Tips for learning to folk dance
Courtesy of http://www.kansasfolk.org/folkdance/
OK, weight on the left. And ---
Here are some ideas about how to enhance the process of learning international folk dancing.
- Come early, come often. Research shows that what really counts is muscle memory - doing the same movements over and over again. How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice.
- Pick 5 to 10 dances that you really like (the ones where you say to yourself as it ends: "I liked this dance!" Go over to the program book and see what dance it was, or ask someone. Keep a list. Request "your"; dances often (programmers LIKE requests). Get the music - play it in the car. When you can dance your dances while talking to a friend in the line, you've got it! it's time to pick the next 10 dances.
- Tune into the steps. Identify and work on some basic figures: grapevine, step-hop, 1-2-3, pas-de-bas, lift-step etc. Once you can recognize and do this dance "language", you can master any dance fairly quickly because you can recognize the sequences.
- Line strategies for intermediate to advanced dances: Once a dance has started (while you're hanging back to see if you know it) join in the middle. The first 3-4 spots in a dance line are where the "hotshots" will congregate to do extra variations. If you need to concentrate on steps or are unsure of the dance, the middle section is good. The end is OK, but you may feel "dragged" (and may, without meaning to, drag the line).
- NEVER HESITATE TO GET IN THE LINE - the longest journey begins with a single step-hop. BUT - be aware that on more complicated dances, the dance is more fun for everyone if you're able to move in the line of direction! One way to work on steps is to dance behind the line. Another is to pick a dance you really, really want to learn, and ask that it be taught.
- Oh yes, and don't forget ... Come early, come often!
- Review the dance and music version ahead of time
- Practice “teaching” the steps aloud—even develop cue card
- Check out the history behind the dance, where it’s from, the correction pronunciation
- At the teaching session, let the class hear (and preferably see) the dance once
- Teach the dance in segments. Longer or more difficult dances should be taught and danced in segments in order to sustain interest
- Review, review, review
- Be patient, admit mistakes.
Tips for programming a folk dance evening
The programmer selects the dances that will be played during the course of an evening. Plan on 10 or 11 dances per hour. Select dances that are widely known. Contrast dances (couple, circle, line). Use progressive dances and mixers to allow people to become better acquainted. Among the dances of the evening should be dances taught in the previous weeks.
A practice we have abandoned in recent years, but which proved quite effective, was the use of a request board so that people could write down the dances they wanted to dance (columns divided into circle/line and couple. Generally, the programmer selected a dance from this list, usually alternating fast dance with slow ones, and couple dances with circle and line dances.
Tips for selecting a guest teacher
Information on folk dance teachers is available through the web (see links), folk dance magazines, and contacts with other clubs. Generally speaking one should check with a person who first-hand knowledge of a teacher and his/her reputation, before making a commitment.
JIF should confirm the following details with the guest instructor in writing:
- The workshop format (number of sessions and hours per session)
- Type of dance styles (ethnicity, mixture of line/circle/couple)
- Honorarium, housing and transportation
- Arrival and departure dates
- Photograph and biographical sketch for publicity purposes
- Permission to record summary of instruction
- Appearances for interviews on radio/newspaper
- Necessary equipment (variable pitch CD/tape recorder, other, powerpoint, etc.)
- Availability of dance descriptions and music
- Location and parking
- Dance area, kitchen facilities, seating
- Deposits, fees, clean-up requirements
- Bathrooms, dressing rooms
- Lighting, P.A. system, electrical outlets
- Availability of telephone
- Access prior to use (for decorating, pre-inspection)
Once an agreement with the owner/manager of a facility has been reached, a written confirmation of the terms (fees, time of use, access, clean-up, etc.) should be sent.
Posters should be distributed at least 10 days in advance of the event. The Juneau Arts and Humanities Council maintains a comprehensive list of locations for poster placement. http://posterroute.wikispaces.com/ (scroll down for JAHC Poster Route Guide).
The Juneau Empire is always willing to publish and Juneau’s radio stations have been willing to air public service announcements, usually up to three days before the event. Whatever the medium, information should include a description of the event, dates and place, registration and fees, general schedule of events and a contact for further information.
Juneau Empire: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
KTOO FM: www.ktoo.org/contact.cfm
KINY Radio: email@example.com
Capital Copy Monthly Calendar of Events: firstname.lastname@example.org
Juneau Arts and Humanities Council Calendar of Events: email@example.com