

We leave it up to the caller and band to coordinate the tune and dance selections. If you would like to exchange contact information, please reach out to Oliver Gaffney in advance of the dance and he will help connect everyone.

Beginner's Workshop

Round Hill's experience level trends towards more beginner dancers which makes having a lesson very important.

 

There is some give and take on when to begin based on when a critical mass of beginners arrive, etc. We sometimes start the main dance slightly later if it seems that folks are delayed due to traffic, weather, or other factors.

We like to emphasize the following ideas during our lesson:

  • That it's okay to make mistakes -- even experienced dancers mess up too. Emphasis moving on to the next figure rather than trying to catch. Better never than late!

  • If you make a mistake, your neighbor or partner is there to help you.

  • Anyone can ask anyone to dance -- and that anyone can dance any role.

  • How to politely decline a dance invitation. There is no obligation to dance with someone.

  • Flourishes are optional, and teach how to decline them.

  • Dancers can reach out to folks with yellow RHCD pins to report unsafe or unseemly behavior at the dance.

Our most successful lessons focus on just a few basic moves such as the circles, allemandes, chains, and swing. More complicated figures seem to be more successful if taught as part of a particular dance walkthrough during the course of the evening. Please communicate how the caller connects the musical "beats" to the dance "steps" in a given figure as not all of our dancers make this connection right away. 

Crowd:

Our attendance has been averaging 30-40 people for the 2019 season. The hall can accommodate two (2) lines of approximately 12-14 couples in each line. We leave it up to the caller to determine whether to call for one line or two based on crowd size and the nature of the dance.

There are some prominent columns in the middle of hall which may limit certain types of wide figures. 

Our new venue has AC! We will also provide fans to help with cooling as spaces allows.

Our dances are primarily contras though callers may elect to call a square or two if they so choose. Square dances, if chosen, should be on the simpler side with figures that are already known to contra dancers. Please also coordinate with the band to make sure that they have a square dance tune (or set) that they can play. We also encourage you to call a mixer during the evening to help people meet and dance with new faces. "La Bastringue" or a similar circle dance would be suitable.

We encourage the caller to give short, light, frequent, and humorous messages encouraging etiquette, safety, welcoming behavior, and dancing with new people. Ideas for topics:

  • Asking new people to dance.

  • Dancing in control -- and being aware of other dancers around you.

  • Adjusting your dancing to make your partner/neighbor more comfortable.

  • Dancing with beginners (guide them into the next move, help without words, don't force embellishments, etc).

  • Reinforcing that dancers can reach out to folks with yellow RHCD pins to report unsafe or unseemly behavior at the dance.

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Dance Roles and Gender:

Our dance uses traditional role names, "Gent" and "Lady". However, we encourage our dancers to switch roles as well as form same-gender couples if the traditional male and female ratio is unequal so that nobody that wants to dance has to sit out. We provide optional strips of cloth for dancers to adorn themselves with to help new dancers recognize a role-switch or same-gender couple, but by no means is it required.

We do not have any special names for figures. Callers can elect to use terms that are comfortable to them as long as they explain them to the dancers.

Misc:

The dance organizers will take pictures and video of the event for inclusion on this website, our Facebook page, or other promotional materials. If you do not wish to be included, please kindly let us know and will will refrain from including you in any media capture.

 

Dancers bring goodies for a dessert potluck at the break. You don't have to contribute, but you're welcome to eat.

We give announcements before the contra prior to the break waltz. One of the organizers will approach the caller to confirm. Please feel welcome to advertise other contra dances, events, etc with which you are involved by bringing flyers to share.

We appreciate the hard work that our bands and callers provide that make the dance possible. Compensation, unless otherwise other arrangements have been made, will consist of the following:

  • Callers: $75 per 3-hour contra dance event

  • Bands: $75 per musician, up to $225 for the entire band. for a three-hour contra dance event. Larger bands (4 or more) will split the $225 among themselves

  • Compensation will be provided at the mid-dance break in the form of cash

 

© 2019 by Round Hill Country Dances