Other Community Dance Series
BACDS supports a number of community dance series in addition to English country and Contra. Check out these special offerings:
"Woodshed" Dance (2nd Tuesdays)
The woodshed series is an opportunity for callers (or would-be callers) and musicians (or would-be musicians) to try out new (or new-to-them) material. The idea is to provide callers a place to polish material before presenting it to paying customers at a regular BACDS dance. This can be newly-choreographed dances, dances that the caller just wants to practice calling, and so on.
Callers present dances - typically English or Contra - and ask the dancers for feedback on particular or general points. When not calling, the callers also dance. This is a working session, and dance geeks enjoy it very much. Dancers get to experience the material, voice opinions and make suggestions. There's a high proportion of discussion, trying things different ways, etc - so the dancers get in free while the callers share the minimal $25 rent expense for the night.
In addition to some experienced dance musicians, the band is open (best for players who can sight-read or learn by ear quickly and play up to dance tempo), so this is a good spot for English musicians who want to try out playing for contra or contra musicians who want to try out playing for English, etc.
If you like to see the work-in-progress behind the curtain, this is definitely something you will enjoy. Who knows - you may put your personal stamp on the latest new dance!
The BACDS ceilidh dance series is on indefinite hiatus.
English ceilidh ("kay-lee") dances, which you can call barn dances if you can't pronounce ceilidh, are raucous social dances similar to those found at pubs throughout England. Different in both style and music from both Scottish and Irish ceilidhs, English ceilidhs combine traditional English music performed by amplified ensembles with dances that are derived from but (usually) simpler English country dances. These are entry-level dances, extremely welcoming to groups of first-timers, children old enough to dance apart from their parents, and even morris dancers. Our ceilidh dances feature lively dances led by longtime local dance teachers and ceilidh leaders from England; the dances themselves often feature uncomplicated yet vigorous stepping, such as step-hops, skipping, polka steps, and rant steps. The tunes draw from the English tradition, and are played by bands made up of bay area English and morris musicians.
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