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TIPS FOR NEW DANCERS
Repeat after me: “It’s more important to have fun than to do it right.”
If you come with a date and both of you are new, wait a few dances before being partners. Instead, you and your date should get different partners but still line up in the same line. If you line up in the same line with your date, you’ll be dancing with each other a few times during the dance.
Ask an experienced dancer to dance. They’re here to help you have more fun. Experienced dancers enjoy dancing with new dancers. They can also introduce you to other experienced dancers. They can help you learn faster, especially with the trickier moves…..
Since contra is a communal dance, the norm is to accept someone’s invitation to dance unless sitting out. As a courtesy, we don’t decline one person’s invitation hoping for a better offer to come along. If you ask someone to dance they’ll say “yes”, unless they’re sitting out, so feel free to ask anyone to dance.
In contra dance, part of the culture is that people switch partners after each dance.
It’s expected that women can ask men to dance instead of just waiting to be asked.
The best way to get started is to just dive in. The dances feel simpler on the inside than they look on the outside. Saying “I’ll just watch the first few, then start” isn’t as fun.
Contra dance involves lots of spinning. If your partner is swinging too fast, just ask them to “Swing slowly.”
One way to avoid dizziness is to look at your partner’s eyes during a swing. If that’s uncomfortable, look at his/her nose or chin. If you look past your partner, you’ll get dizzy very quickly.
Contra dancers often smile and make a lot of eye contact. Don’t be alarmed if everyone’s smiling at you.
If you need help from your partner, just ask.
If there are more women than men, you may see two women dancing together. If you’re in a dance figure and you expect to find a man there but find a confident woman, odds are she’s dancing the man’s role instead of sitting out. Occasionally, there may be more men than women and you may see a man dancing the women’s role. Don’t panic. He may make an ugly women, but odds are he’ll be on time.
Whatever you do, don’t drop out in the middle of a dance. It causes complications for everyone in the line.
So, Smile…Relax…Be Playful….Have FUN!!!
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