by Rima Dael, Executive Director
While many, including me, went to the Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend for the music, dancing and company, I also went for the workshops! So much of what we do at CDSS is provide access to education, resources and experiences to increase one’s skill at the do-ing of dance, music and song. I took the opportunity to sit in on three workshops, to get exposure to how workshops are taught and how tools of the trade are being passed on.
Eden Macadam-Somer and Larry Unger’s workshop on “Tune Writing” used a telephone number as the starting point for a tune; we learned that tricks of the trade can help start the process of writing a tune, but patience, perseverance and carving out time to do the work are the critical components to get it written. But clearly, the tune prompts that Eden and Larry shared helps the writing process get started. Bob Dalsemer based his workshop, “Keep ‘Em Coming Back,” on an article written by Susan Davis in the CDSS News (May/June 2004), and used that as a starting point for discussing the creation of best practices which welcome and nurture beginners while engaging the more experienced dancer: create an effective beginners/newcomers session; program for mixed level dancing; and develop beginner friendly practices, procedures and policies. In “Contra Dance Analysis: How do you know when it’s good,” Nil Fredland’s workshop, collective brainstorming, small group discussions and finding “real life” examples to dance helped everyone come to agreement on good criteria for adding a dance to your repertoire.
Now, I will share my favorite dance moment: dancing Chorus Jig, uncalled, with Bob Dalsemer guiding me through. I’m one of those beginner dancers Bob talked about in his workshop, and he definitely “walks the walk” in supporting and guiding newcomers to the dance.
For me, it was a special weekend of learning and camaraderie. Thanks to the Ralph Page Legacy Weekend committee for all their hard work and welcoming me to my first weekend.
More of Jack Mitchell’s photos from the weekend can be viewed at http://www.flickr.com/photos/jhm4/sets/72157632598591754/.