Christmas Country Dance School

2007 Class Descriptions

Period I 9:00 – 10:00 a.m.

  1. Contras with A Twist (A)
    These contras will thrill and challenge the most experienced contra dancer with wild geography, surprising figures, tricky transitions, and new time signatures.  Each day will feature a crooked contra, a chestnut, an almost impossible dance, and a miscellaneous dance you won’t likely see at home.  No-walkthrough dances will fill in when brains just can’t stand any more boggling.  Not for the faint of heart.
  2. English Step Dance: “Marley Softshoe” Clog Dance (U)
    This dance is a wonderful example of a routine that combines elements from two styles of step-dance that flourished on the American stage during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  The “essence” or “softshoe” style step-dances were characterized by a “classy” relaxed stance, slow triplet rhythms, gesturing arms, and movement about the stage.  These were developed on the American stage in the late nineteenth century and contrasted sharpley with the intense, at times lenthly, at times fast-and-furiuos, wooden-soled shoe or “clog dances.”  The latter were largely characterized by an upright stance, still upper body, and on-the-spot dancing focused on the making of percussive rhythms with the feet.  This style of clog dancing came to the American stage from England early in the nineteenth century and from mid-century flourished here.  Kari Smith has been privileged to learn the Marley Softshoe from Anna Marley of Rockville, CT, whose clog dancing career began in the 1920s when her clog dancing father created a family vaudeville act.  Come to dance and explore the American history of English-style clog dancing.  Wear clogs, hard-soled or tap shoes.
  3. Some Assembly (U)
    Greet the sun with a warm-up hour of English Country dancing each morning. We’ll mix old and new, including some of Jenny’s dances.
  4. Calling Contra Dances (U)
    Callers make it happen! Join our fun and supportive cabal to learn or expand your skills for leading successful dances, via exercises, discussion, handouts, and practice. Topics include rhythm and timing, word choice, programming, walkthroughs, choreography, working with the band, working with beginners, and your questions.
  5. Intermediate/Advanced Recorder (I/A)
    This class is open to players who can play beyond soprano and alto. Some experience in tenor and bass recorders welcome. Focus on traditional repertory and sacred music, plus new works to try out.
  6. Harmony Singing by Ear (U)
    An opportunity to develop harmony singing in an informal but informative way.  Aubrey and Elwood will present intuitive, by-ear techniques to work out harmony parts, encouraging participants to tap into what they already know about harmony singing.  They will provide simple folk songs to get started and get more complex as the group wishes.  Participants can also bring their own songs and musical questions. (All Levels)
  7. Beginning Rapper Sword (B)
    Have fun learning a traditional linked-sword dance style.  Basic rapper sword stepping, figures, and styling will be covered.  Don’t worry, the swords aren’t sharp!

Period II 10:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.

  1. Advanced English Country Dance (A)
  2. Intermediate English Country Dance (I)
    We’ll dance a wide variety of well-loved dances, enjoying the figures, the music, and dancing together.
  3. Beginning English Country Dance (B)
    This class will introduce dancers to English Dancing, stressing social pleasure, basic recurring figures and style. Through easy dances, we will progressively build a repertoire during the week. Basic waltz will also be taught.
  4. New England Fiddle (U)
    This workshop is open to fiddlers of all levels (beginning to advanced). We will start with a brief overview of New England fiddling, its stylistic elements, and its history with musical examples. The group will then learn tunes from the traditional repertoire by ear. We will also take time throughout the week to go over specific ornaments, and chords. All participants are required to bring a tape recorder or recording equivalent.
  5. Harmonica: Songs & Fiddle Tunes (B/I)
    Here is your opportunity to explore single notes, chords, and tunes on
    the ‘D’ harmonica. The harmonica is a versatile and fun instrument that
    can serve as a wonderful accompaniment or stand mellifluously on its
    own. ‘D’ harmonicas will be available for $10 or students may bring their
    own.
  6. Basketry, Session One ($10 material fee payable at class) (U)
    Students will be able to choose from traditional or non-traditional styles of baskets. All baskets will be small enough to finish in class time and some students may have time to make more than one.  We will be using local basket materials gathered and processed by the instructor.  There will be a $10 material fee charged to each student, to be paid at class time to the instructor.
  7. Intermediate Appalachian Clogging (I)
    Drawing from basic steps of North American clogging, Aubrey and the class will first take an inventory of steps the group knows, then throughout the week, happily explore freestyle and a cappella clogging, improvisation, step transitions, rhythmic patterns and “stories”, and choreography. The class will culminate with a group performance.

Period III 11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

  1. Morningsong & Stories
    This is a time for the entire CCDS community to gather together for music and fellowship. Participants are welcome to share songs or stories, or just come for the joy of singing together.

Period IV 1:45 – 2:45 p.m.

  1. Fun & Easy Contras (B/I)
    Newer dancers will find a fun and well-paced welcome to contra dancing while experienced dancers will find a week of excellent dances with a variety of forms and figures. We’ll all enjoy waking up in fine company and dancing together to wonderful music.
  2. Playparty & Singing Games (U)
    Singing games and play parties are opportunities for silliness, dancing, and lessons in history.  In this class we will explore a variety of play parties from the American South, and discuss ways that they can be used as an introduction to traditional Appalachian culture and dance.  Please bring your favorite singing games to share with the class, too!
  3. Longsword Dancing (U)
  4. Beginning Dance Band (B)
    All instruments and abilities welcome!  We’ll play reels, jigs and waltzes and discover what makes dancers want to move.  In between playing tunes, we’ll develop creative and exciting arrangements.  Some learning will be by ear, but sheet music will be provided.
  5. Beginning Recorder (B)
    This is a basic class. Designed for beginners. Will teach you all the fundamentals to get your technique up to par. Details include better breathing, articulation, exercises and of course an appealing repertoire to test those brushed up skills upon.
  6. Stories with Music (I/A)
    Telling stories is one thing – telling them with musical accompaniment is another!  In this workshop (for anyone, musicians, non-musicians, in between), we will share tips and techniques for using music in stories.  As long as you are comfortable telling a story, you will be comfortable in this workshop.  You don’t need an instrument either – we’ll have instruments available for participants to explore.  Come play with us!
  7. Square Dance Calling (U)
    Anyone can call a square – hands-on ways to make it enjoyable for the caller and the dancers.
  8. Beaded Shaped Bracelet  ($10 material fee payable at class) (U)
    Shaped Bracelets are made by varying the number of beads in each row.  Color combinations are easy to exchange and there is a lesson on how to select beads for the bracelet.  All notions are included with directions.
  9. Mummers Play (U)
    Help create this year’s original, improvised seasonal play in the mumming tradition with leader extraordinaire, John Mayberry. No acting experience necessary. Wear comfortable clothes, and bring a pencil and paper. Who knows what we will end up with, but it will be large, loud, and lively!
  10. Beginning Freestyle Clogging (B)
    Have fun learning basic old-time clogging.  Steps and styling will covered as well as how to accompany old-time tunes.  Become part of the music!

Period V 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.

  1. Dance Jam (U)
    For dancers, callers, and musicians who enjoy DIY (do-it-yourself) dancing and can’t bear to wait until 11:00pm.  Jenny will coordinate the dance calling, come play with Al White.  We’ll dance a mixture of English, Contra, and Square, favoring dances and tunes which can be picked up quickly by all who come.
  2. Kentucky Set Running (I)
  3. English Dance Favorites (U)
  4. Mountain Dulcimer (B/I)
    The many possibilities of the mountain dulcimer are part of the beauty of this extraordinary Appalachian instrument. Moving at a comfortable pace appropriate for the group, the dulcimer will be approached from a number of angles during this exciting class: singing and playing simple chords, basic tunings, using the traditional noter, strumming and fingerpicking, and any other topics that may “happen” as a result of group chemistry.  Participants will leave the class amazed with themselves and able to play new songs and tunes!  Please bring a dulcimer in good playing condition.
  5. Story Styles, Story Types (B)
    A fun overview of different styles of stories – ghost stories, fairy tales, tall tales to name but a few – where we will touch upon the characteristics of different story types and explore ways to tell them effectively.
  6. Hambone & Body Percussion (U)
    Join in for a face-slapping good time as you learn the basics of hambone and body percussion.  We will also do some French Canadian foot clogging and experiment with overtone singing.    There are more ways to make music with your body than you can possibly imagine!
  7. Beginning Temari Craft  ($10 material fee payable at class) (B)
    Temari is an ancient Japanese handcraft of first thread-wrapping a ball and then embroidering colorful designs across the surface.  You will learn to create the base, some basic stitching techniques and different patterns that can open up endless design possibilities.
  8. Basketry, Session Two ($10 material fee payable at class) (U)
    Students will be able to choose from traditional or non-traditional styles of baskets. All baskets will be small enough to finish in class time and some students may have time to make more than one.  We will be using local basket materials gathered and processed by the instructor.  There will be a $10 material fee charged to each student, to be paid at class time to the instructor.
  9. Cotswold Morris: Ilmington (U)
    Morris is tremendous fun, and the dances from Ilmington particularly so. All are welcome; the dances are accessible for newcomers and interesting for experienced dancers. We’ll learn some of the best traditional dances and possibly a recently composed dance or two. Wear athletic shoes and plan on a week of fine Morris fun.

Period VI 4:15 – 5:15 p.m.

  • Squares For All (U)
    Squares for all – squares from different traditions and styles – making your square tight and fun.
  • Appalachian Dance (U)
    These “Sets” are the traditional squares that evolved in the hills of Eastern Kentucky and the surrounding region.  Usually danced in small circles of 4 – 6 couples, the figures can be easily followed without formal teaching, thereby letting the dancers focus on the fun and satisfaction of dancing together.
  • Garland Dance (U)
    The garland is an extremely wonderful dance implement – it makes the dancer’s frame dramatically larger and describes the shapes of formations and movement in a visually compelling way.  In this class we will dance a variety of garland dances, in a variety of styles, with special attention to the use of the garland to highlight choreography.
  • Advanced Dance Band Bonanza! (I/A)
    For intermediate and advanced musicians.  We’ll play reels, jigs and waltzes and discover what makes dancers want to move.  In between playing tunes, we’ll develop creative and exciting arrangements, working with both melody and rhythm players to find what works best for dancing.  Expect to learn by ear, but sheet music will be provided.  We will prepare and practice material to play for late-night dance parties, and attendance at both is encouraged.
  • Playing the Jaws Harp (U)
    If you really want to master the ins and outs of this amazing instrument, this is the course to take. Instruments will be available and you will learn not only how to get started sound-wise but will learn all the tricks of the trade with special effects, and mastering the art of playing solo tunes.
  • Songs of the Carter Family (U)
    Explore the wonders of this early pioneering American country music
    group. We will learn a variety of Carter Family songs with simple chord
    progressions that can be adapted to many instruments.  Bring your voice
    and the instrument of your choice.  Stories and anecdotes are welcome.
    It is helpful to know basic chords.  All voices, instruments, levels.
  • Intermediate Temari Craft  ($10 material fee payable at class) (I)
    Ready to take temari to another level?  You will learn a more complex division of the ball that will lead to even more intricate and fascinating designs.   This class is suitable for people who have had the Beginning Temari class at Dance School or who have learned temari basics elsewhere.
  • Advanced Rapper Sword (I/A)
    This class will create a rapper dance from manuscript, video, and personal sources.  The focus of the class will be on combining modern figures with the more traditional to create new and exciting combinations.  Dancers with previous rapper experience are welcome.  Please wear hard-soled shoes to class.

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